The voice of the customer (VOC) is the foundation that connects the structure of your business to the bedrock of customer needs to make a solid foundation. Strategy is the floor on the foundation, various functions are the pillars that support the products and profit of the company.


A good "Voice of the Customer" process is like a foundation with pilings that sink through the fluff of casually expressed interests, false needs, technology information, news, hype and garbage, and into the bedrock of the customers' most important needs.

Strategy to growth
The company's strategy is the sturdy floor laid across this foundation. Out of that arise the pillars that support the ceiling of products. That in turn supports the roof of profits that protect the company and supports the peak that symbolizes growth

Pillars of strength
The essential pillars that join the strategy below, to the products above, are technology, operations, market research, messaging, sales, distribution and service.

1st pillar: Technology
The technology base and expertise includes research and development, as well as the intellectual property creation and licensing. This determines the solution space available to the company for addressing the customer needs.

2nd pillar: Operations, Production
Operations and manufacturing is the essential work that turns your technology and expertise into actual products or services. For a service business this might be the training and tools that support your customer-facing personnel. This is where you get efficiency, quality, and customer satisfaction.

3rd pillar: Market research
Conventional market research is where the solutions developed in the first two pillars of strength are tested and refined against customer preference, market interests and competitive intelligence. It puts the fine point on your solution to make sure you hit the bullseye. A common mistake is to use this work as the Voice of the Customer, mistaking customer opinions about solutions for insight into their actual needs.

4th pillar: Sales and marketing
The outgoing marketing, messaging, branding, and sales gets the word out to your customers, creates the environment for your sales team, and motivates the customer's buy decision.

5th pillar: Distribution and service
This is where you efficiently deliver your product or service to the customer. It is where you address the issues to fit your solution to their needs and correct your mistakes. Service is where you create loyalty.

Strengths compensate for weaknesses
These pillars, or functions, are essential for a company's products and services to enter the market and benefit customers. You want them all to be strong though the reality for most companies is that some are stronger than others. A few, in fact, may be weak. So the strong ones have to compensate for the weak ones. So for example, great customer service may placate late delivery.

Nothing compensates for a poor foundation
None of these pillars can compensate that much when they are not in touch with a solid foundation. A great sales team and top notch R&D cannot compensate if you are not in touch with customer needs and are trying to sell products they don't want. Hence, our focus on getting into the heart and mind of your customer with the best practices. We have experience with the entire product lifecycle but emphasize the front-end where decisions will enable or limit all the work that follows.

Breakthrough NPD - your general contractor for success
Besides helping anchor your business to a customer-based foundation our other specialties are building the 1st and 3rd pillars: research & development, the incoming market research and product testing. We also do elements of the 2nd and 4th pillars, operations, production, outgoing marketing, branding and sales. Our partners pick up where we leave off. We can refer you to partners to strengthen your distribution and service pillar.