“Customers are loyal to the Job to be Done, not to the solutions they use.”Mike Boysen, Jobs to be Done Canvas Creator

Markets are accelerating.

As a result, businesses have to become more responsive to the market. If a business catches a wave too late, it stands to lose momentum—and customers—and it runs the risk of having to play catch-up.

The problem is that companies can easily miss signals. According to research, many organizations only do customer research a few times a year. That’s simply not enough.

Although the market you’re in tends to dictate how often research data needs to be analyzed, data capture should be continuous.

How to Make Sure Your Product Meets Customer Needs

To make sure the market doesn’t pass you by, set up at least two distinct continuous processes for capturing customer expectations.

Those could be:

  1. Monitoring sign up and cancellation decision-making processes using Switch interviews; and
  2. Capturing open-ended responses to the PMF survey.

Drift uses the same survey for important features (“How would you feel if we discontinued this feature?”). Responses give them a real-time feel of the value delivered by individual features.

Similarly, VWO uses the Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) to assess touch points along the sales cycle and customer journey (“Overall, how satisfied are you with [ Step ]?”). The survey results help them catch issues early.

Although you may decide to capture value fit data through other means, your goal will always be the same: to track the evolution of user and customer expectations over time to understand if the product still meets customer needs.

It’s a good idea to go through the data every other sprint, slicing it up by profiles, time periods, acquisition channels, etc. Keep an open mind. Better yet, get fresh pairs of eyes on the data.

It is normal to be less attuned to nuances when data don’t seem to change much month-over-month. Fresh eyes can help to identify new patterns. This can also help build more empathy in the team.

More Ways to Evaluate the Product/Value Fit

Companies like Amazon, for example, have their own version of the Andon Cord—a pull cord or button that workers can activate to stop the production and warn management in case of significant issues—from lean manufacturing.

At Amazon, there’s a cultural norm that everybody’s expected to pull the Andon Cord when something’s wrong. A lot of technology companies could benefit from this concept.

It’s a good idea to sign up to your product every couple of months. Try different workflows, test different actions, and evaluate the experience as a new user would. Smart new hires can also help point out gaps. It can be a good idea to capture their insights before their opinions get biased by the group.

Every year, the team at Amplitude runs a ‘Kill the Company’ (KTC) exercise. The team imagines how they would beat their own company if they were to leave and start a competing organization.

There are many ways to test and monitor the value fit. However, all approaches depend on being able to be objective and see your product as it really is today on the market.

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This post in an excerpt from Solving Product. If you enjoyed the content, you'll love the new book. You can download the first 3 chapters here →.

Categories: Customer Research Technique