Capturing Your Customer's Needs and Turning them into Actionable Solutions for Prioritization

Posted by Maziar Adl
Maziar Adl
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Your company has created a product your customers love, and your sales team and distributors can hardly keep up with the demand. While your team is basking in the launch's success, you also know that it's only a matter of time before the competition launches something new. Unless you also introduce a new feature, you may lose some of your customers. Your team needs to focus on idea generation and prioritization to stay competitive. 


Creating an Idea Management System

Illustration: Gather around an ideaThe idea management process can be complex, no matter which method you use. With cross-functional teams, there are also many opinions and parameters that will influence your decision. One essential part of the process is to find out what your customers value most and how to deliver a product that helps them.

You've likely sought customer feedback to help determine their needs, but have you explored the deeper story? When you find out how to positively impact your customer's life beyond their immediate use of your product, you'll not only stand out from the competition, but you'll also gain loyal customers. 


Put Yourself in the Shoes of Your Customer

Illustration: managing customer reviews & feedbackWhen you put yourself into the shoes of your customer and understand their pain points, you'll make better decisions regarding your products. It helps to spend time with your customers, watch them use your product, observe their frustrations, and record opportunities for improvement. Most of all, empathize with them and focus on improving your product for their benefit. Next, you can share your findings with other stakeholders by using visual tools called empathy maps. An empathy map should capture what the customer says, thinks, feels, and does regarding your product. 

You can fill in the details of your story by using customer personas or market segments. Telling a cohesive story about your customer using your findings, empathy maps, and persona details will help your stakeholders understand your proposed roadmap. They'll also be more likely to support it.  

One thing to make sure you focus on is the difference between your customers needs and solutions that satisfy them. As they say, customers don’t want a drill, they want a hole with a certain diameter to be created with a certain speed. But at times for customers to express their problems or refine the solution to meet their needs you need to iteratively ask for the problem, show a potential solution and get further feedback.


Four Examples of Customers Pains & Solutions

To illustrate the effectiveness of knowing your customer, here are four examples of customers and the products they need.


Customer #1: The Farmer

Illustration: Farmer & his cowLet's look at customer number one, a farmer in Montana. This farmer uses multiple pieces of equipment and machinery throughout the growing season, from a reliable tractor and various implements to the mighty combine harvester. To make a profit, the farmer needs his tools to work reliably and efficiently. He also needs his crops to produce a good harvest. While weather and the environment play a huge role in the success of the farmer on an annual basis, there is room for the farm equipment manufacturing company to make an impact on the farmer's daily business. 


Pain Points

The farmer's primary pain points include:

  • Time spent in the field
  • Price of fuel
  • Efficiency of his machines
  • Unpredictable weather
  • Environmental events



If you're a manufacturer of combine harvesters, you have several opportunities to help your customers beyond the quality or price of the machines you sell. You could prioritize features that will reduce fuel consumption and increase the output of the harvester, which in turn will reduce the amount of money the farmer spends on fuel and reduce the time he spends harvesting. 


Customer #2: The Teacher

Illustration: Classroom teacherThe daily life of a teacher may be rewarding in terms of experience and bonds with students and other teachers. However, there are many pain points that most teachers experience that a car manufacturer can consider addressing to gain their business. In between their hours spent working, prepping, and planning—even when technically on vacation—the main pressures teachers face involve time, stress, and money. 


Pain Points:

  • Long, demanding hours
  • Long commute
  • Modest salary
  • Stress



It's true that buying a car cannot solve all the problems a teacher has, but creating a model that fits the salary range of a teacher, is dependable for high mileage, and is fuel-efficient helps ease their bank account and reduces some stress regarding their vehicle. Teachers would also value features that make their commute safer (park-assist, collision warnings, blind-spot monitoring, etc.) and reduce the stress of their busy days (ample charging ports, easy stow-away seats and storage capacity, Wi-Fi hotspot, built-in navigation, etc.). 


Customer #3: The Rideshare Driver

Illustration: driver of a rideshareRideshare companies have two types of customers: the users of their service and the drivers who buy into their program and work for them. A rideshare driver may be looking for additional income, needing part-time work, or wanting an independent, flexible lifestyle. With multiple rideshare companies in North America, how can one attract more drivers than their competitors? Understanding the needs of their drivers can help them create and implement benefits and features to support them.


Pain Points:

  • Timing of the job
  • Demand fluctuation
  • Profit margins
  • Overhead costs



The rideshare company can look at these pain points and decide on features that benefit their drivers, such as offering more earnings for drivers who respond to demand surges in their area and creating minimum tip amounts for the riders. Rideshare companies usually have an app that drivers use to plan and track their work. Other features to consider prioritizing inside this app could include an easy system for drivers to be paid and notifications for extra income possibilities. The rideshare company could also develop partnerships with other businesses to help their drivers save money on fuel, get discounts on regular vehicle servicing, and more. 


Customer #4: The Entrepreneur 

Illustration: entrepreneur with chartsCustomer number four has been running their own business for just three years and is still in the make-it or break-it point of their business. They're working long hours and weekends to make their passion a success. They 


Pain Points: 

The entrepreneur's main pain points include:

  • Cashflow
  • Time spent working on their business
  • Hiring and retention
  • Marketing and finding customers



If you're a SaaS company that runs a customer relationship management (CRM) system, you have plenty of opportunities to introduce features that go beyond helping your customer manage their customer relations. For example, some CRMs add a simple drag-and-drop landing page builder to make it simple for your entrepreneur to create their own landing pages to reach new customers. Another idea would be to launch a robust chatbot that can help entrepreneurs solve their common troubleshooting problems after hours. Offering a payment tier that gradually charges more as a company grows in profitability can help newer businesses get established faster. 


Create Your Loyal Customer Base

When you help your customers in ways beyond just using your product, you let them know that you hear their needs and care about their lives, which increases customer satisfaction and brand loyalty. A loyal fanbase supports your products, even when they cost more than the competition, because they understand the value offered to them. 


Make Your Idea Management Seamless with Product Roadmap Management Software

Product management and feature management go hand-in-hand. The software you're using to map, analyze, and manage your product development should also support ideation and prioritization. At Gocious, we continue to create robust software that makes product roadmap management streamlined for all your product development teams.

Book your free demo to see how Gocious can support your product plans.

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Topics: Product Management, Product Development

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