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2 - D A Y  W O R K S H O P
Getting the Voice of the Customer Right
Mastering the Art of Customer Visits

 December 3-4, 2008
/ San Diego, CA



Session I: 
Where Customer Visits Fit
in the Market Research Toolbox

  • An overview of the benefits of ad hoc vs. programmatic customer visits

  • Programmatic customer visits are qualitative market research - learn about their unique advantages relative to other qualitative tools like focus groups

  • Discover the different kind of information that can be obtained from customer visits versus surveys (and why)

  • Understand the importance and value of completing customer visits early in the decision cycle and their use in paving the way for subsequent research

Session II: 
Planning a Program of Customer Visits

  • Developing a time line for implementing a program of visits – identify key target dates

  • Learn how to articulate and define the decision problem that requires customer visits

  • EXERCISE: Participants will define their own research objectives and receive feedback

  • How to organize your customer visit team for success – understanding the power of a cross-functional approach

  • Gaining organizational buy-in and support – how to work successfully with account management and other stakeholders

  • Preparing for international customer visits – managing cultural differences

Session III: 
Selecting Which Customers to Visit

  • Strategies for identifying relevant customer segments

  • Rules of thumb for sizing the sample – how to calculate the number of visits needed

  • How to balance market coverage against the costs and time associated with larger samples – when is a larger sample really necessary?

  • Selecting the right job functions to interview within customer organizations – which functions are critical to involve?

  • EXERCISE: Participants will develop sample plans in the seminar and will provide/receive feedback from other participants and the instructor

Session IV:
Designing a Discussion Guide

  • How to identify the right topics to discuss and determine the proper sequencing of those topics to maximize learning

  • Gain a better understanding of the negative effects of poorly defined topics on the quality (and quantity) of customer data collected

  • EXERCISE:  Participants will develop a discussion guide and will provide/receive feedback from other participants and the instructor


 Session V:
The Art of Constructing Good Questions

  • How to create questions that will yield good insights and gain a better understanding of unmet customer needs

  • Identify strategies that help customers to vocalize needs that they don’t know they have

  • Key steps to determining the economic value (from your customer’s perspective) of a proposed product solution

  • An overview of the key criteria for identifying good questions

  • EXERCISE: Participants will construct sample questions and will provide/receive feedback from other participants and the course instructor

Session VI:
Honing Your Interview Skills

  • Setting and managing customer expectations from the outset

  • Proven techniques and tips to establish rapport with interviewees

  • How to probe effectively and not bias responses or lead interviewees in a specific direction

  • An overview of common mistakes novice interviewers can make and how to avoid them

  • How to manage difficult circumstances that can arise in customer visits – examples and potential solutions are discussed

Session VII: 
Analyzing Customer Visit Data

  • Now that you’ve captured the data, how do you analyze and interpret it -  practical procedures for organizing, summarizing and communicating the output of customer visits

  • A review of available analytical tools- matrices, process maps and conceptual tables that can be used to extract the key learnings from the customer data -understand when to use which tools and why

  • How to use data collected from customer visits to drive product design and new product decisions 

Session VIII: 
Wrap-up and Action Items

  • Protocol for reporting customer visit programs – who to inform and in what format

  • How to maintain customer visit results – where to store them and how to make use of the data later on

  • Review: Key challenges to successfully implementing customer visits and how to overcome them

  • Organizational issues you may confront

  • Action plans: How to get started at your organization – applying what you’ve learned and outlining implementation steps at your organization.

  • After the visits: When does it make sense to engage in follow-up research to build on data from customer visits?

  • Summary of key workshop learnings

Download Brochure

pdficon.gif (912 bytes) CustomerVisits.pdf

Course Info

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This workshop is limited to  35 participants. Early registration is strongly advised.