Even when companies insist that they want to know what their customers really think, believe, want, or need, there is often an innate desire to control the conversation. To argue. To defend. To explain. This can get in the way of true, open expression by the respondent (your customer). Combine this with the wish to ensure every question gets answered, every assumption explored, and any possibility accounted for, and soon you have…a survey. We’ve even seen focus groups, designed for open, creative exploration of feelings and ideas, turn into something more like interrogations – with numbered questions, insistent probes, long lists of information to be rated and ranked, and scales for nearly everything. The problem for the customer is that all of that seems like too much work. To be realistic, your customer simply doesn’t work that hard at deciding whether to investigate, like, or purchase your product. So how can you make your research process more like discovering, exploring, or shopping?
One way is to let your customer play. Serious games (games with a purpose) like Innovation Games™ make it possible for customers to have fun, and still answer important questions. Questions like:
- How should our product evolve over time to give you the newest features you want or need?
- Are there older features that aren’t important to you anymore, or that you never really used in the first place?
- What sort of relationships would you like to see between our brand and the brands of others?
- How do you want to interact with our company?
- Do you feel like we really understand you?
- What other products do you want to use in combination with our product?
- Can you show us why the features of your ideal solution are important to you?
- If we can’t give you everything you need right away, what should we give you first?
- Do you use our product in ways we didn’t expect?
- Is there something we’re doing that makes it difficult to use our product or service, instead of easy?
The reason games work is that they’re not work! They make the process of finding the answers to big (and small) questions more fun and engaging – for your customer, but also for you. Humans are naturally programmed to lean toward fun over work, so building entertainment into your research process is a proven method to getting excellent results.
Megann and Steve