Customer Research – Wants vs. Needs

Customer Research – Wants vs. Needs

Have no fear, Customer Research is the sure-fire way you know exactly what your customer wants, or better yet, need! Before you ask them the hard questions, you have to ask yourself the hardest question of all, “do people need my product”?

This question can blow a hole through your dream. You know, the one of being this big shot Entrepreneur or CEO of the next big thing. It also can save you from a lot of heartaches and pain AKA time and money. Customer Research helps you to avoid the pain of creating the wrong dream, AKA business. You need to know upfront if your business idea is viable.

Doing Customer Research makes sense of what customers are doing or buying. Know their behavior, how they shop, and do things so your product or business serves them. Customer Interviews are one of many steps in Customer Research.

As I said, Customer Research is a time and money saver. Let’s see how we can learn what customers want or need. First, define what problem you are trying to solve and why your customers have that problem. You will create a series of questions to ask during the research. These questions are designed to understand what’s in your customer’s head. Next is to make a list of assumptions you or they may have about the problem. The goal is to clarify those assumptions to see if you are hitting the nail on the head.

Write all your assuming down and clarify them. 

You assuming your customers love rad cars, but the research tells you that they prefer blue. You have an assume your customer using Google to search, but you found out what they really use when conducting a search.

Here are some examples of questions you can ask. The point of these questions is to open up a conversation and not to be too leading. 

Fair: Do you like red cars?
Better: What car color do you prefer?

Fair: Do you use Google to search for products or services?
Better: How do you search for your products or services?

Fair: Does this product make your day better?
Better: How does using this product impact your day-to-day process?

You save money by gathering accurate data that points you in the right direction that avoids building the wrong thing. For example, wasting a large amount of advertising money sending your message to the wrong customers. Blowing your whole budget on developers to build a mobile app before you know how your customers will use it.

This process is very important. You are learning how they view your product and what they do as opposed to what they say they do. You are looking for a customer that fits your demographics. The goal is to find the right customer to ensure accurate data.

To meet their needs you need to develop empathy. Empathy is the intentional effort to understand a buyer. In doing so you learn their behavior and problems. To greater this research you can use surveys and social media. You need to clarify and/or validate or invalidate the assumptions and discover the real reason behind the behavior. Doing so uncovers problems that they care about. 

When collecting all this data please make sure it is organized so you can go back to it often. This is your one source of truth. This will be helpful for you and your team to rely on for shared understanding. Once you are done, look at all the data to see recurring themes and patterns. Categorizing the simpler themes allows for seeing the similarity which helps pinpoint how you might go about solving the problem.