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Buzzwords revisited: NPS & VOC strengths and weaknesses

The Voice of customer (VOC) represents a structured way of gaining insights and unpacking customer’s thoughts, beliefs and preferences. If implemented effectively it represents a good method of understanding customer experience and is a key contributor to the customer centricity agenda.
A good implementation of VOC needs to include the implications and ramifications of the response and results on the rest of the organisation. This, in most situations means that a process to customer experience alignment is going to be required. Traditional best practice techniques are not so good at addressing this; however there are new approaches, which can create that alignment that is very critical.
The Voice of Customer is very good at unpacking beliefs at a moment in time, but it is not able to unfold the full framework of wants and needs for the following reasons:
A) The customer is not aware of their true needs, because they extrapolate from their current situation, which is addressing their wants. For example, a great quote from Henry Ford: “If I carried out a VOC campaign on my customers they would have said a faster horse”… Ok readers, he did not say exactly that but you get the point!
b) The customers very often give you view points in the context of who they think you are.
c) The customers may have needs, but unless the questions are very carefully structured, they neglect to mention them. Therefore the VOC may not reveal the full safety implications of flying because a situation has never arisen in their life to consider it.
Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a great way to encapsulate a very vital business measure. This is particularly effective to gain a support, engagement and feedback from key stakeholders in the organisation. All the points mentioned above are also largely applicable to NPS. It has been found that NPS is very effective when used in conjunction with other outcome based thinking and techniques.
It is necessary to keep in mind is that NPS is only a simple question: “Would you recommend us to your colleagues or friends?”  There are limits as to how much can be done with it, however it is a great sanity check for the overall business of an organisation. Other methods are needed for finding out what exactly is wrong when the result is a bad score or it becomes apparent that it needs improving.

Voice of Customer is great for finding some of the customer wants however a next practice method is needed to understand the needs. Also to overcome the limitation of NPS which un-covers that there is a problem however not how to solve it a new approach is needed. One proven and very practical option is the Successful Customer Outcome technique used within the Customer Experience Innovation Method. 

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