Art of VoC Interviews

Conducting a VoC interview, particularly the conversations with customers, is more often viewed as an art. But it is a science too as the whole interview has to be planned, the questionnaire has to be scientifically designed with sound logic and facts. That said, everything will fall flat if the interviewer is not able to tactfully question, probe, listen and observe various verbal and non-verbal information & signals provided by customers during the interview. Hence, it’s apt to consider VoC interview as an art and interviewers as artists.

7 VoC Interviewing Rules

Conducting VoC interviews can be complex. There are 7 simple rules that any VoC researcher should follow:

1. Motion is less important than result

While there are many guidelines and structure to VoC interviews, what is important is not to just go through the motion and follow the process, for the sack of adherence. VoC interviews are like surgeries. Standards, procedures, guidelines, and tools are helpful as long as everything works fine if things go southwards, the surgeon has to figure out what’s the right thing to do and do it instantaneously. VoC interviewers should restrain from mere conformance to finding innovative ways to meet the objectives of the researcher in every single unique situation.

2. Focus on customer insights

VoC interviews are all about customer insights. It’s what the researchers, ask, probe, listen and observe. VoC interviewers should go with an open mind and strive to spot insights rather go for the obvious. Interviewing allows the researcher to get deeper, more emotional insights that can be used to create products that competition cannot imagine.

3. Real insights will flow only when personal reaction occurs

To get insights, the interviewer should establish a good rapport with the customer. when interviewer and interviewee are able to make a personal connection, only then real insights will flow.

4. Every customer is unique

Most of the times, interviewers focus on their efficiency, get the target number of interviews in a day. Also cognitive fatigue sets in after meeting several customers. Remember every customer is unique and so it is a once in lifetime opportunity to capture a given customer’s voice.

5. Customer perception is the new truth

No matter what the real fact is, customer’s perception about the product or its feature is the new reality or truth. The product could have been designed for a particular purpose and the customer may not know that. Doesn’t matter. Customer’s perception about the product and how it has to be used is an organizational reality. That is the insight which can challenge current beliefs and create an opportunity for future innovation. So, don’t challenge, change or educate the customer. Just listen.

6. Customer communicates even when he/she doesn’t talk

Only 7% of the VoC is Words,38% is the tone of those words & remaining 55% is Non-verbal clues. So VoC observer should have a keen eye for non-verbal clues, observe, listen, smell, touch, etc to gain insights.

7. Quality supersedes quantity

In VoC interviews quality matters and not quantity. So focus on spending quality time with customers, if needed, take a break and continue, even if the VoC interviewer has to forego or skip another interview. Sample size is not really important during insight identification. There are other researching techniques and occasions through which larger and sufficient sample of customers can be touched for feedback.