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Emprendimiento digital, startups, Big Data Analytics y nuevos modelos de negocio

It takes two to CustDev Interviews: How to ensure that customers perceive value in Customer Development

When looking for recommendations to manage a Customer Development interview correctly, guidelines usually highlight an “active listening” approach (where you talk significantly less than the interviewee) and the need for abandoning any preconceived idea about what to “sell” to the customer and being open to detect real needs and problems that may be different from what you initially thought. However there is a tactical aspect, previous to the first interview (or as its initial step), where it really is necessary to play an active role, not to sell to product you are building but to ensure that customers accept involving themselves and being part of the Customer Development process, by making explicit the value they can get out of it.

In this first step, necessary in the first interview but also during the communication to fix an appointment, we must explain the basics that make customers have a real idea of two main elements: (1) the effort/involvement that we are going to ask them during the process and (2) the value that is in it for them. These two aspects must be worked in advance with a basic backup script, to ensure that customer have a real and balanced perception of how much it implies what we are asking them and what is in it for them. As some simple examples of what we should convey them, here are some keys to bear in mind:

  • How much of an involvement are we going to ask them? How long/frequent do we want interviews to be?
  • Which are going to be the basic mechanics of these interviews? Which kind of information do we expect to gather? Abstract needs, specific examples, additional interesting contacts to receive further contrast for our work...
  • How is the focus in the interviews going to change as we progress in the customer development process (from broader general information to specific contrast for prototypes and features)?
  • Why are we using this method to build our product? Which advantages or additional value are we going to offer to them? For instance, besides immediate actions such as thanking them for their effort and highlight how that will impact in usefulness for the final result, are we going to consider possibilities such as offering them a free or more advantageous access to the final product? Is their name/brand going to be promoted in any special way while launching the product?

Only if customers perceive a reasonable balance in favor of the latter will they get really involved and take part in the process contributing with real value, not only for you in order to build your product but also for them. There is no valuable customer development without an involved customer!

[Haz clic aquí para la versión en español de esta entrada]

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