5 lessons I've learnt talking to customers

1. IT'S NOT SO OBVIOUS

What we think matters the most to our customers doesn’t always matter to them. At all. 

Take Amazon as an example. Amazon develops products based on customer desires rather than their development team’s opinion. Bezos believes that, “Everyone has to be able to work in a call center” so that they have insight into the customer’s perspective. As such, each year he and thousands of Amazon managers attend two days of call center training and field calls periodically.

2. ANSWERS ARE EVERYWHERE! 

Have a question on why we are not growing in apply/match? Why EPs are not very satisfied? The answer is: ask those who use the service/product. You will be surprised but it’s very simple - just pick the right customers and approach them personally.

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2. QUESTIONS MATTER

Is better to ask them why they are not applying or to ask them what they were actually looking for first and how it connects to their life plans? Is it better to ask the about the issues and stop when you identified that or ask what would help them to solve that? And of course, do not fall into a trap of asking directly just "what do you want?"

4. THEY WILL TELL YOU SOMETHING YOU'VE NEVER CONSIDERED 

Few simple, RIGHT questions, 15-20 minutes talk and insights will blow your mind! They think outside the box because they have no idea that the box exists. You will get ideas on everything: product, projects, process improvements, marketing, etc. And you would want EVERYONE on your team to make few calls! 

5. GO OUT THERE

Sketch the ideas & go test them! Right away. I tended to make my ideas perfect and then they wouldn’t work. Because I didn’t ask if that would actually solve the issues customer deeply care about. Got a great idea? Sketch it and go talk to your customers.The quality of a product depends not just on the ability to generate ideas but also the ability to test and iterate through them based on good feedback.

6. LISTEN, LISTEN AND...LISTEN

Ultimately, talking to customers like going on a date. Try to stay positive, do not overreact, make a good impression and let them do most of the talking, an then, see where it goes :)