Friday, June 7, 2013

Probe Beneath Sugary Answers

Today marks the nationwide rollout of Dunkin’ Donuts’ Glazed Donut Breakfast Sandwich, consisting of a fried egg and cherrywood-smoked bacon inside a split glazed yeast ring donut.
     What a striking reminder that today is National Doughnut Day, a commemoration with origins in a 1938 fund raiser by The Salvation Army to honor the women who served free doughnuts to World War I soldiers, coincidentally known as Doughboys!
     And what a compelling reminder that although consumers say they want health, many love less healthy indulgences. The general point is that you need to work through the glaze to get to the truth.
     A while back, Taco Bell asked customers about new items to add to the menu. The replies included suggestions like, “We want you to put on your menu a burrito that’s much healthier than the ones on there now.” So the company gathered together a group of the customers and gave them the tools to design such a burrito. The customers could choose from among ten categories of ingredients, including three preparations of chicken and eleven different sauces.
     The amateur burrito designers settled on a three-cheese rich-tasting high-calorie entrée. Not notably healthy. What happened here? Some consumer researchers explain the Taco Bell contradiction by saying consumers are unable to tell you what they want. Don’t ask them questions. Instead, watch what they do.
     I agree that limiting yourself to asking is a bad idea and watching what consumers do is valuable. Still, I believe there is another important lesson: In addition to consumers sometimes being unable to tell you the truth, they sometimes are unwilling to tell you the truth. The Taco Bell customers probably felt better about themselves saying they yearned for healthy entrees, knowing all along that great, rich taste was much more important.
     When you ask people in your target audiences what they’d like you to offer, give them time to think about their answers and give them time to provide you full answers. After a suggestion is offered, ask, “And what else?,” or, “What more can you tell me?”
     Then assign more weight to the answers that come later. Unless customers are clearly dissatisfied with you, they’re likely to start out by giving you the answers they think you want to hear. After doing this, they’re more willing to tell you their actual preferences. Stay with the consumer to probe beneath the sugary replies.

Click below for more: 
Facilitate Customer Truth-Telling 
Donut Omit the Indulgent

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