The only thing worse than not having an understanding of customer needs is having an incorrect understanding of customer needs. If you think that you avoid that by going straight to the source and asking them…think again.
Here is a surprising insight from those who study the psychology of decision making. Radiolab* reports that Professor Tim Wilson of UVA did the following experiment as part of his research on choice:
Students were given the opportunity to take a free poster home: Either the well-known Cat Clinging to a Bar poster, or a poster of an impressionist painting. Half of the students could simply take the poster and half of them were also asked to write a brief description of why they chose the poster. Six months later, they were asked if they still liked their chosen poster.