In a rapidly-changing world, your customers' expectations, needs and habits change just as fast. So it’s more relevant than ever to keep learning what motivates them and what does not.
Customer research helps you to understand what your customers drive, what problems they face, how they currently solve their problems and if you should invest in finding a solution or not.
It all starts with knowing your customers. Know what they (do not) want. You can ask some basic introduction questions, which helps you to create personas (demographics, hobbies, tastes and interests along with what they watch, listen to and read, etc.), but it’s even more important to find out how they interact with you as a company. To map their ‘customer journey’. Meaning, what steps does a customer undertake in order to achieve a goal? And what are his/her emotions at each step? What problems do they face, and what needs do they have? This will help you to see your company from their perspective.
A great experiment to find out these steps and emotions is the ‘customer interview’.
When you have identified (and validated) a problem that your customers experience, it’s important to know what steps they currently undertake to solve it.
Bring into context how your customers address their problems. What products or services do they use to solve their problem? Do they have a workaround in your current solution, do they use other products and/or services instead?
Experiments that will help you to answer these questions are ‘observation’ and to ‘interview an expert’.
To be sure a solution is needed, you need to know if the problem that your customers experience is ‘big’ enough. A lot of innovation projects address just fictitious problems that are not really relevant.
So how do you know if a problem is actually a problem worth solving? Two experiments that might help are ‘Desk Research’ and the ‘MOM test’.