Do you really know what your customers want?

We all work for our customers. In some cases, we are in direct contact with them. For most of us, the customers are quite far down the value chain, and we don’t have direct access. So we imagine what they want, what is important to them, how they will use our product.
Unfortunately, even with a lot of imagination, we are often wrong. In this post, I give you several tips to better understand your customers!

In this video, customers use the product provided, but not quite as intended by the manufacturer…

It is true that children are creative. They explore their environment and do not limit themselves to what is expected. They are a source of inspiration when we need creativity in our work.

Watch customers use the product or service

While being as discreet as possible, so as not to influence his behavior, go and see how your customers use your products. Marketing teams organize workshops or simulations. Ask to participate as an observer. It’s very informative.

For example, I met a person who took the time to observe the lighting of the building her company did. She took several photos to share with her colleagues. In the spirit of Gemba improvement, she could also have interacted with passersby and asked them how they feel about the building’s lighting scheme. After all, whether the buildings are public or private, the customer is still the citizen. A better understanding of the value that the building’s lighting generates would help it to be more effective in future projects.

For example, passers-by who explain that spotlights on the ground hurt their eyes, or on the contrary reassure them, will guide future urban lighting projects.

Putting yourself in the shoes of customers

Another technique is to slip into the client’s skin. Are you drawing cars? Put-on a pregnant woman’s belly, or an aging simulator and then get on board a vehicle.

Are your clients children? Get down on your knees, the world is very different at their height. A lot of new details will appear.

Create detailed personas

The last technique is to create personas. These are invented characters, who use your product.

Beware of your cognitive biases, the personas must be different from you. You know how you’re going to react, how you use the products. In order for personas to provide insight, they must be different. Age, gender, job, ethnicity… Their relationship to time, money, family, consumption is different from yours. However, it remains extremely difficult to imagine the habits and needs of different people. Even if you have a history and know their aspirations, your biases remain ingrained in you.

The use of persona will be richer than a categorization of your customers, but it will always be limited. Always prefer the field and direct observation!