The Value of Talking To Your Customers
Build it for them, and they will come. A company relies on its customers for revenue, so it makes sense that embracing customer discovery as part of the product development process will augment (if not cement) the chances for success. Simply put, the more you learn about your customers, the more value you can provide, the more sustainable the venture.
Should You Conduct Customer Development?
The discourse on customer discovery is sprawling, but at a glance, you’ll find that the discovery maxim weighs heavily on human-centered design. Adopting a user-centric formula will maximise learning and reduce the risk of spending time and money on products and services that no one wants or needs. There are valuable lessons to be gleaned from something as simple as initiating a dialogue with the people who buy, but how can you be certain that it merits the investment?
Proving the Business and Financial Value of Design
"While design was once largely thought of as a way of making products more attractive, it is now a way of thinking: a creative process driven by the desire to better understand and meet consumer needs."
This quote from the report titled The Business Value of Design released by McKinsey emphasises the significance of customer-oriented design and it’s bearing on the overall success of a business. This carefully conducted study took on the ambitious task of proving that design works, and the numbers seem to comply.
In the paper, McKinsey considers the central design efforts that showed the highest correlation with improved financial results. "Continuous and fast iterations with users and user experience" is one of these design actions.
The comprehensive report is based on studies of 300 listed companies around the world, these companies cut across industries, from consumer goods to medical technology, retail, and banking. Once again underscoring the scalability of user-centered design.
"The companies that achieved the best financial returns (in the McKinsey survey) were those with a bold, user-centric vision that had embedded design in the planning at the top and used robust design metrics to monitor customer satisfaction"
Compellingly, McKinsey’s chronicle discovers that many companies do not involve customers in the early stages of development and considers it a missed opportunity. At a later stage, identifying the correct solution for unfulfilled customer needs will be challenging. Additionally, it poses that design should be viewed as vital to business success in an era where innovation is celebrated and "the only way that companies can stand out from the crowd".
The information presented above manifests that companies who reevaluate their design processes in alignment with customers are rewarded with an uptick in revenue and sustained consumer valuation. The method of learning about your customers in order to enact these high-level opportunities is where customer discovery comes into play.
How Customer Discovery Plays Its Part in Affecting the Bottom Line
By committing to the Discovery method:
You gain a deep understanding of your customers and can turn that insight into Personas for the hypotheses testing phase of the customer discovery journey. This is a necessary step to impartially validate (or invalidate) your designs.
You’ll get to know your competition. And the competition isn’t just companies and products, but habits and routines as well.
You discover new avenues for distinguishing your products from the competition in the eyes of your customers.
You may learn that you’ll actually curtail your product designs. Customers are often not interested in the features that product designers believe they want. This exercise may point you in the direction of a feature you may not have even considered.
Teaming product design efforts with structured customer development and a discovery strategy is essential to a company’s value proposition. When the balance between discovery and execution is struck, you aren’t waiting for great things to happen, you’re taking an active approach in making them happen.
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