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From Fuzzy to Focused
How to Interpret & Translate Customer Insights into Innovative New Products

September 26-28, 2005 / Boston, MA


Hallmark | Honeywell | Motorola | Pitney Bowes | Sprint
Dunkin Brands | Dade Behring | Bank of America


The Hallmark Idea Exchange:
Hearing the Voice of the Customer

Thomas W. Brailsford
Manager of Advancing Capabilities
Hallmark Cards, Inc.

Technology, specifically the Internet, allows us to break down the barriers that have traditionally existed between consumers and companies. The Hallmark Idea Exchange, a set of proprietary online communities, is an attempt to bring the voice of the consumer into the company and establish an on-going dialog with consumers. Since November of 2000, the Idea Exchange has proven valuable in addressing a range of issues from innovation to strategy, products to merchandising. Using examples from the Hallmark Idea Exchange Tom will discuss what lessons Hallmark has learned in the process and share successes and failures along the way.

Key Take-aways:

  • How are communities different from panels?

  • How do online communities work and what are the benefits and pitfalls?

  • How do the insights from communities compare to other forms of research?

  • What are some myths that may be clouding our ability to hear the voice of the consumer?


Translating Voice of the Customer
into Bottom Line Results

Anthony Pichnarcik
Global VOC Leader
Six Sigma Black Belt

Honeywell Building Solutions

Listening to your customers is important. Measuring customer satisfaction and loyalty is important. But translating customer feedback and measurements into organizational action is the key to driving bottom-line results. In this session you will learn how Honeywell Building Solutions successfully implemented an integrated VOC Action Management System in record time using Six Sigma tools and a strategic 3rd party partnership to meet its goal of positively impacting the bottom-line through improved customer retention and loyalty.

Key Take-aways:

  • Moblizing and empowering the organization to respond

  • Using real-time analytics and action alerts to allow immediate response from customer-facing staff to customer concerns and opportunities

  • Improving linkages between internal measurements and customer-driven measures

  • Validating the ROI of service quality and feedback systems.


Applying Design for Six Sigma (DFSS) and VOC to the Innovation Process

Anthony Carter
Director, New Business Development

Innovation is the creation of new value through the successful resolution of an existing problem or limitation.  The best innovations will satisfy individual needs, based on real problems, and do it in a way that is easily usable.  When it comes to understanding the customer's needs and wants, tools like "Voice-of-the-Customer" are invaluable.  Effectively solving customer problems through differentiated innovation is what creates the value.  The biggest challenge today is how to capture good Voice-of-the-Customer data and apply it to the innovation process.

The successful application of Design for Six Sigma (DFSS) provides a framework for applying VOC to the innovation process and the quantification of the expected value.  The Motorola Early Stage Accelerator team has successfully applied VOC and DFSS to improve the success rate of new projects by 600% when compared with traditional venture capital investments.  Mr. Carter will give an overview of this systematic approach of incorporating VOC into the innovation creation process and will provide insights on how you can adapt this to your own business.

Key Take-aways:

  • Why VOC is critical to achieve successful innovation

  • How to apply DFSS with VOC to develop the right product or service

  • About governance techniques to get the right level of management involvement

  • Effective prioritization techniques to ensure an optimal delivery, product or service


Customer-Centered Innovation: Using Ethnography and Prototypes to Identify and Validate Unvoiced Customer Needs

James EuchnerJim Euchner
Vice PresidentAdvanced Technology
Pitney Bowes, Inc.

Innovation requires a blending of perspectives from technologists, marketing, finance and business operations. Customer insight is the touchstone that keeps these participants aligned during the innovation process. Mr. Euchner will discuss the approaches Pitney Bowes uses to understand emergent and unvoiced customer needs and how they are integrated into the innovation process. He will also discuss the role of the customer, from initial ethnography to "customer lab", in creating compelling customer value propositions.  

Key Take-Aways:

  • People know more than they can say: observation in the customer's environment is essential to identifying needs

  • Our first impressions are often wrong: prototypes are a valuable tool for making sure that needs were truly understood


Good Reception:
The Sprint Retail Experience

Mark Rexroat
Director, Retail Communications

Tom BurchardTom Burchard
Vice President
Brand Experience

Design Continuum

The days of the one dimensional, stale retail engagement have passed. Today, retailers must transcend traditional approaches to surpass consumer expectations and create new experiences that capture the hearts, minds and dollars of demanding consumers. A successful retail environment has become the tangible and emotional hub for a brand; establishing and strengthening consumer loyalty while increasing sales. In 2002, Sprint and Design Continuum embarked on a journey to transform their 550 Sprint stores into dynamic retail environments that incorporated consumer insights to create lasting, compelling and unique brand experiences that resonate.

Key Take-Aways:

  • How lack of organization in store messaging contributes to consumer confusion and low sales. For Sprint, this was a heightened problem in an already difficult to shop category

  • Ways to support and create an ideal shopping and service process beyond traditional, often stale methods

  • How Sprint and Design Continuum were able to positively improve consumers and sales associates impression of the brand through multiple methods—and with a comparatively modest investment


The Research Road to the
Dunkin' Espresso Launch

Rebecca Mardula Zogbi
Consumer & Brand Insights Manager
Dunkin' Brands, Inc.

In the Fall of 2003, Dunkin’ Donuts freed consumers from the high prices and confusing sizes common in the espresso-based drink marketplace.  The launch of our new coffee line was based on extensive consumer research that comprised trend exploration, in-depth qualitative work, extensive quantitative research, and sophisticated sales projections.

Our intense insights enabled us to create a set of products that not only met customer taste requirements, but also added great depth to our brand identity and exceeded our financial expectations.  The launch of our espresso-based beverage line was indeed a bold move for us….this session will describe how listening to the voice of the consumer made it all possible.

Key Take-Aways:

  • Start to finish roadmap of how listening to the voice of the consumer can build a successful new product line

  • An understanding of how research can be used to create the internal alignment and harmony necessary to drive business forward


Going Global with VOC—
Implementation and Implications

Mazen FerzlyMazen Antoine Ferzly
Product Definition


Is VOC applied the same throughout your company? Are your customer needs the same around the world? Are uncovered needs as important in Japan as they are in the US or EU? Does your VOC process change from culture to culture? Can you make one product for multiple cultures and countries? In this presentation, Mazen will examine a case example of Dade Behring’s global implementation of VOC and the implications of global VOC initiatives.

Key Take-Aways:

  • What methods and tools Dade Behring used to standardize its VOC process and global implementation

  • Why understanding global customer needs is key to product development success

  • Quantitative data showing how the relative importance of customer needs varies globally

  • The value of understanding how the relative importance of customer needs can change from country to country and its impact on your product strategy

  • Lessons learned from going global with VOC


Prioritizing Customer Critical to Quality (CTQ) Requirements:  Leveraging Voice of the Customer (VOC) to Plan and Execute Merger at Bank of America

Ed Jackenthal
Sr. Vice President
Northeast Quality & Productivity Executive

Bank of America—Business Banking

Bank of America’s merger with FleetBoston Financial created the first banking institution with a truly national scope, serving approximately 33 million consumers households and over 3 million businesses in the U.S.  Past banking mergers have not always gone well.  In what we believe to be a first, the best of Marketing and Six Sigma practices were employed to ensure that this merger delivered the combined capabilities of two powerful organizations for the benefit of customers, shareholders, associates and communities.  VOC has been the primary driver for overall merger planning and execution.

This presentation will examine the VOC methodology, tools, measures and management routines deployed by Bank of America to ensure the strategic alignment of the transition strategy and tactics with Critical to Quality Customer Requirements.   It will also explore how VOC feedback loops, via Customer Satisfaction Survey, have been used to monitor the Transition success.

Key Take-Aways:

  • How VOC and CTQ’s are linked through delivery, cost and quality

  • How Bank of America leveraged Kano Analysis to prioritize Customer CTQ’s

  • How VOC was leveraged to guide the overall Transition execution

  • Why and how both Voice of the Business and Voice of the Associate must also be factored


When (and How) to Integrate Six Sigma Methodologies into Your VOC Process: A Cross-Functional Perspective

Lori RabbLori E. Rabb
Master Black Belt
& Quality Manager


Jeffrey A. Melick
Engineering Manager

Based on experiences with the KitchenAid Brand, the presenters will discuss Whirlpool’s methods for gathering voice of the customer insights and the process deployed to transfer this customer feedback into design specifications.

Specifically, they will address how customer data is used to create design of experiments (DOE) to quantify the impact on purchase preferences and buying behavior as well as how DFSS methodologies fit into the process and resultant impact on new product development.

Key Take-Aways:

  • Practical tips for integrating Six Sigma and VOC – when and how to get started, the key to gaining cross-functional support

  • Gain an understanding of the iterative nature of engaging in Voice of the Customer efforts

  • Lessons learned and best practices

Available Mon-Fri 
9:30am-5pm est

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