SB2 Tools for understanding

Tools for understanding customers and competitors

Do you study existing and potential customers behavior as a basis for new products and services? If you are not already doing so or want to learn more, here are some tips on how to go about it.

The following video (duration 4:04 minutes) as well as the text on this page, will help you.

These tools come out of cultural studies where researchers wanted to observe a society from the point of view of the subject. This is fundamental – you want to observe customers to understand the problems they encounter and their motivations so the products and services you create deliver what your customer needs.

The unstructured interview is one tool for observation. These interviews are based on a set of questions you should prepare in advance. In order to really understand the customer, the questions should be open ended.

Here are just a few tips to follow:

  • Prepare for the interview in advance
  • Use clear language
  • Avoid leading questions
  • Listen
  • Paraphrase
  • Do enough interviews so that you can build up a picture and see patterns
  • Make sure you record the results of your interviews

When you have done the interviews, you need to organize the data into a spreadsheet or database. After that you analyze the data to find patterns and connections. Finally, report on the data outlining the insights you have found so that you can then work with them.

Netscouting will help you to get a fuller picture as it is a systematic way to search for information from the internet. This is a massive repository of information, so you need to prepare in advance a list of questions you want to answer. Use a table to list the questions and record the answers, remembering to also record the source accurately, where you found the information.

Now you give it a go. There are more videos in two next sections with extra tips on customer interviewing and netscounting if you want some further guidance.