WATCH: Uncovering Your Customers Needs


Hi, welcome to the ace video series alumni continuing education day.

I want to talk to you about uncovering your customers’ needs. This is one of the most critical pieces in making sure that we bring products to the market that are truly adding value. I want to talk through three different ways we can gather feedback and therefore to uncover the needs the most efficient way possible.

The first I’d like to talk about is gathering unsolicited feedback.

Just as the name suggests, unsolicited feedback is the feedback that we have received that we haven’t necessarily asked for. We may be going online, looking at reviews, get some thumbs up, some thumbs down.

One way that I encourage a lot of product managers to do this is to actually sit with customer service and hear some of the phone calls that are coming in.

Get some reactions from people who may be using the product or interacting with the product in some way. They’re giving you unsolicited feedback that could help you understand those challenges. It could help you understand some of the struggles with the product and give you an idea of where you may want to go going forward or things you may want to look deeper into to gather more of the customer’s needs. Again, to build the best product when that time comes.

The next one I’d like to talk about is solicited feedback. Solicited feedback is solicited feedback. It is information that we are going out to gather from our customers or any one of our target segments to figure out what might be going on, what they might be struggling with, where might they see the product evolving in the future, or their challenges that they may see in the future? Big questions help us understand a little more about what may be happening with their product. So that or their problems or their issues so that we can build products and to help meet their needs again. I always suggest that when we’re gathering solicited feedback, we want to be prepared, put together a questionnaire, and think about what some of those questions are long-term, right? There are other ways to do this as well. We could set up surveys right now that are a little bit more informal.

Well, maybe we’re not able to sit with one of our customers or our target segments, so we’ve got to send something out to the masses a little bit.

Maybe there’s a particular portion of the product or usage of the product that we want to focus on. And if we ask questions that pinpoint a little bit there, maybe it’ll help.

Again, give us some ideas, give us help us to understand what some of the problems or issues may be that we can look to solve for in the future. So we’ve covered so far the unsolicited and the solicited feedback piece. What I’d like to cover now is observed feedback, and with observed feedback, I find that our real goal here is to uncover needs they didn’t even know they had.

What does that mean? Well, when you’re asking for feedback or soliciting feedback, you’re probably hoping that they will tell you about the problems. Right? they’re going to tell you what the issues are. They’re going to talk to you about it. But your assumption in that scenario is that they know that this is a problem that could potentially be fixed or they know that this is an issue that may be able to be resolved through different ways or different solutions depending on how we build the product. But observing, on the other hand, helps us see things in the big picture, right?

One of the biggest things about observing is we’re watching people in their day-to-day interactions. We could do this covertly where people don’t know we’re watching, right? Secret shopper sort of things or overtly where we may talk to somebody and say, I’d like to sit down and watch you do this. Can you start using your product? I’d like to watch you as you work through these screens or as you open this package or as you look to install this device of some kind or look to install this sort of system. I want to see how you install it or what’s going on there. Now, all of these things can give us different information. So when we do this, we want to capture it and gather it just like we do with solicited, unsolicited capture and gather and make sure we understand what some of those problems or issues may be. So these are the three types of feedback that I wanted to focus on today, unsolicited, which again is the feedback that we’re not necessarily going out and getting we’re receiving solicited, which is the feedback that we’ve gone out, ask questions, done surveys, interviews, phone calls, whatever it may be, but it should be planned and observed, which is we’re either watching somebody do their job or taking a particular action or watching somebody shop, depending on what our type of product might be, right? Or do something. And maybe they don’t know, which allows it to be a little bit more unbiased. With these three types of feedback, we want to gather as many needs as possible, right? Needs being the keyword. As product managers, we’ve heard this repeatedly, I’m sure within our workshop, and we hear this when we’re on our jobs; our job is to uncover those needs. So hopefully, these three ways, unsolicited, solicited, and observed, will help give you ideas of how to uncover as many needs possible to launch the best products as possible in the marketplace. So I’d like to thank you for joining us again on the ACE video series, Alumni Continuing Education.

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