Customer discovery definition is wide enough, but for short it is a method of studying the target audience and part of the Customer Development methodology. It helps to create exactly the product that people will use and which will be profitable. The article tells how to conduct customer discovery.
Customer discovery - how to do research and understand the pains of your clients.
Who and why need customer discovery?
The goal of customer discovery is to identify the pains and needs of the customer. Better consumer knowledge helps streamline the process. And sometimes don’t start it at all.
In more than 50% of cases, our customers themselves do not imagine what the audience needs in REAL life. They do not conduct detailed market research and do not try to find out the user. As a result, the product does not live up to expectations. But this is not even the worst. The product does not pay off.
Not understanding the pain of the client, it is difficult to fix it. A customer-oriented approach demonstrates your concern for the customer and user. Compare the dry request for technical information with a detailed survey about the goals, vision of the product and its mission. Answer yourself what you would choose.
Why do you need Customer Discovery?
- Determine the presence or absence of demand. Do you need to run a project? According to the principles of customer discovery, attention should be focused on the potential user of the product: pain, needs, and difficulties. The main task is to discover them, explain and develop an action plan
- Determine the adequacy of the client's idea: is it possible to implement it? It is necessary to understand the level of competence of the customer, whether he understands the market and how he represents his potential user
- Find and determine if the product is suitable for the selected target audience. The customer must understand that everything before testing is assumptions and hypotheses. They need to be checked, go out with questions to a real audience
- Understand the customer, his character. This will be useful for further cooperation with the person. Knowing the manner of thinking, worldview and communication of the client, your relations will become more productive
- Study the market and consumer demand. This information will be useful not only to the client but also to you, to earn more on the product.
How to use customer discovery process in practice?
The cyclicity of the process is important. The customer discovery model consists of 3 stages: Create - Measure - Learn. In this order hypothesis put forward are checked, the desired target audience is found, their pain is determined and a solution is proposed.
Search for an audience: confirmation or refutation of the client's hypothesis.
It is important to find the right way to close the customer's product pain.
Not always a direct user - the one who really chooses a product or service. Suppose a customer is developing a paid application for teaching children a foreign language. Obviously, the target audience is a child, and you need to do short interactive lessons, use a lot of pictures, animation, music, etc. You can not teach language at all. The main thing is to attract and hold attention.
This is the wrong mindset. The true audience of the application is the children’s parents. They will not pay for the lessons if they do not see the result. Therefore, in addition to a bright interface, it is necessary to plan the content: lessons and linguistic games. In this case, they are more important. No parent will pay for ineffective education.
So think again before saying that you are sure. Remember, the decision is not always made by the immediate user.
Confirmation of the target audience. Check the business model. Search for conformity between product and market.
Selected hypotheses need to be verified. This can be done with a command or on your own. It is important to remember: validation and tests should be cyclical. A one-time contact with the audience will not provide a complete understanding. All further work will be meaningless.
It is necessary to create a business model. As a basis, it is recommended to use a 9-block strategy. Work on the type of question - answer. The authors are business theorist Alexander Osterwalder and computer scientist Yves Pinier. In 2017, they shared the 7th place in the ranking of the world's most influential business thinkers Thinkers50.
block 1 - product value. The questions are aimed at identifying the product as a way to satisfy the user and receive benefits. In other words, why does the audience need this?
block 2 - user study. It is necessary to find out everything about a person: who he is, where he comes from, what social and age group he enters, what he looks like
block 3 - product promotion. Questions should help to understand how it is more profitable to sell and promote development
block 4 - communication with the audience. It is recommended to ask questions about how to start, maintain and improve communication
block 5 - sources of profit. What income does each segment of the audience bring? What exactly is appreciated by users? Where is the "gold mine" of the product?
block 6 - attachments. Questions about what resources are needed for the business system and product to function. This may be capital, loans, assets and other means
block 7 - partners. Are they needed at all? If so, how and how soon cooperation will be profitable, who these partners will be, etc.
block 8 - actions. Questions on what the team must do to complete the plan
block 9 - expenses. When asking questions, you need to identify the entire cost structure. What is the most expensive in development or any other process? Is it possible to reduce production costs without losing product quality?
Starting work with building a business model on 9 blocks, you will immediately determine the target market.
Next, you need to start testing your hypotheses. To do this, find representatives of the intended audience and interview them. This is an important step in customer discovery. Take questions responsibly and think through them in advance.
Remember: A closed-ended question can be used to “probe the soil” or generate statistics. “Do you use mobile applications for learning a foreign language?”
An open-ended question is used to get an opinion, create a clearer portrait of the target audience, its preferences and wishes. “What educational mobile applications do you use?”, “What mobile applications do you use?”, “Tell me, do mobile devices help you learn a foreign language?”. The degree of openness of the question may be different, determined by the situation. When testing hypotheses, give preference to open-ended questions
Good work at this stage does not determine 100% success. However, the bad determines failure at 100,000%.
Do not forget to track the market of competitors. It will allow you to avoid working in vain - repeating someone else's product. Explore what users lack, what doesn’t suit people in existing products similar to yours, etc. Never drop out of the information field. It can be very expensive.
Creation and product scaling
Start by building a test version - MVP. It should have a minimum of functions, reflect the idea of the product and close the main pains of the customer and his target audience. Give test versions of the product to colleagues and friends. Interview them and write down all comments. Analyze the comments, add new functionality to the product and give it out to your friends again. After the second edition of the comments and their consideration, proceed with the development of the “clean”. Naturally, don't forget about testing as part of the development process. Everything should work like a Swiss watch.
When the product is ready, plan, coordinate and start marketing and PR campaigns. Introduce the product to the target audience and the “evangelists”. Do not forget that you need to decide which market is yours: mass market, middle market, luxury or niche. Explore the markets, once again analyze the target audience. If you don’t have competencies in building promotion campaigns, we recommend that you outsource them to the agency. But prepare a brief carefully and answer the questions as honestly as possible! Once you have decided what to do, launch the product.
Do not forget about constant development. Even if everything is calculated and done correctly, the market is changing, and modern people are finicky. However, it is on pragmatic and critical users that the global IT market rests.
Show customer and user care so they get back to you. Customers remember the work process no less than the result. Therefore, customer discovery will help not only to create a demanded product, but also leave a positive impression about you.
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