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Customer development is understanding a customer’s needs then instituting those needs to change and develop products and services. This process is centered in engaging with customers and listening to their problems and desired outcomes.
Customer development provides a fairly quick return. This process gives brands the opportunity to weed out weak ideas while obtaining insights for future products and services.
Exploration- The First Phase of Customer Development
The first phase of customer development is exploration. The exploration phase is where an interview process takes place. The interview process should always take place before a launch of any product or service.
When interviewing your customer it’s vital that you discover their specific needs and problems. Always interview enough people to ensure that you can identify trending problems.
Use these six steps to conduct your customer interview
1. Set the Stage
a. This step is used to explain to the customer your purpose of the interview. State that your business is trying to provide the very best service and products to their customers.
2. Identify the Customer
a. You want to obtain the following information:
3. Profession & Income Level
4. Family Composition
5. Education Level
1. Personality Type
3. Tell A Story
a. This element is most crucial! Create a scenario where you’re able to share your hypothesized problem of your customers. Allow the story to create emotion for your interviewee to connect with.
4. Problem Position
a. At this stage you are listening and stirring the emotions of the customer to obtain information.
b. Here you want to identify the participant’s biggest source of pain from the problem.
c. Listen closely as they express their desired outcomes fro solving the problem.
a. Following the interview ask for referrals. “Birds of a feather flock together.” Each customer will have close friends and family who could provide valuable feedback. Ask for permission to follow up
6. Record Findings
a. Document your results and analyze them to see if there are trends that beginning to appear.
In the exploration phase of customer development it’s vital to look at these three questions:
• What problems did the potential customer present, and what are they willing to do have this problem solved?
• Who would be the early adapter with your product and service?
• How can you help your customers solve their problems today?
The first two questions help identify whether there is a problem worth solving. The answer to these questions provides vital feedback in producing a product with the solution. The third question provides knowledge about solutions and price points for your product.