Most B2B companies don’t have a good system for prioritizing customer needs. At least this is what The AIM Institute found in its recent research. Of 12 voice-of-customer skills measured, this is the skill survey respondents most wanted to improve. Prioritizing customer needs was also identified as the greatest differentiator between successful and unsuccessful new product developers.
More in research report, www.b2bvocskills.com (page 11)
Voice-of-customer interviews don’t really work unless the customer trusts you. You’ll tell your doctor, lawyer or therapist everything they need to know so they can help you. But only if you trust them. The same is true for your customers when you seek information to innovate for them. You build trust with your credibility, reliability, and a sincere interest in their well-being.
More in e-book, Leader’s Guide to B2B Organic Growth
In every other business area—e.g. production or accounting—surprises are unwelcome. But when you are surprised by customer needs that competitors have missed, you have an edge. Seek these out in free-thinking, customer-led interviews, maintain a probing curiosity, and avoid rigid schedules that discourage flexibility. Be surprised. And be happy about it.
More in white paper, Catch the Innovation Wave (page 10).
The human brain likes to diverge first (look at all these deserts), and then converge (the chocolate lava cake, please). We shortcut this highly-effective approach when we begin by asking customers if they like our idea, hypothesis, or prototype. First, diverge with an open-minded exploration of all customer needs in B2B-optimized, voice-of-customer interviews. When you converge in a later round of interviews, do so quantitatively, so your confirmation bias doesn’t kick in.
More in e-book, Leader’s Guide to B2B Organic Growth (Lesson 16).