Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Asking the right questions - Using Negative to Draw on Customer Insights

Let's just face it. When it comes to innovations and improving products/services, customers just do not give much valuable feedback. Wait, maybe it's an extreme position. So, let me just rephrase it: "Customers do not usually give tips on product improvements. They typically complain about a bunch of things, and companies make incremental changes to satisfy the customer needs".

When sending out a survey to gauge customer satisfaction, interest, and what not, it usually goes like this....

  • "What feature did you like the most about our product?"
  • "How much are you willing to pay for our product?"
  • "How satisfied are you?"
  • "What can we do to improve our service?"
Nothing wrong with the above questions, except..... these questions just don't provoke the innermost thoughts.

Instead, try using negative tone to give a twist, like...
  • "Why would you not use our product?"
  • "How didn't we serve your needs?"
It all gets down to people psychology where the respondents to the exact same questions with different tone can uncover a lot of interesting information. No, I'm not a psychologist, but I did a fair amount of this kind of interviews recently and wish somebody had told me this in the past.

Try this, and tell me some interesting stories.

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