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Listening In : developing a virtual engineer for the online identification of Unmet customer needs

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dc.contributor.advisor Glen L. Urban. en_US
dc.contributor.author Mann, Christopher Cyril, 1970- en_US
dc.contributor.other System Design and Management Program. en_US
dc.date.accessioned 2005-09-27T20:57:30Z
dc.date.available 2005-09-27T20:57:30Z
dc.date.copyright 2000 en_US
dc.date.issued 2000 en_US
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/1721.1/29157
dc.description Thesis (S.M.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, System Design & Management Program, 2000. en_US
dc.description Includes bibliographical references (p. 77). en_US
dc.description.abstract As the diffusion of the Internet reaches the early majority phase, customers, both retail consumers and businesses, are utilizing the Internet in ever increasing numbers for the information search and decision making portions of the sales process. Consumers are online actively searching, researching, selecting, and purchasing products. The most direct output of this process is the end product selection, but many opportunities present themselves for the improvement of market research and corporate product development through the utilization and analysis of the online purchase process. This opportunity is especially applicable to a purchase process in which the customer is not just searching for products by selecting hard constraints around product attributes, but is instead engaged in an online dialogue with a trusted virtual advisor. During this dialogue, the customer reveals their product needs and preferences and the trusted advisor recommends products based upon a maximization of customer utility. If a "perfect" product is available for each customer, then the maximum utility value across all available products will be constantly rising during the online dialogue and all customer needs will be met. Given the reality of product development limitations, ever-changing customer needs, and the introduction of new products and features, consumers are routinely left with unmet needs. This thesis focuses on the development and implementation of a virtual engineer who, after the customer has explicitly given permission, listens to the dialogue between the customer and the trusted virtual advisor. When an unmet customer need is identified through a drop in the maximum calculated utility, the virtual engineer joins the online dialogue. Through the automated generation of contextual questions around the unmet need, the engineer gathers detailed information about the exact nature of the customer's need and translates that need into useful engineering terms. After a large number of customer needs have been collected, the Listening In! process estimates the market share opportunity currently available through the introduction of products that meet the identified needs. The Listening In! process represents a new opportunity in the utilization of the Internet for the improvement of both market research and the traditional product development process. en_US
dc.description.statementofresponsibility by Christopher Cyril Mann. en_US
dc.format.extent 92 p. en_US
dc.format.extent 5396072 bytes
dc.format.extent 5395834 bytes
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf
dc.language.iso eng en_US
dc.publisher Massachusetts Institute of Technology en_US
dc.rights M.I.T. theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission. See provided URL for inquiries about permission. en_US
dc.rights.uri http://dspace.mit.edu/handle/1721.1/7582
dc.subject System Design and Management Program. en_US
dc.title Listening In : developing a virtual engineer for the online identification of Unmet customer needs en_US
dc.title.alternative Developing a virtual engineer for the online identification of Unmet customer needs en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US
dc.description.degree S.M. en_US
dc.contributor.department System Design and Management Program. en_US
dc.identifier.oclc 45408627 en_US


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