Knocking on your shoulder

Knock knock… Hi, could we ask some questions from you? This is how we started to gather customer data.

Picture by Satu Pakkala

I have the pleasure to be a part of a service design project that aims to improve Laurea´s student services. The head of the project is a design agency Kuudes Kerros. Other team members are Laurea´s staff members and a group of students including me.

In a first meeting we made a plan how and where we could gather data from customers. Customers are in this case students. The environment should be natural and neutral from the student’s point of view. To get good insights it is important to make observation and interviews in a place and situation that are authentic and comfortable. We decided to make the interviews at Laurea building´s lobbies, cafeterias, libraries and corridors.

It was easy to start a conversation with students. Almost everyone agreed to answer to our questions. We gathered data from different campuses for example at Otaniemi, Leppävaara and Hyvinkää.

Especially one method was effective in every campus. Answering to questions while you are eating might sound disturbing but it was not. We had great chats with students at lunchtime. Another effective way to get good answers was to first observe different kind of situations and later on ask about the situations from students. We used structured questionnaires and also more open and informal ways to start the conversation.

One thing that disturbed conversations was hurry. You could see this through people’s body language and short answers. I noticed that at the beginning the answers were quite cursory. But after few conversations it was more natural to dive deeper in subjects and get more relevant insights. It was also nice to see different kind of styles to reach and make the conversation among our team members. The project continues so you can read more blog posts of the subject later on.

Text by Laura Rinta-Jouppi SID student 2014

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