Your team has to solve a customer problem. Before brainstorming solutions, there are three steps they must take. The goal is to understand the customer problem deeply and gather enough evidence that this is a high-value opportunity the organization should tackle. That understanding is also essential for them to envision how they best solve it to deliver value to the customer and business.
Step One: Leverage Existing Customer Research and Data
Ensure the team leverages existing customer research or data within the organization. Often, teams rush into problem-solving without tapping into what the organization already knows about the customer and the problem. By utilizing rich data from other teams and departments, they can expedite their discovery and understand what they still don't know and what they need to learn to move faster toward solving the problem.
Step Two: Engage in Discovery with Customer Interviews
Once they identify what they need to learn about the customer and the problem, they continue with Customer Discovery. Among various methods, Customer Interviews are one of the quickest ways. These interviews allow teams to directly engage with customers, asking insightful questions and actively listening to responses. By delving into questions about the problem, like what the customer was trying to achieve when the problem arose, what steps they took to solve the problem, and how it made them feel when it happened, teams gain valuable insights into the depth of pain experienced by the customer. They can even learn about other more pressing customer problems to solve.
Step Three: Validate the Customer Problem
With a deeper understanding of the customer and the problem, the team must validate that the customer truly wants the problem solved. It's not just about acknowledging the pain; the crucial question the team must gain evidence for is whether the customer takes the initial steps and changes their behavior to address it. Running an experiment, the team quickly learns and determines if the customer takes that crucial step.
Once the problem is validated, the team brainstorms a solution they believe solves it. Before building, they continue running experiments to test all their critical assumptions around the solution to reduce risk and gain evidence toward the fastest path of a first release or MVP that will deliver value to the customer and business.
By following these three steps, your organization will save time, money, and resources and ensure your teams are working on the most high-value problems to solve that will deliver measurable impact toward your critical initiatives.
Written by: Pam Krengel