Here's what you can accomplish with a well-planned customer tour.
There are only two ways you can help your B2B customers: Improve their products and improve their processes. Of course, divergent Discovery interviews and convergent Preference interviews will help with both. But you can do more to improve customer processes by taking tours of their operations.
Consider three goals for your customer tour. First, it will give you context for your Discovery interview with them. Try to schedule your tour first to provide you with context during the interview afterwards. This lets you ask better questions, and better understand their answers. Here are some tips:
- Allow a full hour for the tour so you’re not rushed.
- Let just your main host give the tour so you don’t waste the time of all interviewees.
- Ask your host to give you a quick sketch of the process, to orient yourself during the tour.
The second goal is to look for ideas to improve the customer’s process. To be clear, you won’t mention these ideas yet: Whether you’re in the middle of an interview or a tour, it’s premature to discuss solutions. But you might not get a chance for a tour again for some time, so take this opportunity to learn what you can.
It’s quite possible your customer has come to accept workarounds and inefficiencies that you can help them with later. Your goal is to see what everyone has seen and think what no one has thought. Our AMUSE customer tour methodology (next section) will help you with this.
Your third goal is to estimate the value of your product. Of course, at this point in the process, you don’t even know what your new product will look like. So what you’re actually doing is collecting economic data during your tour… so you can use this later to estimate the value your new product delivers. If your new product delivers much value to customers, we strongly suggest you build a value calculator to estimate this value and convince customers of it. (See How to build & use a value calculator.) Use these customer tours to gather “raw material” to build your value calculator later.
For more, view e-Learning Module 14: Customer Tours, at www.blueprintingcenter.com > e-Learning. Also check out the 2-minute video, Conduct B2B customer tours, part of the B2B Organic Growth video series by Dan Adams.
Keywords: customer tour, B2B customer tour, tour of customer facility, tour of customer operation, context for interviews, ideas for improvement, estimate value, gather economic data