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Title: The voice of the customer: consumers define the ideal battery charger
Authors: Joseph P Lane, Douglas J Usiak, Vathsala I Stone, Marcia J Scherer
Published: 1997
Publication: Technology and Disability: 9.2., 130-139

The Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Technology Evaluation and Transfer is exploring how the users of assistive technology devices define the ideal device. This work is called the Consumer Ideal Product program. The results show what device characteristics are most and least important, indicating where to place the priority on product features and functions from the consumer's perspective. The "voice of the customer" can be used (1) to define the ideal characteristics of a product, (2) to make tradeoffs in product design and function improvements based on their relative importance to the consumer, (3) to compare the characteristics of existing products against the characteristics of the ideal product, or (4) to generate a product checklist for consumers to use when making a purchase decision. This paper presents the results of consumer's defining the ideal battery charger. Four focus groups generated the survey's content, then 100 experienced users rated 159 characteristics organized under 11 general evaluation criteria. The consumers placed the highest importance on characteristics from the general evaluation criteria of product reliability, effectiveness, and physical security/safety. The findings should help manufacturers and vendors improve their products and services and help professionals and consumers make informed choices.

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