“We know less about how a family lives now than in the 1950’s, because people’s lives are much more complicated and harder to keep track off”.
Professor Patrick Whitney, the Dean of the Institute of Design, Illinois Institute of Technology.
The traditional methods used by focus groups, questionnaires, surveys and interviews may give some better understanding into consumer decision making processes but have a tendency to fall short of the mark of providing real customer insight.
We advocate two methods for gaining customer insights, Ethnographic Research and Net Promoter Score.
Qualitative research methods such as ethnography are based upon “in the field observation” of how people behave in their natural habitat and what they do during the course of the ordinary day. Companies such as Nike are advocates of this method and have used this it to develop the ‘Nike Plus System’, which is an innovation that uses Apple ipod technology with an embedded sensor in a Nike shoe to give data on an individuals running performance. Nike employs researchers who go out into the field to observe behaviour and identify unarticulated needs.
The Net Promoter ScoreTM discipline first emerged in 2004 in a HBR article by Fred Reichheld and it was further developed by Satmatrix. Reichheld discovered that by asking customers to rank between 0-10 ‘would you recommend our products and services to friends and family’, and calculating the number of promoters (9-10) and deducting the number of detractors (0-6), companies could create value by designing experience improvements that drove a high net promoter score. The economics of improving this score has been validated by independent research by Dr Paul Marsden who led a London School of Economics research team into the subject.
Net Promoter Score Methodology encompasses a wide range of disciplines from survey design to customer profitability calculations, operational process improvement including root-cause analysis, cross-functional management practices and continuous process improvement.