What is Voice of the Future?

If you’ve done any work or reading related to customer satisfaction, market research, Six Sigma, and so forth you’ve no doubt heard the phrase “Voice of the Customer”.
created with wordclouds.com r.jourdan 2018

To keep things simple, Wikipedia says: “Voice of the customer (VOC) is a term used in business and Information Technology … to describe the in-depth process of capturing customer’s expectations, preferences and aversions.”

This is important: Voice of the Customer studies typically use both qualitative and quantitative research steps. That means they are the result of both art and science. They are typically done at the start of projects. They can be repeated or revisited in some cases (like if the project takes years to fully develop) in order to better understand the customer’s wants and needs. (1)

“While there are many ways to get a handle on voice of the customer, what these methods have in common is all involve a series of structured in-depth interviews, which focus on the customers’ experiences with current products or alternatives within the category under consideration” Voice of the Customer (2)
Voice of the Future is therefore, simply a concept that applies this definition (VOC) to what, when, and how to bring in a future point of view to a challenge, product, service, and/or alternatives.  
-R. Jourdan
 
How does the definition above apply as a baseline working definition to Voice of the Future as well? I’ve highlighted certain phrases and words to highlight key alignments.
 

Working Definition Segment Relevant?
Voice of the Future (VOF) is a term used in business and Information Technology … to describe the in-depth process of capturing customer’s expectations, preferences and aversions in the near and far future. 
Yes; I’m introducing it here, hopefully one day it’ll be as common a term in business as Voice of the Customer is today.
Specifically, the Voice of the Future is a set of research and projection techniques that produces a detailed set of customer wants and needs in the near and far future, organized into a hierarchical structure, and then prioritized in terms of relative importance and satisfaction with current alternatives and decisions.
Yes; this is the intent of this blog – to investigate and report on techniques and actions to incorporate VOF in organizational and/or personal goals and planning
Voice of the Future studies typically consist of both qualitative and quantitative research steps. They are generally conducted at the start of any new product, process, or service design initiative in order to better understand the customer’s wants and needs, and as the key input for new product definition, …, and the setting of detailed design specifications with an eye to growth and building for an accelerated and complex future set of wants and desires. 
Yes; the findings are that much stronger if we include both qualitative and quantitative research. Bearing in mind, there is no real data about the future! This work can be done at any time, but at the beginning of a project seems a good place to include VOF. The idea is that we can repeat and add on to what we’ve learned all along the project lifecycle.

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