Behavioral observation is a scientific observation method primarily developed by ethnologists for research purposes, but during Professor Nobuyuki Nomura’s classes we apply this method to business as well. The Human Behavioral Observation for Business course aims to help students explore possibilities for new marketing strategies through analysis of observation results. They examine what kind of environment potential product users live in, what customers have in mind when they are looking for specific goods or services, and so on. Knowledge shared during this course is based on everyday problems and real-life stories, and that is why the classes are loved by almost all students.
Observe someone’s behavior and determine the problem
During the second half of the class, each group gave a presentation on things the students noticed while trying the aforementioned observation method by themselves, and one person brought up the problem of tray return stations in Doutor Coffee (a popular café chain in Japan).
In Dotour, customers who finish their meal return their trays, glasses and trash to a special station – and it turns out that over a half of them looks around before doing so. The student noticed this fact and performed behavioral observation. As a result, he realized that people looking around were in fact searching for a trashcan and if they did not find it, some of them would even take the trash back home. Furthermore, judging by the way they left the trash at the station, the student inferred they felt bad about leaving it there. This way, through behavioral observation, we can easily conclude that customers are greatly inconvenienced by the lack of a trashcan.
By performing behavioral observation of customers, our students notice things which usually don’t catch the eye. Then, they formulate a hypothesis and analyze given facts to isolate the root of the problem, which allows them to start actively looking for a solution. These activities are exactly what helps students develop the ability to diagnose problems and find the best way to solve them.