How to conduct a customer tour

2. The AMUSE B2B customer tour methodology

Look for ways to Accelerate activities, Minimize input, Upgrade output, Simplify transitions, and Eliminate activities.

Consumer goods marketers use B2C ethnography to observe their customers, and Lean practitioners use the seven wastes of lean manufacturing to improve operations. All good, but we couldn’t find a methodology that captured all we wanted for B2B customer tours… especially those designed to lead to market-facing innovation. So we developed the AMUSE methodology.

Here’s how it works: You break the customer’s operation down into a series of discrete activities… be it a manufacturing process, a field operation, or even a service. Then for each activity you ask…

  • Could we Accelerate this activity?
  • Could we Minimize the input to it?
  • Could we Upgrade the activity output?
  • Could we Simplify transitions to adjacent activities?
  • Could we Eliminate the activity altogether?

Here’s an example: You manufacture nail guns and are observing the activity of overhead nailing by a house builder.

  • Accelerate: If you lowered the weight of the gun, the operator would probably be moving faster by the end of his shift.
  • Minimize: A higher-powered gun would penetrate tough knots, allowing the builder to use less expensive studs with knots.
  • Upgrade: A resistance sensor would adjust the nail-driving power, avoiding exposed nails that must be finished with a hammer.
  • Simplify: A gun hanger designed for 2x4 studs would let the operator avoid bending down to store his gun on the floor deck.
  • Eliminate: A 14.5-inch guide would let the operator check the spacing between vertical studs, so he doesn’t have to pull out his tape measure.

No, these are not all great ideas, but you get the idea: Let’s continually be looking for areas to improve. To help with this download the BlueTool, AMUSE Customer Tour Checklist, at > BlueTools > Conduct Discovery Interviews/Tours.

Here’s a tip for using this: Instead of each member of your interview team trying to remember all 5 parts of AMUSE, divide and conquer. Perhaps the Moderator just looks for ways to Accelerate, the Note-taker focuses on Minimizing and Upgrading, and the Observer seeks ways to Simplify and Eliminate.

For more, view e-Learning Module 14: Customer Tours, at > e-Learning.


Keywords: customer tour, B2B customer tour, tour of customer facility, tour of customer operation, AMUSE, ethnography, ethnographic research, accelerate activity, minimize input, upgrade output, simplify transitions, eliminate activity