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Discovering Customer Needs
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Discovering Customer Needs



A presentation I put together in 2010 on identifying customer needs. It was part of the interview process for my current employer.

A presentation I put together in 2010 on identifying customer needs. It was part of the interview process for my current employer.



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    Discovering Customer Needs Discovering Customer Needs Presentation Transcript

    • Customer Needs
      Aaron Carrano
      June 4, 2010
    • Discovering Customer Needs
      • Observation
      • Conversation
      • Documentation
      Definition of Needs
      • Latent
      • Direct
      • Assumed
      What I’m Covering
      Validating Customer Needs
      • Prototyping
      • User testing
    • My Background
      University Of California Berkeley, BSME
      San Jose State University, 24 units towards MSME
      University of Santa Clara, MBA (expected 2013)
      Over 9 years of Professional Experience
      Manufacturing Engineer, 3 years
      Mechanical Design Engineer, 2 years
      Product Manager, 4+ years
    • Defining Customer Needs
    • Types of “Needs”
    • Types of “Needs”
    • Types of “Needs”
    • Latent Needs
      Needs that the user is unaware of
      When met, they deliver delight, exceed expectations and resonate
      Can be difficult to uncover
      Users do different things than they say
      Observation is best method to discover
    • Direct Needs
      Needs that the user directly communicates
      Phone, e-mail, web form, etc.
      Customer typically doesn’t tell you exactly what they want
      Need to be cautious
    • Assumed Needs
      Most often come from internal sources
      Strong possibility of being wrong
    • Balance
      Customer Needs
      Business Needs
    • Discovering Customer Needs
      “You’ll learn more by meeting a real, live customer and spending an hour with him than you can learn from fifty research studies or analysts’ reports”
      -Adrian Slywotsky, The Art of Profitability
    • Market Segmentation
      Before talking with customers, identify the appropriate market segment and associated user personas
      Align with business strategy
    • Market Segmentation
    • Segmentation
      Before talking with customers, identify the appropriate segment
      n=1 or n=many
    • Process
    • Observation
      Observe user in natural setting
      Remember they are “experts”
      Put yourself in the user’s shoes
      Minimize your influence on their actions
      Allow them to get frustrated
      Watch for:
      Body language
      Anything that is surprising
      Anything that challenges your assumptions
    • Conversation
      Make the user feel as comfortable as possible
      Generate 2-way conversation
      Resist reading from a script, keep it dynamic
      Ask open-ended questions
      Make the conversation about the user and not the product
      Ask naïve questions to draw out responses
    • Documentation
      Capture EVERYTHING
      Take photos of the environment
      Document as quickly as possible after the interview/ observation
      The things that are most important to the user
      Direct quotes
    • Analysis
      • Identify take-away points
      • Share with internal team
      • Compare notes with previous field reports
      • Identify further areas of questioning
      • Distill notes into problem statements
      • Keep solutions separate during definition of problem
      • Identify features to add or improve
      • Force-rank features based on the resources required versus the value perceived by the customer (ROI)
      • Quality Function Deployment (QFD)
    • Validating Customer Needs
      "What the people in the business think they know about the customer is more likely to be wrong than right."
      -Peter Drucker
    • Continuous Validation
      Software (evolutionary or throw-away code), Foam mockup, Alpha prototype
    • Alternatively
      Bring users in during the validation phase of development
      If feedback is attained early enough, changes can still be made
    • Customer Needs
      “A market is never saturated with a good product, but it is very quickly saturated with a bad one”
      -Henry Ford
      Aaron Carrano
      June 4, 2010