What do your customers want?

As any startup strengthening its roots, we are looking for ways to understand our customers better. In customer development, we needed to validate our hypothesis on what our customers want.

As part of our launch process, we seek validation with a set of questions.

  • Why did they sign-up or buy our product?
  • Do our customers understand our mission? Are they passionate about our vision?
  • Are the pain points we’re solving their #1 or #5 problem?

All these questions point to one theme — do we understand our customer or do we think we understand our customer. There is a subtle difference — perception vs reality.

It’s the small steps that make an impact. Every entrepreneur forgets to ask: Why did you join? What got you excited about our mission?

These cues go a long way — when you listen, you will find the right reasons why your customer has joined your bandwagon. Every day, you are working tirelessly to make the best product you think your customers need. But without customer validation, you will never know. Customer surveys, 1:1 conversations and in app feedback ensures you are gathering input when they are ready to share.

After asking the common product related questions, Twitch co-founder Emmett Shear asks his million dollar question: “If you could change just one thing — I’m going to give you the ability to change any one thing about the website. What would it be?” Now its different because the customer is in control and is more likely to open up and share the actual challenges. You can then understand what really matters and why it is important.

At the same time, you need to know how to prioritize customer feedback. Sonar experienced more noise and false positives from want to be users than actual users. They realized it was more effective to focus on removing friction from existing user behaviors.

Customers need to have a vested interest in your startup and its vision. If you are authentic, customers will trust your instincts and believe in your passion. If you take the time to understand your customer’s aspirations, you can transform their experiences.

Michael Schrage shared the right sentiment in his book Who Do You Want Your Customers to Become — Customers change. Always. Customers evolve based on technological advances or market changes.

Inspire | Influence | Impact

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