How to prepare for Preference interviews
  2. Preference Interviews (Step 3)
  3. How to prepare for Preference interviews

4. Strategies for selecting 10 outcomes

Answers to 5 common questions when finalizing the outcomes you'll use in Preference interviews.

Here are some common questions teams face when finalizing the 10 outcomes they’ll explore in Preference interviews:

1. What if we have less than 10 outcomes? You can still conduct Preference interviews with less than 10 outcomes. But seriously consider using all ten: Preference interviews give you a wonderful opportunity to know the mind of the customer. Some outcomes you thought might be inconsequential could be quite important to them… and thus very helpful for you to understand.

2. What if we have more than 10 outcomes? Today Blueprinter software doesn’t allow more than 10 outcomes in a single interview… and frankly, your customers will probably get tired if you asked many more anyway. But here are a couple of workarounds:

  • There’s room at the end of Preference interview for the customer to add additional outcomes… and there’s no reason you couldn’t add a couple more yourself. If one of these “add-ons” gets impressive ratings, you can replace one of your original 10 with it.
  • Consider having separate Preference interviews that sub-divide the customers’ job to be done. If you’re building a new lawn tractor, you could have separate interviews for each of the following: mowing operation, drive train, operator comfort, and operator controls.

3. What if we know we can’t improve an outcome? It’s common that one or more outcomes may be “out of reach” for your company to improve with a new solution. It’s a judgment call on whether you should include such an outcome . Here are the advantages of each approach:

  • Leave it in: Even if you can’t fix an outcome, it can provide a good “reference point” Market Satisfaction Gap… to help you understand the relative importance of the outcomes you can fix. If the Market Satisfaction Gap is high enough, perhaps you’ll make a strategic decision to seek a business acquisition (for new capabilities) or conduct technology in-licensing.
  • Leave it out: This gives you more room to include outcomes that you can improve. If you take this approach, tell customers that you omitted an outcome and why: “We wanted to focus only on those outcomes where we might be able to bring you some real improvement.”

4. Should we include an outcome customers didn’t mention? You typically would not… but here’s an exception: For years your boss has been saying “I’m sure customers want Outcome X.” To settle this once and for all, include it in your list of 10 and see how customers rate it.

5. Can we do two Preference interviews at the same time? We call this the "two-pass" Preference interview. Let’s say you’d like to examine two scenarios that are quite close. For example:

  • Ratings for today… and also how the customer will feel in 5 years.
  • Ratings for paint used by homeowners… and the same paint used by paint contractors.

Pick the most important scenario (say “today”) and get your 1-to-10 ratings from the customer. Then ask, “If you repeated these ratings for a scenario 5 years from now, which ratings would you change… and to what?

Where do your record customers' revised ratings for the second scenario? Enter these in the "comments" section below the ratings slider bars, and only make entries when customers would change an importance or satisfaction rating. Later you can create an entirely new Preference interview for this customer and enter all their relevant data for this alternate scenario.


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