A proposed procedure for uncovering customer needs
The press release from Strategyn breathlessly announces that an article by two of its principals in the Sloan Managment Review “renders… traditional Voice-of-the-Customer research obsolete…”
In reality their proposed procedure makes extensive use of VOC techniques to uncover customer needs through a four-step process:
- Personal 1:1 interviews to understand the cutomer’s job
- In-depth observational interviews or ethnographicaly study to understand context
- Personal or group interviews to find success metrics used by customers
- Personal interviews to check details.
The only step that deviates from the VOC principles of Griffin and Hauser would be step 3, which allows for group interviews. However the authors point out that these group sessions would not be idea-killing focus groups or brainstorming sessions, but would serve to simply collect actual metrics that are already in use.
Note that two (or potentially 3) of the steps use 1:1 individual interviews. The Visions article by Cooper and Edgett that I mentioned in an earlier post, focused on VOC but left out this preferred technique. (They also treated focus groups as if they were a technique promoted by Griffin and Hauser.)
This seems to be a good application of VOC principles. The full article is available in the current ( Spring 2008 ) issue of Sloan Management Review or on the Strategyn site, linked under my “selected consultants” grouping on the right bar.