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Voice of the Customer

Part 5. Product Innovation and Management

  1. Steven P. Gaskin1,
  2. Abbie Griffin2,
  3. John R. Hauser3,
  4. Gerald M. Katz1,
  5. Robert L. Klein1

Published Online: 15 DEC 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9781444316568.wiem05020

Wiley International Encyclopedia of Marketing

Wiley International Encyclopedia of Marketing

How to Cite

Gaskin, S. P., Griffin, A., Hauser, J. R., Katz, G. M. and Klein, R. L. 2010. Voice of the Customer. Wiley International Encyclopedia of Marketing. 5.

Author Information

  1. 1

    Applied Marketing Science, Inc., Waltham, MA, USA

  2. 2

    University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, USA

  3. 3

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 DEC 2010


The Voice of the Customer (VOC) is a process for capturing customers' requirements. It produces a detailed set of customer wants and needs, which are organized into a hierarchical structure, and then prioritized in terms of relative importance and satisfaction with current alternatives. There are four aspects of the VOC – customer needs, a hierarchical structure, priorities, and customer perceptions of performance. VOC studies typically consist of both qualitative and quantitative market research steps. They are generally conducted at the start (or “fuzzy front end”) of any new product, process, or service-design initiative to understand better the customer's wants and needs. The VOC can be also be a key input for new-product definition, Quality function deployment (QFD), or the setting of detailed design specifications. The VOC process has important outputs and benefits for product developers. It provides a detailed understanding of the customer's requirements, a common language for the team going forward in the product-development process, key inputs for the setting of appropriate design specifications for the new product or service, and a highly useful springboard for product innovation. As may be seen in the examples presented, gathering the VOC is an extremely important part of the new-product development process. It forms a solid basis for design and marketing decisions from concept development through product launch.


  • Voice of the Customer;
  • customer needs;
  • product development;
  • quality function deployment;
  • market research;
  • qualitative interviews;
  • importance;
  • performance;
  • fuzzy front end;
  • product design