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Finding and Solving Consumer Problems

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Rachel Seidman

on 13 February 2012

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Transcript of Finding and Solving Consumer Problems

Chapter 5 Finding and Solving Consumer Problems problem-based ideation Based on a close relationships with parties who have close involvement and information that will be useful to us in coming up with an idea for a new product based on a general problem common among users. Leading cause of new product failure: lack of perceived need of end user Four sources for needs and problems of stakeholders: Internal Records Internal records such as daily/weekly calls, findings/reports from customers or service departments and tips from resellers are the most common source of information on consumer needs and problems.

Toll free phone lines and online blogs are good ways to handle consumer complaints, especially because they generally lead to new product ideas.

Another good way of observing consumer problems is to send engineers or technical problem solving teams to customer sites such as retail stores to observe consumers first-hand.
example: The SC Johnson Company in 2006 found that many consumers disliked cleaning their showers the most, while they also thought having a sparkling clean shower was the most rewarding. In order to solve this problem they came up with the Scrubbing Bubbles Automatic Shower Cleaner which is hung by the shower head and operated by pressing a button which cleans the shower effortlessly. Direct inputs from technical and marketing depts. Most of the technical and marketing departments have spent time with customers and other end users.

Usually team representatives have to take the initiative and seek out evidence on potential problems.

Problems with using in-house people to report on customer problems
-each suggestion is based on someone's perception of what the problem is
-there is usually a solution given with each suggestion
-time consuming and difficult to execute gathering memories

Solution: active searching by making direct contact with relevant stakeholders and asking them their problems and needs problem analysis Taking the “inventory”of consumer problems isn't the same as actually analyzing it

Users verbalize their wants in terms of the product, such as “I want my car to be reliable” rather then actual problems not being product specific by replying with more details such as “I want my car to have some sort of cup-holder that fits all shapes and sizes.”

Business-business approach can solve many service problems such as what Cemex (large Mexican cement company) did by repositioning themselves as an on-time supplier.

Reverse brainstorming- creating a list of key problems with the current product in use and organizing them into an order of importance.

The use of experts as end users and public resources such as past studies or government reports act as good sources of potential problems
Problem analyses procedure Step 1- Determine the appropriate product or activity for exploration
Step 2- Identify the group of heavy product users [heavy users have better understanding, but also look at nonusers to see if problem can be solved as to why they are non users]
Step 3- Gather set of problems. Complaints can often be based from omniscient proximity where users face minor problems often.
Step 4- Order and rank the problems according to severity and importance.

The bothersomeness index is a good indicator in order to rank problems and is based on the extent of the problem as well as the frequency it occurs at.

Risk: customer wants old product back if a product is revised to create a new one contacting the stakeholder
Most productive way is to seek the voice of the consumer (VOC)
Most common method by discovering problem statements which may only come from one individual, but are worth a significant amount.
Focus Groups
Works well by stimulating people to respond about things they are reluctant to mention when one-on-one.
Could potentially be expensive ranging from $3,000 to $10,000.
Treat participants as though they are strangers and have them introduce themselves on a personal level.
Have scientists or experts conduct the study.
Avoid prayer groups: when managers sit behind a mirror and pray for the consumers to say what they desire.
Watching consumers use products in their own environment.
When studying a product and considering exploring new markets this international research is referred to as fly on the wall/day in the life research.
Role Playing
Useful when users cannot visualize or verbalize their reactions, or when they cannot express themselves due to embarrassment [personal hygiene]
Product function analysis- product expressed in two words such as a verb and an object like toothpaste- cleans teeth. This creates new needs or new product functions.
Scenario Analysis Create a scenario and think about potential revisions in products that will improve them and create a new one
Have the power to solve a future problem and wait to market it until the time comes

Scenarios- extending the present to see what it will look like or leaping into the future to pick a period that is then described

Leap studies- dynamic- focus on what changes need to be made during what periods. Static leap- no concern how we get there

Wild cards- high impact low probability events such as human cloning and other ethical dilemmas Relevance tree form of a dynamic leap [5.4] Starts at the top with the ultimate goal/solution

Works it’s way down with different solutions to each opportunity Conducting a good scenario analyses: Know the now: participants must have a good understanding of current situation and it’s dynamics

Keep it simple: participants have difficulty understanding complex scenarios

Be careful with selecting group members

Do an 8-10 year projection

Periodically summarize progress

Combine factors causing change

Check fit or consistency at the end

Plan to use this analysis several times, along with reusing the group Group creativity
Using a group to simultaneously work on one project

Many believe individuals work best alone and are the most innovative that way Brainstorming Avoid the bazooka affect- state an idea to only have someone shoot it down

Brain-sketching- sketching ideas rather than expressing them in words

Speed-storming- round robin format where participant from all departments are paired up for five minutes to discuss ideas, usually generates many new product ideas

Drawbacks- only one person can talk at a time, and social loafing may occur Electronic brainstorming Supported by Group Support System Software GSS software allows participants to answer simultaneously and anonymously and can take place in the same room or separately Online Communities

Any group that interacts using a communications medium such as a social network [Facebook, LinkedIn]

Private online communities are set up of 500 or fewer selected members

Allow firms to obtain new ideas from customers and get feedback on new concepts

Drawbacks- have to hire a moderator and facilitator and it takes time to build a community along with ethical and legal issues
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