Voice of the Customer

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Setting appointments, who to call, what not to do.

By the time that Voice of the Customer work starts, the hypothesis is made.  The customer segmentation is complete.  The founders and the team know which customers to hear.

The chart has an industrial focus; other product types vary the chart format. To save time, a team member sets interviews, the principal

To save time, a team member sets interviews, the principal investigator (PI) or founder holds the interviews.  Fifteen to twenty site visits are best.  Secondarily, telephone interviews.

Before interview appointment calls to the hypothetical customers, the customer contact data is discovered by purchasing a list, social networks, web searches, present customers and experienced, connected sales people.

It is a good idea to cold call some of each customer segment. Fundamentally, the new invention has to sell to unknown customers. The team member assigned to the task of setting appointments has a vital mission.  The member sets the appointments without tainting the thinking of the customer.

“Taint” is an interesting word.  Tainted meat is spoiled meat. Tainted customers are contaminated with the notions of the venture or team member.  For example, if the product was a “smart” gear that provides wear updates, and the member asked the customer if he would pay “x” for a smart gear, then the customer is tainted because now the customer has the venture’s price in his head, instead of thinking about the value to his business.  On the other hand, If the member asks if the customer used gears in their business, the customer remains untainted.

Data is important from the member cold calls setting up appointments.  The team member should document how long it takes to perform each task.

  • How long does it take to find a customer to call?
    • Eventually, the sales persons need assignments.  How long it takes to find a customer affects quota requirements.
  • How many customers are called before an appointment is set?
    • Speaks to innate interest.  If the invention does not solve a pressing problem, more approaches are necessary.
  • What is told to the customers that don’t agree to an appointment?
    • Beginnings of the elevator pitch.
  • What was the conversation when customers do agree to set an appointment.
    • Discovering hot buttons.

Regarding the call itself, it is important to start with smaller customers (so as not to burn through the large ones) and of the small customers, talk to middle management.  It is better to practice with the less important accounts first.