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.

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Discovering Customer Needs

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