When products are successful in the marketplace, it's never because they were clever or the most technically brilliant implementation, but about how well your solution solves a problem that customers have with existing solutions. When I work with clients, I push them to identify what pains their future customers are complaining about with current products or services, and what gains customers are actively wishing for.
Customer pains are what annoy a customer before, during, or after they get a job done with an existing solution. When customers regularly struggle to use a product, or complain about how it works, how it makes them feel, or how it makes them look, then you have a customer pain that you differentiate your product around.
In contrast, a gain saves a customer time, money, or effort. When customers regularly say they'd like more of something, or for better of some product or service, or that it's easier to use, they're calling out for a new solution with those specific gains.
How do you find out what customers want?
The best approach is to go to the places where customers buy or use the existing products or services, and just watch and listen. Take notes.
Another approach, though less reliable, is to simply sit down with some prospective customers, either one at a time or in small groups, and ask them about their experience. Be careful not to lead them in any direction, but definitely encourage them to talk about what's missing and what doesn't work well.
Reading through many customer reviews of similar—or substitute—products or services can also provide some useful insights, but recognize that reviews are biased toward the extremes. Don't assume that what you read in reviews represents the opinions of the majority of potential customers.
The video below offers some further insight into finding out what customers really need.
Posted by Thomas Hopper on Permanent link for What customers need on March 10, 2023.