Don’t rely on a small staff of voice-of-customer experts to do your company’s interviewing.

Large businesses chalk up thousands of face-to-face customer meetings each year… as sales and technical service reps go about their normal duties. Why not train these people to become VOC experts? They’ve already gained customers’ trust, they know the customer’s language, they’ll get key information first-hand, and there’s no extra travel cost.

More in article, The Cost Cutter’s Guide to Growth (Originally published in B2B Organic Growth newsletter).

As in the country song, many firms look for new product ideas “in all the wrong places.”

Those wrong places are usually inside your company. In a study examining best idea sources, 8 voice-of-customer methods and 10 other methods were examined. In terms of effectiveness, the VOC methods took 8 of the 9 top spots. At the very top? Customer visit teams and customer observation. Most companies need to “get out” more.

More in article, Where New Product Ideas Begin (Originally published in B2B Organic Growth).

Do you use Voice of Customer (VOC)… or Voice of Ourselves (VOO)?

Companies like to talk about the voice-of-the-customer, but most just listen to themselves as they create “conference room” products. The team gathers internally to decide for the customer what they’ll want in a new product. This team will always lose to the team that immerses itself in the customer experience, and designs a product to improve that experience.

More in article, Why Advanced VOC Matters (Originally published in B2B Organic Growth Newsletter)

Your voice-of-customer approach is boring customers.

Do you like to answer surveys at home? How about at work? How do you think customers feel about filling in your questionnaire? Forget your list of brilliant questions. Instead, learn to brilliantly probe whatever customers want to tell you. You’ll be rewarded by customers who actually want to talk to you.

More in e-book, Reinventing VOC for B2B (page 2)

Overwhelm your competitors by turning a trickle of customer feedback into a torrent.

Some companies rely on a handful of internal VOC (voice-of-customer) experts to interview customers. You’ll do far better if you train a critical mass of employees—who routinely interact with customers anyway—to gather customer needs. Keep your VOC experts as coaches and trainers, but implement “VOC for the masses.”

More in executive briefing, Seven Mistakes that Stunt Organic Growth

All great VOC interviews are alike; every unhappy interview is unhappy in its own way.

With apologies to Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina… all great voice-of-customer interviews are alike in the same way: The customer is talking during most of the interview. And they are talking about those outcomes (desired end results) they want to talk about. Anything else is clutter, much of which leads to unhappiness.

More in article, The Missing Objective in B2B VOC (Originally published in B2B Organic Growth Newsletter)