Talking to Customers

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Slides Beth Temple recently used in her discussion w/ mentees of The Product Mentor.

The Product Mentor is a program designed to pair Product Mentors and Mentees from around the World, across all industries, from start-up to enterprise, guided by the fundamental goals…Better Decisions. Better Products. Better Product People.

Throughout the program, each mentor leads a conversation in an area of their expertise that is live streamed and available to both mentee and the broader product community.

Published in: Career, Business, Technology
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Talking to Customers

  1. 1. Talking to Customers MENTOR: Beth Temple The Product Mentor October 18, 2013 bethtemple4u llc, 917.446.2871 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 1
  2. 2. It is commonly estimated that between 70-90% of new products fail. bethtemple4u llc ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 2
  3. 3. Which is a frightening statistic because new products are continually in demand. bethtemple4u llc ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 3
  4. 4. Evidenced by the fact that product lifecycles are shortening. bethtemple4u llc ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 4
  5. 5. Why product lifecycles are shortening requiring rapid advancement of technology creates an overabundance of products consumer attention spans shortening bethtemple4u llc ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 5
  6. 6. Change is happening quickly and it is directly affecting product viability. bethtemple4u llc ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 6
  7. 7. It’s up to us to eradicate product failure! bethtemple4u llc ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 7
  8. 8. What are the 5 mistakes you don’t want to make? bethtemple4u llc ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 8
  9. 9. Top 5 reasons new products fail 1 Don’t know who your customers are. If you don’t know who your customers are – you don’t know what they need, how they will adopt and use the product, what other products they use, how big the market is, or how to market to them. bethtemple4u llc ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 9
  10. 10. Top 5 reasons new products fail 1 Don’t know who your customers are. If you don’t know who your customers are – you don’t know what they need, how they will adopt and use the product, what other products they use, how big the market is, or how to market to them. 2 Lack of value proposition. Without it – you won’t be able to make decisions or you’ll make bad ones. This is where you identify the problem that needs to be solved. bethtemple4u llc ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 10
  11. 11. Top 5 reasons new products fail 1 Don’t know who your customers are. If you don’t know who your customers are – you don’t know what they need, how they will adopt and use the product, what other products they use, how big the market is, or how to market to them. 2 Lack of value proposition. Without it – you won’t be able to make decisions or you’ll make bad ones. This is where you identify the problem that needs to be solved. 3 Focus on a feature and not the problem to be solved. Features come and go – problems persist and multiply. bethtemple4u llc ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 11
  12. 12. Top 5 reasons new products fail 4 Don’t get out in front of customers early and often enough. Issues can be discovered in early stage testing that save time, money and reputation. bethtemple4u llc ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 12
  13. 13. Top 5 reasons new products fail 4 Don’t get out in front of customers early and often enough. Issues can be discovered in early stage testing that save time, money and reputation. 5 Building by committee. There should be one person, who oversees a diversified team, who is accountable and responsible for the product and its outcome. You build successful digital products through collaboration but not by committee. bethtemple4u llc ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 13
  14. 14. Out of the top 5, 4 are about customers. bethtemple4u llc ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 14
  15. 15. n  Why n  When n  How talking to customers bethtemple4u llc ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 15
  16. 16. A product shouldn’t be internally determined. It should be externally inspired. bethtemple4u llc ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 16
  17. 17. Important reasons why you talk to customers n  Customers are what makes a product a business n  Mitigate the risks of uncertainty n  Discover and assess market opportunity n  Understand behaviors, needs, and expectations bethtemple4u llc ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 17
  18. 18. 2 things you should know about customers n  The product must solve a problem a customer has or helps them accomplish a familiar task in a better way. n  Customers are not focused on just one way to find a solution – they are looking at all kinds of ways to find the right solution. bethtemple4u llc ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 18
  19. 19. The only way to find out what your customers are thinking … is to talk to them! bethtemple4u llc ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 19
  20. 20. You can’t build product in a conference room n  This is a typical way to build products – people sitting around in a conference room with an ‘idea’! n  Smart people with customer data and product and business know how – what more could you need? n  This is rife with risk n  Eric Ries calls this GOOB (get out of the building) n  The value of your product is outside of the conference room in your customers’ behavior, needs and expectations bethtemple4u llc ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 20
  21. 21. 2 big disruptions you create n  Customers need to figure out how your product will fit into their day/life (practical application). n  Customers need to figure out how it works (technical application). bethtemple4u llc ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 21
  22. 22. Customers are now part of the process n  Lean: build – measure – learn n  Agile: user stories n  Learn through customer feedback cycles n  Validate product viability bethtemple4u llc ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 22
  23. 23. n  Why n  When n  How talking to customers bethtemple4u llc ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 23
  24. 24. There is a difference between knowing how to build something and knowing what to build. bethtemple4u llc ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 24
  25. 25. When to talk to customers n  Throughout the process of any product ideation and build-out. n  At critical intervals. n  When there are times of team disagreement or features don’t ‘feel right’. n  When you don’t know what you need to know to go forward. n  If 6 or 8 weeks have gone by and you haven’t talked to customers – there better be a really good reason why! bethtemple4u llc ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 25
  26. 26. When to talk to customers Typical new product process Talk to customers: behaviors, routines, unmet needs Idea bethtemple4u llc ALL RIGHTS RESERVED Assess/ Define Talk to customers: expectations, usage, usability Talk to customers: usage, adoption Design wireframes, visual design Build multiple x’s prototype, multiple x’s alpha/beta 26
  27. 27. Idea stage n  Focus: understand behaviors, routines, and unmet needs. n  Go out and talk to and observe potential customers to see if their expectations align with the product you have in mind. –  This is the time to discover and understand the market opportunities and challenges. –  –  n  Learn about customers’ existing routines, product use, and unmet needs. Don’t ask or talk about your ‘idea’. Results may bear out (better now than after the product is built) that customers don’t need or want the product as it is defined. –  This does not mean there isn’t some part of the product that will resonate or there isn’t another opportunity, so listen closely. bethtemple4u llc ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 27
  28. 28. Design stage n  Focus: understand expectations, usage, and usability. n  When you get to the design stage talk to customers at intermittent stages and multiple times throughout. n  When the designs are in paper format, show them to a small group of targeted customers to get feedback. n  The intent is to find the quickest way to establish a view of the user’s experience that can easily be tested. n  Don’t assume every comment needs to be addressed; focus only on the comments which are repeated amongst client sets. bethtemple4u llc ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 28
  29. 29. Build stage n  Focus: understand usage and adoption. n  Use clickable prototypes, MVP, next release. n  At this stage the team should be looking at the general usage and adoption behavior in order to make necessary small adjustments. n  Feedback can be actively collected through one-to-one calls/ WebEx or in-person meetings which allow for observation. n  This process should be repeated as often as it takes (often 2-3 cycles) to enhance the likelihood of success. bethtemple4u llc ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 29
  30. 30. n  Why n  When n  How talking to customers bethtemple4u llc ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 30
  31. 31. It is not a product until your customers say it is a product. bethtemple4u llc ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 31
  32. 32. Customer empathy n  How easy it for you to change? n  That is essentially what you are asking customers to do when you launch a product, new, enhanced or redesigned. n  Your job is to make their change easy, not hard. n  To do that you need to think like a customer not a product builder. n  The best way to do this is talk to customers; understand your product through their point of view. bethtemple4u llc ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 32
  33. 33. What goes wrong when talking to customers n  You, as a product builder are too emotionally attached. –  –  You simply cannot be attached to the outcome. It’s hard. It takes practice. Establish a neutral stance remove emotional attachments and vested interests. n  As humans we have a desire to validate our own views. n  You talk more than you LISTEN. –  n  You want to sell the idea and its promise instead of listening to their needs. You talk to customers to learn about what the product SHOULD be – not to validate what you WANT the product to be. bethtemple4u llc ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 33
  34. 34. The types of customer testing n  Interviews (phone, man-on-the-street) n  In-person usability observation n  Landing pages n  Wizard of Oz n  Concierge n  A/B testing bethtemple4u llc ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 34
  35. 35. Talking to customers n  It is not necessary to go out and talk to 100’s of customers. n  Depending on what is being tested somewhere between 6-12 customers will usually provide the knowledge you need. n  That group should be profiled to match the targeted market most likely to use the product. n  Interacting one-to-one is the best format. In-person if you can, though phone is just as good. n  It is important that feedback is gathered by a small group (1-2 people) for interpretation consistency. –  Look for and identify general themes versus specific details. bethtemple4u llc ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 35
  36. 36. Example: Wanna buy a smartphone? bethtemple4u llc ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 36
  37. 37. What it takes … n  Practice n  Diligence n  Curiosity n  Empathy n  Riding the pause n  Listen for the opportunity bethtemple4u llc ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 37
  38. 38. Q&A bethtemple4u llc ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 38
  39. 39. Thank you! bethtemple4u llc ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 39
  40. 40. Beth Temple bethtemple4u llc 917.446.2871 beth@bethtemple4u.com @bethtemple4u http://bethtemple4u.com http://www.linkedin.com/in/btemple  bethtemple4u llc, 917.446.2871 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 40

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