Obviously, anyone who offers a product wants to praise all the great features that were so thoughtfully developed. But does the target group really care about any of these features? Market research is usually the key to answering this question – but that’s expensive and takes a lot of time and effort.
Swap your tanker for a speedboat
For Prego Services and their product „ausschreiben24.com“, we chose to approach the problem with the Jobs To Be Done framework. We used the switch method, an interview technique developed by Bob Moesta and Chris Spiek to identify customer needs. In short interviews with targeted and well thought-out questions you can find out precisely how to convince the target group to choose your product – and to stick with it.
The benefits of switch interviews
Switch interviews follow a simple system. Provided you stick to the most important rules (see tips below!), they will uncover valuable insights in a very short time. No lengthy powerpoints, no statistics or expensive market research.
The questions are aimed at finding out what will move the target group to switch and what keeps them engaged with their current product. The method comes from the Jobs To Be Done framework that assumes people don’t actually buy a product, but rather the job they would like the product to perform.
In switch moments, people are affected by opposing forces. Interviews extract the key moment when people are ready to switch.
Our conclusion from the interviews: Customers are not interested in the features the tender software offers. They are looking for simple access to digitalisation and the greatest possible transparency in their bidding processes.
When designing the interviews, we used the steps of the customer journey as a guideline:
- The first thought
- Looking passively
- The event that triggers the phase of looking actively
- The criteria for creating and evaluating solutions (consideration set)
- The moment of buying
- The process of consuming
The phases of the customer journey as a guideline for the interview script.
Switch interviews are quickly organised and usually don’t take longer than one hour. For Prego Services, we spoke to eight prominent and representative customers from the focus group of sales and administration. One of the most important findings: In most organisations, tenders are still an analogue pile of paperwork. For the first step towards digitalisation, employees don’t need a complicated enterprise system, but a simple solution they can start using quickly and without much training. Also, customers worry about investing too much in their digital processes. They want to try out the transformation on a small budget first.
Tips for good target group interviews using the switch method
Ask open questions
Open questions about how, what or why motivate interviewees to tell their story and thus uncover more and better insights than yes/no questions. For example, don't ask: "Would you use feature X?" but rather: "What is most important for you in a tender software?"
We tend to ask questions that influence our conversation partners - for example: "This function is rarely used, isn't it?" In doing so, we narrow the space of possibilities. After all, we are not asking to confirm what we think we already know - want to gain insights!
Conduct interviews in teams of two
One person asks the questions, the other takes notes. This allows the interviewer to fully concentrate on the conversation. After the interview, both can complement each other in their perceptions and findings.
Ideas for landing page included
The interviews uncovered a lot of facts: What are the needs? What creates the most pain? What argument is the most compelling? After that, it was easy to sketch out the structure of the landing page as we went. Totally analogue, on paper – but as fast as lightning. Experience shows that after a process like that, the website will almost build itself. After all, we know what content we have to play, in what order, and what we can leave out. For example, in addition to many text cuts, we developed a very accessible FAQ section and presented the prices very clearly and in a way that made them easy to compare.
More than just marketing
The switch method is particularly useful for communication projects, but also provides valuable insights beyond that. In our case, for example, it turned out that potential Prego Services customers place a very high value on individual support. As a result, the strategic decision was made to optimise support and expand related processes. Usually, important insights are gained that result in changes in pricing, positioning on the market or adjustments to the product.
The insights from the interviews are valuable for customer-centred work far beyond the actual communication project.
Priceless: Talking to actual customers
Switch interviews are a quick and simple step towards customer centricity - in a specific project, but also far beyond. After all, nothing is as valuable as direct exchange with actual customers. This is how you will benefit from the method:
Budget: The method can be applied quickly and gains valuable insights – even with a small marketing budget
Product marketing: Address customers with relevant product features
Innovation: Optimise services and business models according to your insights
Competitive review: A fresh look at the competition and relevant markets
Customer-centricity: Establish a common understanding of your customers and their needs within the team