By Tremis Skeete
Building products than resonate with many customers are not built in a vacuum. We want to build products customers love, and that sometimes requires connecting with what real people care about and understanding from their perspective what problems are worth solving.
How do we connect with these customers in order to understand them? This is where identifying customer types can be useful in focusing research activities. Here is one way you can identify three customer types.
There are essentially three types of customers that use your software product:
1. The cold customers: They historically have not expressed a deep interest in using the product, and if they do, they rarely use it.
2. The casual customers: They use it more than cold customers, but they are not “in love with the product” so it is not a habit or part of their lifestyle for them to use it.
3. The core customers: The customers who found a way to connect with the product. They personally discovered how it could improve their lives, they love your product, and they do not want to visualise their lives without it.
It's only natural to focus on your core customers, because they have valuable experiences and stories that led them to being loyal to your product. That’s why capturing those stories can be valuable for developing other services and launching marketing initiatives. Core customers are the ones really using your product and can provide invaluable insights.
Regarding the cold and casual users, one can work to examine their respective user journeys and the thoughts and feelings they associate with it. To accomplish this, strive to do the following:
1. Understand the actions they take in your product
2. Understand what they think and feel as they take those actions, and
3. Don’t forget to ask why.
As a digital designer, remember that your customer's perception of the product matters more than yours - so as you dive deeper into customer data, don’t forget to explore how the perceptions they share can evolve your design process. In time and with enough practice, being mindful of these three types of customers can help you gain valuable knowledge to improve conversion and retention rates, and increase your digital product lifespan.
Tremis Skeete is a Product Manager at This is Milk. Click on his name to go to his Linkedin profile or email him to chat more about product management.
By Joe Triccas
*This blog post takes inspiration from my old colleague's blog post.
“All of us have a finite amount of effort, and a finite time to spend it in.”
The above quote from the referenced post really resonated with me and gave me an insight into something that was missing from my expectations of myself and those around me.
It is easy to measure time and assess how much stuff you got done in that time. What is difficult is understanding the level of effort you expended in that time.
We live in an ever-changing culture, with mantras like “Be Kind” being in the common lexicon, it really took me by surprise just how unkind I could be to myself when assessing my ‘productivity.’ It also highlighted that, in a mostly subconscious manner, I was letting this slip over into my assessments of others.
The crux of this challenge, to me, is that whilst we all operate to the same clock, we all have different pools of effort available to us. This effort pool is not only drained by work. Everything in life takes a draw on it. Personal hygiene, home maintenance, children, maintaining relationships, personal development, work; it is all of these that are taking some of your effort every single day.
Are we all just machines?
My mind loves an analogy, and the running race analogy fits the bill quite nicely here. We all have a different ability to run a 100m. Some of us can cover the distance in say 15 seconds, using less effort.
In this context, it is quite easy to see how the amount of effort expended can be different from person to person, even if they are all running the same distance in the same amount of time.
Riding out the muse
As with any art form, inspiration can take hold, time measurements can fade away and effort can seem infinite. I have encountered many developers in my years, who can find such a deep passion for crafting code, that they can very easily find themselves working into the early hours of the morning.
To more traditional creative endeavours, this is known as riding out the muse. You never know if you are going to have a period of lesser enthusiasm, where you are less productive, or patently blocked, so you must “make hay whilst the sun shines”.
Each person is unique, with a cacophony of pulls on their time and effort. Some people may be able to run 100 meters in 15 seconds expending truly little effort, for others this may exhaust them before they hit the finish line.
It falls on each of us to understand our limitations, work on communicating those to our colleagues and loved ones, and ensure that, where we are unable to sustain levels of effort, we have built around us a support network to aid others. Likewise, it falls on each of us to be open to each persons’ differences, not hold them to our own internal standard (in terms of effort expenditure)
Joe is a System Tester at This is Milk. You can email him here, or click on his name to go to his Linkedin profile.