Asiakaskyselyn kukkasia - VALCO
Mixed writings

Treats from our customer survey

Author Henri Heikkinen

Once again in May, we sent out a customer survey to our newsletter subscribers. The end result was like throwing a bag of seeds at a flock of pigeons. We don't know why or how, but the overly long form with all sorts of stupid questions was answered by almost 2,000 people, a sample that is already enough to predict the election of the next president.

Just like any other business, we are interested in what goes on in our customers' heads. This is, of course, because we want more money and the only honest way to make more money is to serve our customers better and deliver better products to the market. With the extra money we can then buy big gold watches, fast cars and build the Death Star. Everybody wins.

The extensive survey also provides all sorts of interesting statistics that you can spin around for spinning fun. The results of the survey have been eyed, spun in Excel, and even sneaked into ChatGPT. Below is all the data that can be published. The rest has been printed out on receipt paper, placed inside a pentagram of candles and exorcised in a mystical Cthulhu summoning ritual.

Valco customers

Average Valco customer

The international diversity of respondents was exactly what our own perception and statistics of Valco's customer base indicate. Some 68% of customers are from Finland, 25% from Germany and the rest scattered across Europe like sardines on the high seas. A couple of percent of respondents were from somewhere outside the EU.

But what is more interesting is what our customers are like. Although the last time I looked on LinkedIn today, someone had said that Valco was a cheap and poor copy of Varusteleka, an another great Finnish brand. The truth is that we have been doing this business looking like ourselves without giving it much thought.

The end result seems to be that the customers look like our entrepreneurs too. In other words, they are original, unique and absolutely brilliant individuals.

We asked what kind of environment our customers live in, and while the distribution was fairly even, it is a bit different from where people statistically live. A Valco client is more likely to be found in a small town than in a large metropolis. Probably because in a small town it is more important to make the neighbours jealous with new headphones.

While everyone else seems to be looking for a young couple taking selfies on Instagram, we have a more mature clientele. The proportion of men is still over-represented (80%), but since last year the proportion of female customers has increased nicely. We are trying to make sure that this is not just a brand for men. We're also good for women's money and all other genders.

Statistically speaking, the average Valco customer is a man in his fifties living in Oulu or Tampere in Finland. In Germany, somewhere in Leipzig or Dortmund. We didn't ask, but they probably like metal music, beer and sausages. In absolute terms, bigger cities are of course always better represented. If you look at the German states, our customers there are spread pretty evenly across Germany.

I have to say, though, that the age distribution of our customers is remarkably even. Even creative imagination is not enough to turn this into a trendy youth brand. Which is good, because young people don't have the money anyway. Even my own child, who will soon be in his twenties, is always in need of money.

Customer preferences

We also asked customers about their headphone use and preferences. Perhaps less surprisingly, the majority of customers (94%) use their headphones primarily to listen to music. For Valco customers, sound quality is by far the most important reason for choosing headphones (and that is why you are a Valco customer).

ANC is also an important feature of headphones - one of the most popular uses for headphones seems to be to use back noise to filter out external noise.

With almost 20% of customers saying they use their headphones to watch weird and slightly embarrassing porn, it seems likely that future models will have to include some sort of shortcut to hide the porn and display, say, an Excel spreadsheet. This could increase the demand for our headphones for professional use.

Feedback

Right off the bat, we have to admit that feedback has deteriorated since the 2022 survey. In other words, we have certainly not improved.

Of course, we don't have to go to Bauhaus to buy a rope just yet. The website is 4-star and overall satisfaction with the company (on a scale of 1-10) is 9.35. The NPS (Net Promoter Score) can also be calculated from the responses and is 80. Many companies would do anything to see similar figures, but we're a bit like Käärijä who didn't win the Eurovision Song Contest: disappointed as hell because we know we were better.

With hindsight, we can now say that the lengthening delivery times have certainly put a smile on our customers' faces and reduced our performance. There is also room for improvement in the functionality of the online shop and in customer service, as customers have made clear.

Fortunately, there is light at the end of the tunnel: the delivery problems have been solved, at least for the time being, and there are more VMK25 headsets in stock than Lidl has sausages. From now on, our aim is to have the products available exactly when we promise.

The feedback from the online shop has been taken seriously and a complete overhaul of the online shop is already underway. We aim to have an easier to browse, nicer, better functioning and, above all, sexier store ready by the summer.

Lots of ideas

Henry Ford once said that if he had asked customers what they wanted, the answer would have been "faster horses". That is, at least, a phrase someone put in Henry's mouth. Often companies think that customers don't know what they want. Or they come up with something 'revolutionary' and then market it as something everyone must have.

This time we decided to do things differently and ask you directly what you want. We got a lot of great ideas to improve our marketing. Of course, a lot of the ideas were a bit... let's say developmental. But all in all, we got great feedback for the price.

But we particularly appreciate the feedback on improving the product range. We received over 1000 responses on how to improve the current products and a lot of product ideas. As an interesting detail, almost all the product ideas were ones we had already thought about before, but now we have a much better idea of what people really want.

We have already started to reorganise our product development to better meet your needs and have moved products to the top of the queue for which there is a clear demand.

We intend to take this even further, and in future we will also ask customers for their views on the appearance (and where possible, the features) of our products. For example, we are now working on a set of 'hifi stereo headphones'. They are still on the drawing board, so we may well put different concepts out for customers to review and comment on. You should follow Valco's newsletter to hear more about them.

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