Iterative design is best known in the product world, where the most innovative R&D departments and developers create prototypes of their new offerings, put them out for user testing, adjust based on the results, and then retest…and repeat. Just as product development can be enhanced with iterative feedback, your customer understanding can grow through continual dialogue. Your business questions can be refined, and your knowledge of the customer will be deepened as you go through rounds of feedback.
When taking an iterative approach, the questions asked should evolve, adapt and change from one conversation to another. Traditional methods for such conversations include surveys and customer communities, however, FocusVision InterVu Now provides a new, webcam-based approach. This allows for maximum flexibility, quick responses and continuing dialogues that deliver rich insights. For example, an initial conversation may help illuminate how customers perceive a market. Subsequent conversations may tease out specific dimensions of those perceptions, and later conversations may go deeper…and so on.
Where to apply an iterative approach
Applying an iterative approach creates a continuous feedback loop that benefits many key initiatives, including:
- A specific development – Gather rapid insights related to new products, packaging, websites, marketing material, advertising and more.
- Exploratory understandings – Are you setting out in a new direction? Need to find a new direction, or aren’t sure what the “right” question is? An iterative approach can help you develop and flesh out business questions, understand drivers and/or barriers to innovation or add insight to similar scenarios.
- Customer satisfaction – Conduct regular conversations with customers to obtain timely feedback that can drive your decision-making.
- Employee satisfaction – Just as conducting regular conversations with your customers is important, so is talking to your employees. As your key brand representatives, their frequent feedback is extremely important.
- Global Perspective – Webcam interviews allow you to listen to customers all over the world, at minimal cost. No two markets are alike, and it’s essential to understand key differences as well as similarities. A single conversation can give a flavor of market nuances, but an iterative approach drives deeper understanding and builds a more cohesive, global approach.
Implementing an iterative approach
It is important to put a framework around any program you start, and an iterative approach is no different. Exactly what that looks like will depend on your area and objectives. However, it can be helpful to think about the various stages using a house-building analogy:
Stage 1: Build the foundation. Create a foundational understanding of where things stand. What are the truths? If you had to talk to someone who knew nothing about the topic, how would you bring them up to speed? What are the truths of the problem and possible solutions?
Stage 2: Build the supporting walls. Build on the truths established in Stage 1. Gain deeper understandings and explore any problems and their solutions.
Stage 3: Create the rooms, roof, and deck. Observe, measure and record chosen solution topics. Find points of consensus and potential areas for personalization.
Stage 4/Stage 1: Return to the foundation. Reevaluate for integrity and new understanding. For instance, has there been a disruptive shift in the market that means your initial understanding is no longer completely valid? If so, now is your opportunity to adjust.
Here’s an example using a customer satisfaction program as the use case:
CSAT survey scene: This is a food and beverage brand, and the results of CSAT show decline in customer perceptions of freshness/ food quality.
Stage 1: Initial interviews to help you see the brand through the eyes of your customers. Discuss how the brand and key competitors are perceived, and understand what freshness/food quality means to your customers.
Stage 2: Explore freshness/food quality in more detail. How is this being addressed by your brand? The competition? What impact does it have on customer behavior?
Stage 3: Test out concepts to improve freshness/quality perceptions (open kitchen, marketing effort around local ingredients, etc.) – discuss the impact of success/failure, and assess the cost/risk of each internally.
Stage 4: Evaluate the performance of the selected concept and measure impact in CSAT. Depending upon the performance, re-evaluate initial assumptions/understanding in stage 1.
As customer perceptions and expectations continually change, keeping an open and evolving dialogue is even more important. The always-on capabilities that an online solution like FocusVision InterVu Now provides allow you to continually tap into the customer mindset…whenever, wherever.