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CUPID- Customer Understanding Processes In Design: understanding the customer across cultural settings
2000 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (professional degree), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This MSc thesis reports on research into the difficulty of capturing positive customer information across many countries and cultures. The research described has been carried out within the CUPID project (Customer Understanding Processes in Design), which is a joint action research project undertaken by Cranfield University, a major Japanese-European Vehicle Manufacturer and MIRA (Motor Industry Research Association). Theories adopted and tools used to capture the voice of the European customer are described and include Empathic Design, the Kano Model of Quality, observational research, interviews and focus groups. The cultural implications concluded from the deployment of these tools across Europe are also discussed. The experience of several major vehicle manufacturers shows that current customer focus techniques, such as market research and QFD often fail to identify those elements of the product that can truly delight the customer. The existing methods have problems translating direct customer statements into the language of the designer resulting in products that fail to satisfy their customers on an emotional level. There is also a concern that the current methods maintain the barriers between customers, marketing and the product development team. The investigation carried out in this project describes action research conducted with a major vehicle manufacturer regarding this customer focus problem. The research studies the use of tools designed to capture positive customer information from across Europe in the development of real vehicles. In addition to the negative information that allows corrective changes and linear improvement to be made, this positive information is to be incorporated early into the concurrent engineering approach to vehicle development so that the product reliably delights the user. If the correct customer focus can be identified at the early concept stages of product development, the number of expensive late design changes required should be reduced. The use of three tools to increase designers’ empathy with their customers is described: focus groups, video footage of users in real life environments and the study of the buying environment. The tools have been applied in several countries across Europe and the results can be used to guide choices concerning the appropriateness of tools for different countries. The tools successfully identified cultural differences in attitudes towards cars, highlighted differences in car usage due to climate and also succeeded in capturing positive customer information of equal amount and quality when deployed in three European countries. Recommendations are provided concerning the best options for applying these tools across countries and cultures.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Technology, Automotive Design, Customer Satisfaction, Design Processes, Culture
Keyword [sv]
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-45583ISRN: LTU-EX--00/340--SELocal ID: 34373c4f-d762-4d31-9751-264505bd766eOAI: diva2:1018877
Subject / course
Student thesis, at least 30 credits
Educational program
Industrial Engineering and Ergonomics, master's level
Validerat; 20101217 (root)Available from: 2016-10-04 Created: 2016-10-04Bibliographically approved

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