AIM Archives - Tag: customer insight

Six levels of customer insight: Which describes your business?

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Move your organization up through these levels: 1) Conference-roomers: We meet with ourselves to decide what customers want. 2) Expert-askers: We poll our own sales and tech support personnel. 3) Customer-surveyors: We get customer answers… but only to our questions. 4) Qualitative VOC-ers: Our interviews move us from voice-of-ourselves to voice-of-customer. 5) Quantitative VOC-ers: We get unbiased, unfiltered insights. 6) B2B VOC-ers: Our probing takes advantage of powerful B2B advantages.

More in article, The six levels of B2B customer engagement

We still haven’t seen this black swan.

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I’m still looking for the business that failed—or even suffered—from understanding customers too well. Maybe I should stop looking for this rare “black swan” event? It’s certainly no challenge finding companies that don’t understand customer needs well. Sadly, many also don’t understand how badly their lack of customer insight is stunting their growth. Get this right and you may not be a black swan… but you’ll certainly stand out from the rest of the flock.

See video on B2B voice-of-customer at www.vocforb2b.com.

Are you buying innovation insurance?

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Did you buy home-owner insurance… even though it’s unlikely your house will burn down this year? How confident are you that you truly understand customer needs when you develop new products? Our research shows most companies do not. So why not have your teams trained in the latest B2B voice-of-customer insight methods? Think of it as insurance. Or better yet… as a strong preventative, like fire-proofing your house.

See video on B2B voice-of-customer at www.vocforb2b.com.

Be a “chess master” business leader: Think 5 moves ahead.

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Do you want to think only about your next move, or think five moves ahead? Here’s a 5th order plan to maximize shareholder wealth: 1st Order: Develop superior customer insight capabilities. 2nd Order: Understand market needs better than competitors. 3rd Order: Develop high-value products focused only on these needs. 4th Order: Sustain superior growth from these products. 5th Order: Impress shareholders with your proven growth track.

More in article, Stop Stifling B2B Organic Growth with 2nd Order Effects

Starting NPD without customer insight is like starting a shoving match with a sumo wrestler.

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In either case you should ask, “What was I thinking of when I started this?” Especially if you are a B2B supplier with knowledgeable, interested, rational customers, who want you to know their needs. And a science already exists for completely understanding these needs. Maybe it’s time to stop throwing salt and begin learning a better approach?

Learn more in our e-book, Reinventing VOC for B2B

The B2B interviewer should have two goals: customer insight and customer engagement.

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Research shows the best way to sell a product is to probe customers’ needs. But why wait until the product is developed? If you probe beforehand, you’ll create a better product and “pre-sell” your product. This isn’t practical for interviewing millions of B2C toothpaste buyers, but it is for concentrated B2B markets. B2B engagement skills aren’t difficult. Do you have them?

More in newsletter, How to Grow in a Stagnant Economy (Nov-Dec, 2008)