Hearing What the Customers Are Saying
Jess Vechakul and the IDEO.org Ghanasan team are speaking with current customers and potential new ones in Kumasi to learn more about the purchasing decisions that customers make when enrolling in the Clean Team toliet service.
It’s been incredibly inspiring getting to know the Clean Team and their customers. We’ve used a variety of methods (e.g. interviewing, brand cards, and shadowing) to reveal different types of information.
In an interview with Oppeng (a loyal Clean Team customer and one of the first adopters of the service), we delved into how purchasing decisions are made. When asked how he chose which TV to buy, Oppeng said he asked a TV repairman which TV lasts the longest without breaking. Oppeng says he trusts experts for advice about what to buy. As a result, it was important to him that a Clean Team recruiter actually came to his door to personally tell him about the service.
How might we preserve the value of personal recommendation and door-to-door recruitment as Clean Team scales up to 10,000 customers?
After the interview, we showed Oppeng logos of several international and Ghanaian brands and asked Oppeng to choose the ones that he felt most strongly about. The conversations about why Oppeng chose these brands and what they meant to him was more intriguing than which brand he chose. We explored abstract issues, such as luxury branding and what makes a trustworthy service, which would have been difficult to ask directly as an interview question.
We also shadowed Naomi, Clean Team’s amazing recruiter. Observing her revealed that doing the math to show how Clean Team was cheaper than public latrines was quite effective. The one month free trial offer also convinced new customers to sign up. It’s important to know these selling points as we consider brand messaging and advertisements.
Even more fascinating was the use of different recruitment tools to explain the Clean Team service to new customers. Naomi typically used a laminated sheet of small photos. We also lent her an iPad to display full-screen photos. Naomi preferred to use the iPad because the photos were clearer and larger than those on the laminated sheet. New customers would also pass the laminated sheet around and use it to explain the Clean Team service to their friends and neighbors. It’ll be interesting to explore whether having an electronic display adds appeal or credibility or whether it’ll be just as effective to have a nicely printed photobook.
We’re now exploring several concepts for recruitment tools, such as a brochure to leave with new customers that would encourage them to spread the word about Clean Team to friends and family. If electronic displays add value, we're considering the idea of switching to a digital picture frame instead of an iPad to reduce cost. Potentially this electronic display could be used for demonstration booths at major public events to draw attention rather than for door-to-door recruitment.
Many ideas are brewing as we look forward to the coming days of more exploration and prototyping.
What is (or will be) the impact of your project?
By using various "hear" methods from the human-centered design process, the IDEO.org Ghanasan team is gaining a better understanding of current and future customers of the Clean Team toliet service.