Straight From the Horse’s Mouth: Integrating Voice of Customer Insights into Strategy Planning

July 12, 2016

Who is the ideal target customer for our product?
What features will drive customers to switch to our product?
When will our product be utilized in the patient treatment continuum?
Where do we stand relative to our competitors?
Why do customers resist adoption of our product?
How do we better understand what our customers want?

These are some of the key questions at the forefront of any Marketing, Strategy, or Business Development executive’s mind. While many hours are spent gathered around a conference table trying to answer these questions, oftentimes the most actionable insights come straight from the horse’s mouth - the customers themselves. No one knows better what is needed than the customer. Incorporating Voice of Customer (VOC) insights into your strategy planning provides credible, data-driven support for short- and long-term strategic action plans.

When most people think of VOC, they think about their current customer base. However, VOC studies are not just limited to your existing customers – they can also be used to survey a potential new target sector or customer. VOCs also do not have to be representative of the entire universe to be actionable. Large quantitative VOCs (n of 50+) provide you with data that can be extrapolated to draw conclusions, but smaller qualitative VOCs are equally as valuable in providing directional guidance and supporting evidence (or lack thereof) for your assumptions. A qualitative VOC is a powerful platform for collecting feedback to support decision making when…

  • Developing a new product ("what is the general reaction and what are gaps?")
  • Considering product enhancements ("which improvements are required vs. 'nice to have'?")
  • Interested in improving market share or positioning ("how can we increase our value?")
  • Expanding to a new customer group or sector ("what are other opportunities for growth?")
  • Assessing specific factors such as pricing or marketing strategies ("what drives customer decision making?")

A qualitative VOC allows you to glean insights on customer needs and preferences, previous and future trends, workflow and technical nuances, and competitive positioning. These insights can then feed into strategy planning by providing support for assumptions or raising key questions to be further explored. Consider the following best practices when designing your VOC:

  • The foundation of a quality VOC is identifying the objectives up front and creating a thoughtful, targeted interview guide that will help you to meet your objectives and result in actionable conclusions
  • Identifying the appropriate target respondent and screening for key qualifying criteria will also result in more valuable insights and will lend more credibility to the results
  • A VOC can be taken to the next level by using savvy interviews who are subject matter experts and can probe for additional insights as needed; participants are typically more open and candid with interviewers who "talk the talk"
  • Including detailed transcription of interviews allows for another dimension of analysis and support; additionally, customer quotes are powerful for senior management and customer presentations in the future
  • The silver bullet of VOCs lies within the analysis and conclusions – while data can be examined from a number of angles, an unbiased review of the results will not only answer the questions you sought to answer, but may also unearth other nuggets of information that may be unexpected.

So, we challenge you to consider where customer insights might add value to your strategic planning – and take the first step in turning your questions into answers.

Voice of the Customer Process Overview

Contact Market Ready Rx for more information on how we can support and execute your Voice of the Customer study.