What do customers really want? LO5999

William J. Hobler, Jr. (bhobler@cpcug.org)
Wed, 6 Mar 1996 05:50:39 -0500

Replying to LO5971 --

John Paul Fullerton wrote

>In my opinion, some customer information gathering tools ...
> errs in not bringing forth what customers would
>really want if they knew they could want such things.

In our business re-engineering work we make the point to the
business that merely providing the goods or service that customers
can conceive of and articulate is not enough. If you construct a
square and divide it in half horizontally and vertically. Label
the horizontal axis as 'Conceived' and 'Un-Conceived' products
or services. Label the vertical axis as 'Articulated' and
'Un-articulated' with the 'Conceived' and 'Articulated' labels
alongside the lower left hand quarter you illustrate the issue.

Ten years ago how many Americans would have identified a
cellular phone as a need, or a pager, or an ATM machine.

In dialog with customers concerning their needs one must
attempt to change their assumptions about what is possible.
This is a delicate communication because one does not want
to lead the customer to one's own favorite conclusion. In a
focus group the facilitator must be expressly aware of one
participant leading the others.

These sessions must be thoroughly analyzed too. The
analyst should seek places in which the customer tended
toward articulating some need but was unable to express
it. We must look for places in which the customer was
trying to say .... . And we have to fill in the customer's
un-articulated words. These unexpressed needs should
be verified in some other forum.

Yes, this is a place to be creative in the analysis, but not
too creative - validate your idea about what the customer
wanted to say.

bhobler@cpcug.org ( William J. Hobler, Jr.) Bill


"William J. Hobler, Jr." <bhobler@cpcug.org>

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