Customer Understanding

Using Customer Understanding to Create a Customer-Focused Transformation Effort

Enter Centric: Gathering Tailored Insights from International Interviews

The client chose us because they saw value in our solutions for customer understanding, which aligned well with their needs. We began by holding discussions and discovery sessions with our client to help us gain a broader understanding of their unique market position. Our conversations allowed us to create an interview guide to use when talking with their most strategic customers.

We tailored the guide to examine each customer’s thoughts about our client’s products and services while reserving space for individual customer perspectives. As a result, customers could share any delights they had enjoyed or challenges they had faced, as well as meaningful insights about how they believed our client could continue — or improve — the delights and address any challenges.

After conducting 60 English-language interviews to gather insights about what every step of their purchasing journey — from sales to delivery — we conducted a detailed analysis and synthesized the results. However, because our client also has key customers in Japan, Korea and beyond, we selected a partner to conduct more than a dozen interviews in each country’s respective language. This allowed us to get a deeper understanding of those customers and eliminate the risk of their responses being misinterpreted.

We gained many important insights from the interviews. For example, our client’s customers ranked them highly on how easy it is to use the company’s software, its speed of development, and the software’s familiar interfaces, which carry across multiple products. On the other hand, customers expressed concern about how long it takes to resolve issues, especially as problems escalate.

The interviews also revealed what customers expect from our client. Ninety percent of them reported seeing a direct line from the quality of our client’s products to the quality of their own, causing them to look to our client for even more thought leadership and direction on industry trends. They also expressed a desire for more roadmap reviews, as well as additional end-to-end solutions and integration opportunities.

With this information in hand, we worked with two of our client’s executives to conduct a SWOT analysis. We then grouped those findings into an Agile-based approach of practices to Start, Stop or Continue. This information allowed us to generate action plans at both the corporate and account level.

The Results: Lessons for Our Client, Lessons for Us, Improvement for All

Our engagement with this client allowed us an opportunity to use our expertise in customer insights and the semiconductor industry to deploy a new capability for identifying the levers that drive customer retention and growth. This new VoC system now delivers deep knowledge about the strengths, weaknesses and new business opportunities within our client’s most strategic accounts.

One lesson for us, as consultants, is the need to conduct customer research in multiple languages. Going forward, we plan to explore more ways to develop this capability further at Centric so we can better serve future clients.

Because of our engagement, our client now views us as a vendor, a partner and a trusted advisor. They decided to stop participating in their previous industry research survey in favor of our nimble, tailored approach to capturing the customer’s voice.


Capturing the voice of the customer (VoC) is essential in today’s ever-changing marketplace. Too many companies view VoC as a “one and done” or a process to repeat only at regular intervals. This approach leads to a sense of inertia, as well as the inability to respond rapidly to market changes and disruptions.

VoC processes like the one we developed for our client are more agile. With the right infrastructure in place, companies can go into the field more quickly, when needed, not “just because.” That allows customer understanding to become deeply engrained in a company’s culture and strategy, putting customers truly at the center of everything the business does.

Need help becoming more customer-focused? Our solutions to increase customer understanding can help.

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