Who are your customers, and what do they want? If answering that question is not the first part of the puzzle that you are going to solve, all your efforts to ensure strategic alignment are futile. You'll align your product team's efforts to a skewed product strategy that itself doesn't reflect your customers' expectations.
Getting the customer needs right is the nucleus of your product's success. It fuels user-centric innovation and refines your efforts to achieve business objectives. It establishes a central goal of meeting customers' expectations, which simplifies and streamlines decision-making. If you're looking to become a product manager, you would be aware how crucial it is to understand your users.
But how do you get it right? Isn't the Jobs-to-be-done framework (JTBD) enough? How many customer interviews do you conduct? Is buyer personas assessment necessary if you have conducted JTBD interviews? Is there a comprehensive checklist and objective enough to help you understand every aspect of customers' needs? It turns out there is! We have put together a list of tips for you to answer all of these questions.
Define a Customer Value Proposition (CVPs) with JTBD Framework
The jobs-to-be-done framework has been a hit in the product management community across the globe to outline the actual customer expectations. Unlike other techniques like interviews, focus groups, feedbacks, JTBD doesn't focus on past mistakes, building on strengths, and reinforcing the iteration process. It determines the customers' actual goals and removes bias and assumptions from the equation.
The JTBD framework poses simple questions- What are the jobs that the product has been hired for? What are the customers' goals behind hiring the product? What are the pain-points for the customers without the product? Put down your Customer Value Proposition using the JTBD framework, which will act as the product's central goal.
The customer's journey consists of multiple stages, from the point where the customer finds, assesses, purchases, or signs up, right to the point where they get their goals met. Understanding the ideal customer journey is a crucial step in understanding your customer. By determining the ideal customer journey, you'll be able to remove impediments from it and streamline the whole customer lifecycle.
There has been a lot of debate on the value of Buyer Personas after the advent of the Jobs-to-be-done framework. But, identifying buyer personas helps you understand all the people involved in buying, influencing, or deciding to purchase your product. This makes buyer personas one of the key elements in understanding your customers. Moreover, the best way to settle the debate is by making peace with the fact that you can't over understand the customer. So, it's better to keep it in the process.
Market sizing is also one of the most crucial things to do to understand the customers. It consists of the total number of potential buyers of a product within a given market and the total revenue that these sales may generate. As important as market sizing may be, it shouldn't take priority or precedence over a customer value proposition.
Often, product managers use market sizing as a replacement for CVP. It must be understood that the customer value proposition and the Jobs-to-be-done framework provide deeper insights into customer goals and cannot be replaced with market sizing.
While customer interviews and feedback might not be an ideal way to understand your customers, they cannot be struck off the list. You cannot understand your customers without talking about their past experiences with your product or similar products.
Document everything from video recordings of customer interviews to transcripts and summaries. Study them to understand customers' experiences and expectations. Keep at least ten interviews to ensure that your insights aren't inclined too much towards an individual's response.
If you follow the things mentioned in the checklist until now, you'll have a vivid picture of customers' needs and goals. But much like anything, it changes with time. You need to ensure that your product strategy and updates can keep up with these changes. Behavioral data will help you keep up with those changes by observing the actions of customers.
Studying your competitors and product substitutes also goes a long way in helping you make changes to your product and the overall product strategy. Design effective surveys and create focus groups to validate the results of your assessments about customer goals and check if they are still relevant.
To sum up, understanding your customer should be an extensive process wherein you gauge every aspect of your customer base. From knowing customer goals and ideal customer journey to identifying different buyer personas and the market size, make sure that you leave no stone unturned. To understand your customer well, you'll also need supporting material like interviews, surveys, feedback, etc., to fully understand your target customer base.
By following each of these tips, you will be able to ensure that you make informed decisions about the product that revolves around customers' needs and expectations.