A Digital Transformation for Voice of the Customer (VoC)

Fuji Xerox launched a digital transformation project to modernize voice of the customer and raised their Net Promoter Score from -4 to +35.

In the late 2000’s, Fuji Xerox changed its strategy from “Make & Sell” to “Sense & Respond.” The company wanted to be more agile and responsive to changing customer needs, instead of relying on long product development lifecycles and the hope that a market would be in place when a product was released. They decided to overhaul their Voice of the Customer (VoC) program for Industry 4.0. (Sachamanorom & Senoo, 2016) In the process, Fuji identified customer needs according to the three levels and provided labels (VoC 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0) to describe the increase in maturity as new varieties of data were added:

  • Stated needs = knowledge from customer (VoC 1.0)
  • Implied needs = knowledge about customer (VoC 2.0)
  • Hidden needs = knowledge discovered through interactions (VoC 3.0)

In each level they identified elements or mechanisms of the process to draw out customer needs and desires, the characteristics of the workplace that would be required to make that happen, and the tools to enable the data collection. Then they developed an information and process architecture to make VoC gathering and analysis systematic, repeatable, and robust.

Here’s what that means. To synthesize and prioritize needs, Fuji Xerox created five structures:
  1. An integrated call center/support center to serve as the main contact point for customers;
  2. A VoC data collection and management system that is available and accessible to all employees;
  3. A website with 24-hour customer support, including human and automated response mechanisms;
  4. A process for external market research; and
  5. Strategic initiatives focused on customer satisfaction survey results.

Systematic, repeatable processes were established so people would know when, how, and why the data would be analyzed, and how the results would be incorporated into new product development. To add the dimension of creating meaningful customer experiences, which the company felt it had been missing, the company launched the Co-Creation Laboratory in 2010. The Lab brings together executives, managers and decision makers from customer companies in “diversified co-creation sessions” that promote free, open, two-way communication. Results from the sessions are captured in a Co-Creation Database that becomes part of the unified VoC data collection and management system accessible to all employees.

From 2010 to 2014, Fuji Xerox’s Net Promoter Score (NPS) improved from -4 (bad) to +35 (very good), as the number of employees actively using the VoC data collection and management system to launch and track co-creation events grew from 1840 to 4090. Fuji Xerox was pleased with the definitive results.

Additional Reading

Chylinski, J. (2019, March 27). What is the Voice of the Customer? Intelex Blog. Available from https://blog.intelex.com/2019/03/27/what-is-the-voice-of-the-customer/

Freeman, G. (2019, May 31). The Voice of the Customer Part 3: Digging Below the Surface with Implied Needs. Intelex Blog. Available from https://blog.intelex.com/2019/05/31/the-voice-of-the-customer-part-3-digging-below-the-surface-with-implied-needs/

Sachamanorom, W., & Senoo, D. (2016, June). Voice of the Customer through Customer Cocreation: the Case of Fuji Xerox Japan. In PACIS (p. 147).

About the Author: Nicole Radziwill is the Vice President, Global Practice Leader, Quality & Supply Chain at Intelex Technologies. Before Intelex, she was an Associate Professor of Data Science and Production Systems, Assistant Director (VP) End-to-End Operations at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), and manager and consultant for several other organizations since the late 1990’s bringing quality management to technologically-oriented operations. She is a Fellow of the American Society for Quality (ASQ) with a Ph.D. in Quality Systems from Indiana State University. Nicole serves as Editor of Software Quality Professional (SQP) journal and is a former Chair of the ASQ Software Division. She is an ASQ Certified Manager of Quality and Organizational Excellence (CMQ/OE) and Certified Six Sigma Black Belt (CSSBB). 

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About Nicole Radziwill

Nicole Radziwill is a quality manager and data scientist with more than 20 years leadership experience in software, telecommunications, research infrastructure, and higher education. Prior to joining Intelex, she was an associate professor of data science and production systems at James Madison University, Assistant Director for End to End Operations at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), managed software product development for the Green Bank Observatory (GBO), and managed client engagements for Nortel Networks and Clarify (CRM). She is an ASQ-certified manager of operational excellence (CMQ/OE), an ASQ-certified Six Sigma Black Belt (CSSBB), and contributed to the development of ISO 26000—“Guidance on Social Responsibility.”

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