Discovering Customer Needs

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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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  • 1. Customer Needs
    Aaron Carrano
    June 4, 2010
  • 2. Discovering Customer Needs
    • Observation
    • 3. Conversation
    • 4. Documentation
    Definition of Needs
    What I’m Covering
    Validating Customer Needs
    • Prototyping
    • 7. 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
  • 8. Defining Customer Needs
  • 9. Types of “Needs”
  • 10. Types of “Needs”
  • 11. Types of “Needs”
  • 12. 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
  • 13. 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
  • 14. Assumed Needs
    Most often come from internal sources
    Strong possibility of being wrong
  • 15. Balance
    Customer Needs
    Business Needs
  • 16. 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
  • 17. Market Segmentation
    Before talking with customers, identify the appropriate market segment and associated user personas
    Align with business strategy
  • 18. Market Segmentation
  • 19. Segmentation
    Before talking with customers, identify the appropriate segment
    n=1 or n=many
  • 20. Process
  • 21. 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
  • 22. 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
  • 23. 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
  • 24. Analysis
    • Identify take-away points
    • 25. Share with internal team
    • 26. Compare notes with previous field reports
    • 27. Identify further areas of questioning
    • 28. Distill notes into problem statements
    • 29. Keep solutions separate during definition of problem
    • 30. Identify features to add or improve
    • 31. Force-rank features based on the resources required versus the value perceived by the customer (ROI)
    • 32. 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
  • 33. Continuous Validation
    Software (evolutionary or throw-away code), Foam mockup, Alpha prototype
  • 34. Alternatively
    Bring users in during the validation phase of development
    If feedback is attained early enough, changes can still be made
  • 35. 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