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Why VOC and Customer Experience are Front and Center

December 26th, 2012

We recently completed an historic business cycle.  Before the Great Recession, our last major recession was in the early 1980’s.  From one major trough to the other, there were bumps such as in the early ‘90’s and post 9/11.  But for the most part, we enjoyed a very long expansion.  So much wealth was created during that time that a new customer emerged in both the business and consumer sectors.  Unprecedented liquidity put money in everyone’s pockets and they spent it.  Bigger homes and cars ensued for consumers. Expansion of offices to house a growing service economy went with it.  And as these consumers and corporate customers came into their own, businesses grew to know and serve them with increasing process capability.  The customers matured and businesses with their processes followed.

But the fundamentals have changed.  We have spent years healing.   Balance sheets have been restructured.  Personal debt has been reduced.  Housing continues to rebound.  We are now back to building long term wealth as a nation again.  This means much of our economy will have to change including the goods and services we bought.   And so the customers’ requirements must be reacquired, the goods and services redesigned and the processes that delivered those goods and services must be rebuilt.

Download “Voice of the Customer – Deployment & Maturity Model”

And with so much slack capacity in the economy, aligning ourselves with that dramatically changed customer moves to the fore as the most critical and immediate link in a value added chain.  It is just natural that what we need most when an economy is humming at full capacity with escalating input costs is quite different than when we have considerable slack and declining commodity demand.

As the Great Recession continued, we took this thesis to our customers and spoke to them about the challenges in their businesses.  We discovered they felt this pain acutely.  We began to work with them to accelerate their ability to listen to their customers, interpret what they heard, respond to the messages and monitor their responses.  We learned the most successful companies are making those factors part of everyday work.  These companies have completely devoted themselves to orientating to either new customers or their existing customers new demands.   A maturity model developed to assess where they are and what they need to do to go to the next level.

If you’d like to discuss what we have learned and how we developed our model, contact me.

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