Management Tip: Customer Empathy

Many companies, who are looking to innovate, spend millions upon millions of dollars and countless time analyzing market research reports and delving into customer data.  However, what most market analysts fail to realize it that what customers say they will do is not necessarily what they end up doing.   Instead of wasting a lot of time and money, there’s an easier way to understand what your customers want:  put yourself in yourself in their shoes. Observe them using products and watch for frustrations they may not even notice. Don’t delegate these explorations to the market research consultants. Do it yourself – coming from the perspective of the product developer, you will have a perspective of the product(s) that a third party will not. Make sure senior people in your organization – those who have the strategic understanding to recognize opportunity and the authority to act on it—get out and observe customers too.  While observing, here are a few questions to start with:

  • What void or what problem does this product fill or solve for the customer?
  • At first glance, will a customer recognize the product and know its function?
  • If you were the customer, based on first glance, would you buy the product?

 From here, there are several other questions you could ask that will help you discover your product from the consumers’ eyes.  You may be surprised at the answers.


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