Over the last few months we’ve been focusing more on getting to know our customers and understanding what’s going on in their business. Having a good appreciation of their challenges is the key to developing solutions that can really help them.
Just last week we gave a workshop session with a group of people from the professional services sector. Given the positive feedback we received, I’m going to share a little bit more on the process.
The first and most important step was to gather the group of participants together, focusing particularly on entrepreneurs. After creating a list of interesting companies, I, among others, started calling them up to see if they would be interested in joining. The first and biggest challenge was to speak to the right person. After I’d introduced myself, many of the companies assumed I was trying to sell them something. As such they were reluctant to put the call through to the busy people we wanted to speak with, feeling that a conversation would be of little interest. A real pity!
If we did manage to get through to a decision-maker, they had to be interested and open-minded enough to see the possibilities joining our interactive workshop could offer. After a lot of effort explaining that there was really no hidden agenda, we did eventually manage to bring together a diverse group of enthusiastic and creative people.
The slogan was: Help us help you better! The concept was to inspire people to talk about their businesses, their challenges and their bottlenecks. Most importantly, the workshop was there not just for us, but for the participants as well. A meeting with interesting people from a range of different companies – all facing similar issues – could serve as a breeding ground for bright new ideas and a sharing of knowledge and experience from which everyone could benefit. People explained and discussed their difficulties with each other, gaining insights and discovering approaches they would not have found alone.
Just as we’d hoped, the workshop turned out to be interesting for all of us. The comments below are just some of the impressions the people who took part shared with us:
- “How interesting to meet people from other businesses, when you’re so busy you often forget to make time for it!”
- “How did you manage to gather such an interesting group of people?”
- ‘‘What an interesting process – I can’t wait to find out what you do with the results!’’
- “Well organized event – I’d love to take part again in any future research or usability testing.’’
The participants were certainly all pleasantly surprised by what a useful exercise it had been – a long way from the sales presentation many of the people we spoke to suspected it would be. If you think that taking part in such a session could help you – please do let us know. It would be great to have you involved in our future activities!