The use of criteria rating and customer role play as an aid to problem definition

Date of publication: June 15, 1984


A multi-disciplinary group was asked to place itself in the position of each customer class and, without reference to the candidate product, derive a list of criteria by which they would judge the value of a chemical mower. They were then asked, individually, to rate the relative importance of the criteria. Although not taken to the extent of dramatic role play on this occasion, identification with the customer proved to be an important ingredient of the method and it is suggested that salesman/customer role play could be developed considerably as a creative technique for problem definition. Finally, participants were asked to use their own judgement to rate the candidate product against the customer profiles which had emerged. At each stage the individual ratings were used to structure discussion aimed at arriving at a consensus view of the key issues, with underlying reasons, to be explored through market research.

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