It’s Time to Meet Your Customer (literally) – Week 2

In the age of digital information, it seems that a business can find out any information about their customer with a few taps of their fingers and a good analytics platform. Businesses across the country track their customer’s buying habits through loyalty cards, social media behavior, and even web browser cookies designed to capture a customer’s internet history. But can all of these outlets of information truly capture the information you need to know about your specific target customer?

It can, but there’s still more that can be done.

Yes, the digital age is wonderful – but stepping out to physically meet with a group of real people and asking them information about the product or service you are offering is still, even today, a highly effective way of learning about your customer. Additionally, putting away our analytical tools for a moment in exchange for real interactions and conversation could end up benefitting a business in more ways than simply providing information. Below, I have identified three ways that actual customer conversations can do this.

1. Save time and allow for quicker product improvements

Make a few prototypes and try to sell them to actual customers. Then see how easy or hard it is to sell them, and listen to the feedback these people give you – no matter if it is negative or positive. Finally, revamp your product prototype and then repeat the process from step one. After a few cycles, you’ll have improved your product into a version of itself that will perform much better in the marketplace. And it all starts with a conversation.

2. Witness how a customer uses your product (with no instructions)

If you aren’t standing next to your customer physically to explain how to use your product, will the product be user-friendly enough to “explain itself”? This isn’t a bad goal to have in mind when designing a product. Of course, the level of self-explanatory design varies greatly depending on the product being sold. Yet trying to keep the instructions short or non-existent will typically lead to less frustrated customers. And what better way to do this at the beginning of your product’s life than to quietly observe how your customer interacts and uses the product?

3. You could find a real customer

On the Internet, you may know a lot of information about your potential customers. But do they know you? That question can only be answered by an effective marketing campaign. Yet when you go out and physically meet with people to ask them questions about your new product, you might just get more than good feedback: you could gain a customer. This two-way interaction makes the potential client feel like you care more about solving their problem than simply selling them something (and you should!).

When its all said and done, the three benefits of live customer interactions we covered about can save your startup precious time and resources – not to mention giving a few early adopting customers a sneak-peak of what is to come. And when that launch day does come, you’ll have minimized the risk of rejection by the greater public, while also offering a solid and useful product your customers are more likely to love.


What did you think? Leave some feedback! :)

2 thoughts on “It’s Time to Meet Your Customer (literally) – Week 2

  1. Austin,
    Great post. I like the idea of having the customer use the product with minimal instructions. It provides a benchmark for the product developer to test consumer friendliness and functionality. Beta testing is not a new notion but it is essential to any product or service viability especially to gather real customer feedback.

  2. Austin,

    This is great. It reminds me of when I sold Tupperware! I had a great time at “Tupperware Parties”, because we got to showcase the products and show how to use them. So, if people came with the mindset of not buying anything, that was fine. BUT, most of the time after we interacted with them and showed them how our products worked with little effort, we got them as new customers.

    Great post!


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