Auto Body Repair: Removing hunches

A New Product Blueprinting Case Story



This Fortune 500 company had stiff competition as a supplier of hand-held equipment to the auto body repair market. It seemed they were always a “step behind” their main competitors … so they launched a Blueprinting project.


The team began with a round of 7 qualitative Discovery interviews. Since many auto body technicians receive part of their compensation based on the number of repairs completed, they found them unwilling to be interviewed during their work shift. So the interview team set up the interviews in nearby hotel conference rooms… with lots of good food, gifts and even door prizes.

Even though this supplier had served the market for many years, they learned a great deal of unexpected information during the Discovery phase. This is consistent with our research, which shows 86% of interviewers learn unexpected information. (See Discovery Interview Research Report, page 8.)

As surprised as they were during the Discovery phase, they were even more so after their quantitative Preference interviews. Yes, they found some outcomes with very high Market Satisfaction Gaps… which customers wanted improved because they were both important and unsatisfied. Were these high-Gap outcomes what this supplier originally thought the market wanted? Not even close. (See below.)


This team went on to launch a highly successful new product… but with a design focused on completely different customer outcomes than what they had originally envisioned. One of these outcomes wasn’t even related to their physical product. It was a service: improved training in how to use their equipment.


When you conduct New Product Blueprinting interviews, it’s fine to have pre-conceived ideas. But don’t bring these up during interviews. Instead, stay open-minded, and let the customer lead the interview by asking them, “What other problems do you see?” And then probe, probe, probe, using AIM Institute advanced B2B methods.