Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Take care with the Voice of the Customer - Part 1

This model illustrates how easy it can be to make a mistake about a customer's underlying needs or intentions. They say they want a drill, but they really mean they want a hole. Etc. Reading down the left column illustrates how requirements can expand. Reading down the right hand column illustrates the forward implications of  need.

When working with customers, make sure you understand the difference between stated and unstated requirements. The cross links in the model below illustrate how easy it is to make a mistake. The customer asks for X, do they really need Y? Good 'listening' consultants will look several blocks ahead. When a customer says they need X, question them carefully. Find out why.

@stated "What problem led you to say {this}?"
@stated "What are you hoping to achieve when you say {this}?"
@stated "What could we give you that would make the need for {this} irrelevant?"
@stated "If we had an alternative to {this} which achieved the end result by other means, would that be of interest?"
@stated "What was the original motivation that led to {this}?"
* "Etc."

(The questions are expressed in the MyCreativity language)

In Part 2 of this article we add more details

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