Voice of the Customer (VoC) in a Recession

By Geoff Rhine

The current economy is a perfect time to get the rest of your organization on board with Sales Culture and in touch with the Voice of the Customer.

With the recession, the pie is getting smaller. You can gain market share by maintaining your sales volume or achieving modest increases, while your competitors lose volume; but how do you accomplish that position? There will be market consolidation and your goal is to assure that your customers are the remaining entities. Price cuts will not capture a bigger piece of the smaller pie nearly as well as value based differentiation. Those who attempt to survive solely on price reduction are likely to see consolidation from the wrong side.

Now is the critical time to capture and address the Voice of the Customer (VoC) in a very focused dialog. This VoC is not the long wish list of bells and whistles and nice-to-have features, but are the essential attributes (customer values) that help them survive and be successful… what they are willing to pay for. While this may not support a price increase in the current market, it may help to maintain prices.

Now that most everyone is in survival mode, you can gain a lot of traction and focus within other parts of your organization about what is critical to maintaining volume in a declining market. However, you WILL need to prioritize these VoC elements, because your organization cannot afford to implement many of them in the current constraints, so the most high-impact ones must come first.

Consider what your business will look like after the recession when you have survived, captured market share in a declining market, AND have aligned your internal groups with a Sales Culture through the Voice of the Customer. The strength of that Culture will drive a market leading position.

Geoff Rhine is a Process Engineer, MBA, 6-Sigma Blackbelt with background across research, finance, manufacturing, and technology support. He helped to start up the first Compact Disc factory in the United States and has recently been organizing live networking events for LinkedIn members in the Philadelphia region. He enjoys hiking, sailing, and bicycling.

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