NPS Blog

The inventors’ delusion: Assuming everyone is just like you

Somewhere in a tech research a lab, an engineer is building what he considers to be the ultimate office gadget. He spent weeks designing the tool’s 65 features, which users can customize with a little programming. He’s sure it will be a hit with customers.

But the gadget doesn’t catch on with consumers. Why? The engineer made one of the most common mistakes in business: He assumed his customers were just like him.

When developing products, it’s crucial that companies understand their customers. In this case, the engineer designed a tool with his own preferences in mind. He values customization and technological complexity, but his target customers found the device difficult to use and inefficient. By thinking of all gadget owners as tech aficionados, he limited the device’s appeal to niche users.

The same thing happens when a CEO assumes that her middle-class customers will be willing to pay more for convenience, only to alienate them with a steep price increase.

In this economy, no company can afford to make goods that don’t sell. That’s why companies such as Logitech apply their Net Promoter® systems to the product development process. Using early feedback from detractors and promoters, Logitech’s engineers can quickly address problems and add features that customers want, such as computer mice in funky colors. For more on how Logitech uses Net Promoter to make sure its products meet customer needs, check out this post from Rob.


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