By Andrea Ruttenberg, Ph.D.
The cornerstone of successful innovation is understanding your customers’ critical unmet needs. If you don’t have deep insight into your customers’ problems, pain points, and challenges, it’s awfully hard to create outstanding products, services, and experiences that truly outshine competitors’ offerings. In other words, good Voice of the Customer market research should be an essential part of your innovation strategy.
There are several reasons to consider in-house Voice of the Customer training with your current team.
Reason #1: Ensure your team can easily stay up-to-date with the changing market
Of course, Covid-19 dramatically changed the world. But, while it’s tempting to think that we’re settling into a post-pandemic (or endemic) world, national and international markets continue to evolve. The current global conflicts are causing uncertainty around energy and food supplies, extreme weather has led many to change their purchasing behaviors to combat global climate changes, and Gen Z is coming of age, with their unique ways of learning about products and services.
As they say, the only constant is change. By increasing your team’s internal market research capabilities, you can ensure you have the necessary tools to understand what your customers need today. You won’t have to rely on general industry reports, one-off anecdotes from salespeople, or just a general sense of where things are heading. Instead, your team can use tried and tested market research techniques to build and maintain a comprehensive understanding of the market.
Reason #2: Build a common understanding of Voice of the Customer best practices across different functions within your organization.
According to the Product Management Skills Benchmark Report 2021, only 12% of companies have a formal market research process for uncovering customers’ perspectives and analyzing customer data to glean actionable insights.
What’s the problem with a haphazard approach – or worse, no approach at all?
Companies without a shared understanding of how best to conduct VOC research often fall into common traps: talking only to your best customers, using poor interviewing techniques that don’t provide deep insights, or fielding surveys that don’t ultimately provide actionable findings
Providing training to a cross-functional team can help ensure everyone is aligned on best practices and agreed on how to do things.
Reason #3: Learn to ask the right questions of your 3rd party vendors
‘I’m on board,’ you might be thinking, ‘but we outsource all our market research. We don’t need to bring training in-house’. However, even if you won’t conduct your own research, it can help you and your stakeholders understand what to look for in a 3rd party vendor. In-house VOC training can arm your team with the knowledge they need to select the best vendors, provide input into the right methods, and ultimately glean deeper insights from your research.
Not all research is the same. Research conducted incorrectly can lead you astray, causing you to devote time, energy, and resources to the wrong thing.
By developing a strong grasp of what good research should look like, you can avoid choosing the wrong vendors for your research engagements.
Reason #4: Can VOC training increase employee satisfaction and retention?
There’s another benefit to providing VOC training to your employees – employee satisfaction and retention. By now, we’ve all heard of the Great Resignation or the Great Reshuffle. Since the start of the pandemic, nearly a quarter of workers have left their jobs for new ones. Workers have been quitting at near-record rates. However, according to a recent Gallup Poll, providing education and training has a large impact on employee satisfaction. In fact, nearly 80% of workers report that their overall satisfaction with their job/career increased after participating in training during work hours. If you’ve been waiting for the right time to provide market research training, this might be it. Increase your team’s investment in your company by showing them you’re invested in them, too.
Build your team’s skills and confidence with interactive training and coaching from Applied Marketing Science’s expert innovation consultants.