3.1 Voice of the Customer

Case Study

OE21 Guideline: 

3.1 Voice of the Customer


Note: This Case Study refers to specific OE21 surveys and tools (spreadsheets or docs). Please try the blue link(s) below to learn more about these surveys and tools:

Assumption: The (Elafino Sports Center) organization has implemented the OE21 3.1 Voice of the Customer process steps. The outcomes and results are presented below.



After having experienced OE21 Prerequisite Guidelines (B1, P1, and P2) and the deep dive into strategy development (2.1) and strategy implementation (2.2) the leaders and managers of the Elafino Sports Center have a good understanding of their organization.


Elafino leaders know essential facts and estimates of their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats, customers, workforce, outside key stakeholders, and other vital aspects of the organization. This knowledge and understanding have led to significant discoveries, including:


  • Elafino members say they can't get the instructors and lessons they want on the exact days and times they need


  • Elafino may not be price-competitive with X-Sports Center, for example, our skates, uniforms, and some of our fitness center equipment are worn out and need replacing, and our sports store needs to be better stocked.


When the Elafino organization was ready to proceed with OE21 Guideline 3.1 Voice of the Customer, the OE21 Facilitator (FAC) coordinated the OE21 3.1 online meeting.

The meeting attendees were:

  • J.T. (Chief Executive Officer, CEO)

  • Loel Profile (Public Relations)

  • Ben Magic (Chief Financial Officer; CEO)

  • Seymour Bits (Information Management)

  • Neda Quick (Administrator)

  • Ann Happy (Vice President, VP of Sales and Marketing)

  • Iville Workem (Vice President, VP of Operations)


Ann Happy (VP Sales and Marketing) is the chairperson of the Customer Focus Team (CFT). Ann and the OE21 Facilitator presented the introduction to OE21 3.1 Voice of the Customer. The OE21 Facilitator began the meeting by showing an overview of OE21 Guideline 3.1:


  • The organization must be sure it has captured and understood three "voice" perspectives:

    • Voice of Customers

    • Voice of Prospects

    • Voice of Key Stakeholders


  • The three "voices" come from assessments, observations, and experiences that relate to customer satisfaction, engagement, and value perceptions.


The OE21 Facilitator explained the following key points (Note to Managers - Read key points!):


  • Satisfied customers tend to have a higher value perception of the organization's products, services, or programs - as compared to a competitor or comparative organization’s offerings;


  • Customers who appreciate the organization’s brand are more likely to purchase or participate in the organization's offerings;


  • Organizations fully engaged with customers have a better understanding of customer and prospect needs, requirements, and expectations;


  • Customer engagement (value) information can be used to improve the organization’s products, services, or programs offerings as well as their brand, in the eyes of their customers and prospects;


  • Outside stakeholders with a high-value perception of the organization are likely to invest in and support the organization; and


  • Vital outside stakeholders are critical to promoting the organization's products, services, and programs, and can act as persuaders of decision-makers who may select the organization's products, services or programs


Next, the Customer Focus Team (CFT) chairperson (Ann Happy, VP Sales, and Marketing) provided a quick review of what the Elafino organization has learned about customers, prospects, and stakeholders.


This CFT review was a high-level discussion that included learning from years of experience, as well as learning from the recent strategy development and implementation results.


Ann Happy reminded the leaders and managers that during the implementation of OE21 Guideline 2.1 Strategy Development and 2.2 Strategy Implementation, four of the eight strategic assessments (surveys) included the following customer-related assessments:


  • CFT-09B Customer Satisfaction and Value Assessment

  • CFT-11A Voice of Customer Assessment

  • CFT-11B Voice of Prospect Assessment

  • CFT-10C Voice of Stakeholders Assessment


The key list for the Elafino Sports Center included the following:

  • Elafino Sports Center Investors (5 people)

  • City Manager

  • Police Chief

  • Chamber of Commerce President

  • Head of a Community College that teaches skating and hockey sports

  • Power Company key executives


The OE21 Facilitator showed how the results of these assessments integrate into the Strategic Plan, including the Customer Excellence Action Plan. This plan became an ongoing project of the organization, as described in OE21 Guideline 2.2 Strategy Implementation.


After this kickoff meeting, the Elafino organization was ready to proceed with the OE21 Guideline 3.1 Voice of Customer implementation tasks.


The Customer Focus Team (CFT) conducted its Customer Satisfaction and Value Assessment to capture customer ratings and suggestions. Then they used the Customer Satisfaction and Value Matrix tool to calculate the total scores for each customer group. Finally, they studied the customer comments collected. After this Ann Happy, the Elafino VP Marketing and Sales made a few statements:


"We think our like our hockey and figure skating programs, and love our trainers."


"But these members can't get these programs to be available they want to come over here."


"It is becoming clear that "program scheduling" of instructors, trainers and ice rinks is a crucial issue in the hockey and figure skating programs at the Elafino


Slammer Banks, the Elafino Hockey Manager, noted that of the 1875 customer members, only 30 responded to the Customer Satisfaction and Value Assessment. Then Slammer said:


"Maybe we had better ask all 1875 members to rate their satisfaction and get their comments".


Most of the others nod their agreement.


The FAC responded to Slammer. " Slammer." "But talking to ALL of them might not be necessary, that would take time and money."


The FAC continued.


"Fortunately, we can use a free online tool called Sample Size Calculator to determine how many of the 1875 members we need to survey."


Open a browser to go to the Sample Size Calculator, and then input a "3" in the Confidence Interval field, "1875" in the Population field, and then hit the Calculate button.  


"Folks, if I input a confidence interval of "3" and the total population of our members of 1875, then the Sample Size Calculator tells us we need to survey of the 1875 members."


"And we can be 95% confident that the 680 members ratings will be very close to the same ratings we would get from all 1875 of the members."


"What is the confidence interval?" Ann Happy asked.


The FAC responded:


"The confidence interval (also called the of error) is the plus-or-minus figure usually reported in newspaper or television opinion poll results. For example, if you use a confidence interval of 4, and 47% percent of your sample picks an answer you can be "sure" that if you had asked the question of the entire population, between 43% (47-4) and 51% (47+4) would have picked that same answer."


"Wow! that is cool," says Slammer. The other Elafino managers nod their heads in agreement."


At this point, the Elafino Customer Focus Team (CFT) realized that annual or even monthly data about customers, prospects and key stakeholders is just not frequent enough to keep up with the changing demands and interests of these folks. After considerable discussion, they decided to begin looking into Social Media marketing practices, including the appropriate use of platforms such as Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram. 

After finishing the OE 3.1 Voice of Customer implementation tasks, the Elafino Customer Focus Team (CFT) loaded an excellent list of measures, targets, and benchmarks into the Performance Measurement System. Figure 3.1-1 (below) is an example of one of these metrics.

The CFT chairperson, Ann Happy noted that the trend chart for Customer Satisfaction and Value had exciting characteristics, including:


  1. Current satisfaction has risen from 60 to 65% which is well below the target of 80%

  2. The XYZ Sports competitor has 90% satisfaction

  3. An action plan must be created soon!​

Figure 3.1-3 Example Trend Chart for Standard 3.1 Results

The Elafino LFT (IT Manager) published Guideline 3.1 Voice of the Customer output results on the Elafino INTRANET, and notified all focus teams and managers of these updates.



If you were the Marketing and Sales Manager of the Elafino Sports Center, which of these two approaches to customer success would you choose?

  • Approach A - Conduct market research studies to estimate customer needs

  • Approach B - Ask customers what their needs are

Do you think that the sampling theory application saves money?


Exercise: Use the online sample size calculator to answer this question:

Suppose the population of people (youth, adults, seniors) who live in the Elafino Sports Center region is 2,783,833. If you wanted to know if these folks were interested in the Elafino services, with 95% certainty, and with a margin of error of +/- 3% then how many people would you have to survey?

Which of the following prospect survey approaches would most likely give you the best data?

  • Approach A - Send a flyer showing all Elafino services offered to 1067 people

  • Approach B - Group Elafino customers into hockey, ice skating and fitness center groups and ask each group to rate (1-5) their satisfaction with the services they are receiving   


Hint 1: Learn as much as possible about existing customers

Hint 2: Use sampling to save money on estimates of possible new customers (prospects)

Hint 3: Compare the impact and costs of using social media to capture new customers

What did you learn from your studies of this OE21 Standard 3.1?

  • What do you think you should do to be a better manager?

Where do we go from here?


OE21 3.2 Customer Engagement 

OE21 3.2 Customer Engagement Case Study