Guest post by John Hunter, author of the Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog (since 2004).
Don’t think customers will let you know if there are problems. Some will, most won’t. Even internal customers are often quiet.
Learning the voice of the customer requires proactive effort.
Doing so also requires designing your organization to seek out the voice of the customer. This is not easy. Simplistic measures often push people to suppress the voice of the customer. Avoiding that feedback is much easier than improving to the point where that data shows constant improvement.
As you start out seeking the voice of the customer, the number of complaints, the number of issues raised etc., will almost certainly increase. That is not due to customers being more unhappy. It is merely due to the organization actually learning what customers think of how they are being treated.
If your organization is focused on accountability instead of learning and continual improvement, seeking the voice of the customer is often punished. To seek to learn the voice of the customer, create a culture focused on continual improvement with an understanding of variation and respect for people.
Related: Customer Focus with a Deming Perspective – The consumer is the most important point on the production-line – Customer Focus by Everyone – Encourage Improvement Action by Everyone – Cater to Customers Desires to Achieve Customer Delight