How to Implement Voice of Customer Program Using NLI for Innovation

This article suggests how a Natural Language Interface (NLI) when developed for implementing Voice of Customer program could drive product innovations in an organization.

What is Voice of Customer (VoC)?

PDMA says VoC is a process for eliciting needs from consumers that uses structured in-depth interviews to lead interviewees through a series of situations in which they have experienced and found solutions to the set of problems being investigated. Needs are obtained through indirect questioning by coming to understand how the consumers found ways to meet their needs, and, more important, why they chose the particular solutions they found.

From the above definition of VoC, we could infer that:

  • it is a Primary Market Research process
  • it is conducted through In-depth Interviews (IDIs) or Field Surveys – using a structured questionnaire which is presented sequentially to the consumer
  • the interviewees are selectively chosen for the IDIs
  • a certain level of expertise is required to build questionnaire and elicit responses from the consumer (lead interviewees)

Further, experts with an understanding of what it takes to make innovations successful suggest that VoC should be used by organizations during the fuzzy front-end stage of their innovation or New Product Development (NPD) process. In other words, a VoC program should be implemented before spending considerable time and resources on an innovation project.

How can organizations implement a VoC program even before allocating considerable development resources to a new innovation project?

I see that implementing a Voice of Customer program for Pre-Sales might help in engaging the visitors in a conversation on the various features of the organization’s existing products and their limitations.

The VoC program could be implemented by developing a Natural Language Interface (NLI) and deploying it seamlessly across several applications that include Social media, the organization’s web site and mobile apps etc..

The level of expertise which is used to build the questionnaire for a VoC could be used to train a Artificial Intelligence powered proxy of the expert.

The proxy, which can be accessed using a natural language interface, when seamlessly integrated into multiple channels online, can engage in a conversation with chosen visitors or followers or users of the organization across these channels.


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