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Customer Insight

How can you be confident that you’ve defined the next hit product or service? How do you know where to invest your precious development dollars? Well to start with, you need to walk in enough of your customers’ shoes and examine sufficient challenges through their eyes so that you can say with confidence you have insight. Understanding customers’ perspectives and consistently translating them into revenue is not easy. While there are many useful methods that have been put forward as best practice to achieve customer insight, from Voice of the Customer (VOC), to focus groups, from surveys to software, none, on their own, can be counted on to complete the job. From our experience as product developers, managers and innovators, we know that generating customer insight centers on engaging customers in meaningful dialogue that yields actionable results. What are the key ingredients? Structured discussions, camouflaged as conversations, a great deal of patience and a relentless focus on pattern recognition in the data – no easy task given the unstructured nature of the data collected from dialogues.

At MIDIOR, our approach to building customer insight always starts and ends with the mindset of an investigative journalist:

  • We never assume we know anything. In fact, we assume we don’t know what we don’t know and that “random walks in the woods” always yield something new.
  • We create a visual map of the customer’s world. This helps ensure we talk to enough of the right constituents to establish context.
  • We conduct as many “Day in the Life” sessions as possible. We carefully observe buyers and users as they go about their daily business to uncover habits and challenges.
  • We engage in direct, honest, open-ended dialogue. We ask enough questions to be able to see things through their eyes.
  • We look for themes and patterns. Then we put a stake in the ground around our hypothesis about their challenges and your opportunities.
  • We go back and test our hypothesis (we are engineers after all!). We ask more questions and try to “sell” the solution to whatever problems we have uncovered.
  • We iterate and repeat until we are satisfied with the evidence.
  • We write it all down. We document the data, our analysis and our conclusions – and articulate our recommendations and a set of actionable priorities.
  • We close the loop with your customer. You’d be surprised how interested they are in what has been learned and how much respect it can earn you.

The most successful companies understand that customer insight is an ongoing discovery process: market conditions are dynamic, technology advances and customer needs change over time. Generating customer insight means being able to focus on more than daily operations or the “crisis du jour.”

MIDIOR’s customer insight initiatives are designed to quickly gather and analyze customer needs and perspectives to drive better product decisions. We have developed a proven process to gather, tabulate and analyze free-form data and translate it into actionable insights. These insights inform product decisions and provide fact-based understanding of what customers and prospects need.

Customers Are Better Than Patents

If you don’t have any, put serious effort into getting to know a few. If you already have some, endeavor to know them better. The answers to most of your questions are not in the lab, but at your customer's office. To know thy customer is to know thy product requirements

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