Along with observation, questioning is paramount to understanding what your customers care about and why. Questioning will lead to a richer picture of your customers’ lives and will inform your point of view. And as with observation, there are a few simple rules to follow to get the insights you’re looking for.
Observing your customers in their natural habitats will tell you a lot about what they do, what they care about, and what decisions they make. However, observing your customers won’t necessarily tell you why they make the decisions they make. In fact, observing your customers without questioning them will eventually lead to compounding assumptions.
In the previous example of the runner who longs for pizza, you would need to observe that person for a long time and over many days before you get to the core of why he runs everyday. You might even generate new assumptions based on different routes he takes. However, if you were to stop him or meet him and ask questions about his lifestyle, you would very likely begin to deduce what running (and pizza) mean to him. Added to the data you compiled while watching him run, through questioning you would create a much richer picture – one that would certainly provide you with a deeper understanding of why he runs in the first place.
It’s not about the answers you get, but about asking the right questions. The right questions will always lead to interesting ...