Are You Being Misled by Customers or Inspired by Them?

You’ve likely heard it before… “Customer needs are always changing.” “Every time we bring a new solution to market based on the voice of the customers, they have already changed their mind.” “Customers don’t know how to articulate their emerging needs!”

If these statements are true, how can any organization create solutions that are inspired by the true customer needs and win in the marketplace?

It turns out the above statements are only part of the story. True customer needs are solution-neutral—and they are stable—but customers may not articulate their needs well if they don’t believe it’s possible to create solutions that can get the job done well.

How do you make sure you’re being inspired by customers, rather than misled by them? Follow these tips:

  1. Focus on the jobs. Solution-specific customer needs are fleeting, while the jobs customers are trying to get done are stable. If you want to create predictable, reliable and sustainable innovation, first understand the jobs customers are struggling to get done by focusing on their journey and then extract the metrics they will use to hire a solution.
  2. Segment by solutions. You are likely to get fewer insights by segmenting customers based on demographic and psychographic methods. Instead, segment customers based on their preference for hiring solutions to yield better insights.
  3. Get feedback before perfecting. Once you have created a solution inspired by customer needs, get early feedback from customers before perfecting the solution.

Tip by Dr. Phil Samuel, Chief Innovation Officer at the Lean Methods Group.