Getting the Voice of the Customer

Before we can link customer needs to design, production, and service of our products, we need to listen to and understand the voice of the customer.  We review 6 common VOC collection strategies, and talk about their pros and cons. We also discuss an affinity diagram process, which may help our team organize all of the data to get to customer needs.

The six common tools for voice of the customer data is

  • comment cards and formal surveys
  • internet and social media marketing
  • field intelligence
  • complaints
  • direct customer contact
  • focus groups

When looking for the voice of the customer, remember that we can utilize multiple methods to capture data. Taking our group through the process of making an affinity diagram can help us make sense of a mass of data. And remember that customers speak in code; we may need to create specific questions to get to the root of what a customer is really saying. 

If you are new to affinity diagrams, get in touch with your local Quality Professional, or see this resource from ASQ: What is an Affinity Diagram? K-J Method | ASQ 

Do you want to read that article about Whirlpool? Here it is: “How to Listen to Consumers,” Fortune, 11 January, 1993, 77. WHIRLPOOL HOW TO LISTEN TO CONSUMERS - January 11, 1993 ( 

I reviewed this book for my list of 6 methods: Evans, James R. and William M. Lindsay. "Gathering the Voice of the Customer." Managing for Quality and Performance Excellence. 11th ed. Cengage, 2019, pp. 106-108.

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