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6/23/2017 10MethodsforIdentifyingCustomerNeedsdummies

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10MethodsforIdentifyingCustomerNeeds

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CustomerAnalyticsForDummies
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ByJeffSauro(http://www.dummies.com/?s=&a=jeffsauro)

Aninnovativeproductdoesntcomefromalawpassedbythegovernment.Italsodoesntcomefromventurecapitalistslookingforahigherreturnonaninvestment.Innovationcomesfrom
identifyingcustomersneedsandprovidingsolutionsthatmeetthoseneeds.

CompanieslikeUber,Airbnb,andIntuitunderstandthis.Uberssuccess,forexample,hascomenotfrombuildingnew,bettertaxis,butfromseeingandthensolvingpeoples
transportationproblems.

AlthoughyoumightnotbeworkingonthenextAirbnb,Uber,orevenaproductyouthinkisexciting,likebusinesssoftware,ortemperaturecontrols,understandingandidentifyingcustomer
needsmayleadtoarevolutionaryinnovation.Afterall,Nestrevolutionizedtherathermundaneindustryofthermostatsandchangedhoweveryoneheatsandcoolshouses.

Startingwithexistingdata
Youmostlikelyhaveexistingdataatyourfingertips.Reviewpastsurveys,customerinterviews,andcustomersupportcalllogs.Theresnopointinfundinganextensiveandexpensive
researchcampaignifthedatayouneedisalreadycollected.

Savethebudgetfordatayoudonthaveandmoreadvancedquestionsyouneedanswered.

Interviewingstakeholders

Whynotbeginwiththedatayoudonthavetopayfor:thecollectiveknowledgestakeholdershave.Startwithsalesandsupportteams.Theyknowtheproductandthecustomer.Theyoften
havealistoffeaturerequests,bugreports,andenhancementsstraightfromthecustomersmouth.

Combinethesetogenerateapreliminarylistofrequirements.Lookforpatterns,butdontautomaticallydismissoneoffslooktocorroboratethemwithfindingsfromothermethods.

Mappingthecustomerprocess
Ifyouknowyourcustomersprocess,mapitout.

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6/23/2017 10MethodsforIdentifyingCustomerNeedsdummies
Forexample,beforeUber,togetarideyoucalledataxicompany,waitedtoreachadispatcher,waitedforacartobedispatched,hopedthedriverwouldfindyou,andhopedyouhad
enoughcashwhenyoureachedyourdestination.

WithUber,youopenyoursmartphoneandsummonthenearestcarwithonetapyoualreadyknowhowfarawaythecarisbecauseyoucanseeitinrealtimeonamap.Thedriveralsosees
yourlocationsoheorshecancomerighttoyou.Thefigureshowsasimpleprocessmapcomparingtheseexperiences.

Mappingthecustomerjourney
Acustomerjourneymapisavisualizationoftheprocessacustomergoesthroughwhenengagingwithaproductorservice.Ittakesprocessmappingtoanewlevelbyincludingmultiple
phasesandtouchpointsapersongoesthroughfromprospecttoloyalcustomer.Itsadocumentmeanttounifyfragmentedeffortsandidentifypointsoffrictionandopportunitiesfor
improvement.

Findingandfixingthepainpointsinacustomersjourneyisntjustaboutdamagecontrol:Itsalsoabouttheinnovationthatcomesfromfixingthepain.

Conductingfollowmehomeresearch
Followmehomeresearchreliesonobservationbyliterallyfollowingacustomerhomeortowork.Youfollowacustomertoherworkplace,spendingthedaywatchingherdoherjob.You

observeprocesspainpointsandthenlookforopportunitiesforimprovement.

Forexample,duringafollowmehomeexercise,ateamofresearchersatIntuitnoticedthatretailcustomerswereexportingtheirtransactionsfromtheirpointofsalecashregistersinto
QuickBookstomanagetheirbooks.Thissteptooktimeandsometimesledtofailureandfrustration.Theinnovativesolution?DevelopersintegratedQuickBooksintoacashregisterand
eliminatedtheexportstepforcustomersandcreatedanewversioncalledQuickBooksPointofSale(POS).

Interviewingcustomers
Gorighttothesource:Askcustomerswhatproblemstheyhaveandwhatfeaturestheywant.Evenwhencustomerscantarticulatetheirneedsclearly,youcanoftengaininsightsthatleadto
successfulinnovations.
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6/23/2017 10MethodsforIdentifyingCustomerNeedsdummies
UsetheFiveWhystechniquetohelpyoudiscoverwhatneedspeopledontevenknowtheyhave,needsthatnoonehasrecognizedbefore:Keepaskingwhyuntilyougetattherootcause
oftheproblemandnotasymptom.(ItscalledFiveWhysbecauseyouoftenhavetogothroughfivelevelsbeforeyougettothepointwhereyoucanmakeachangethataddressesthe
problem.)

Conductingvoiceofcustomersurveys
VoiceofCustomersurveyscollectdata,fromemailorfromapopuponawebsite,abouttheattitudesandexpectationsofexistingorprospectivecustomers.Useamixofopenandclosed
endedquestionstoseewhatproducesthemostusefuldata.

Althoughcustomersarentnecessarilygoodatidentifyingtheirneeds,thistypeofsurveyoftenyieldsdatafromwhichyoucandiscerncustomergoals,challenges,problems,andattitudes,
andthenrecommendopportunitiesforimprovement.

Analyzingyourcompetition
Considerusingresearchfirmsthatmightpresentamoreobjectivefacetocustomerswhoengagewithyourorganizationanditscompetition.ConsiderusingtheSWOTrule:Identifyyour
competitorsstrengths,weaknesses,opportunities,andthreats.YoucanuseaSWOTforabrand,product,orevenanexperience.

Definethecompetitionbothnarrowlyandbroadly.Dontjustlookatyourcompetitioninthesameindustry,butotherindustriesaswell.

Analyzingcauseandeffectrelationships
Noonewilldisagreethatitsusuallygoodtothinkpositively,butsometimes,negativethinkingcansolveproblemsmoreeffectively.Throughobservations,surveys,andotherdatasources,
youmayfindproblemsthatareactuallyjustsymptomsofotherrootcauseproblems.

Taskfailures,errors,andlongtasktimesareusuallythesymptomsofmultipleunderlyingproblems.Thesecanbeproblemsintheinterfaceoradisconnectionwiththeusersgoals.Through
theprocessofaskingWhy?multipletimesandsegmentingdifferentcauses,youcanhelpidentifyandaddressrootproblemsintheuserexperience.

Recordingexperiencesthroughdiarystudies
Sometimesopportunitiesrevealthemselvesovertime.Onecosteffectivelongitudinalmethodisadiarystudy.Askparticipantstorecordproblems,frustrations,positiveexperiences,or
thoughtsatintervalsthroughoutaday,week,orevenayear.Thiscanbelowtech,withcustomerswritingtheirexperiencesandthoughtsdownonpaperandmailingitin,orhightech,in
whichyousendtextmessagesoremailedsurveystocustomersatparticularintervals.

Becauseyoureaskingyourcustomertodothedatacollectionforyou,besureyouhavetargetedquestionsandclearhypothesesyouwanttotestwithallthedatathatgetscollected.

Expectagoodpercentageofcustomerstodropoutornotbe100%diligentaboutfillingouttheirdiaries.Still,anyinformationyoucangarnerisbetterthannoinformationatall.Afterall,you
cantfixwhatyoudontknowabout.

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