“Get out of the office.” Surely you heard this phrase relating to entrepreneurs and startups, referring to the importance of testing products on real consumers – the importance of contacting the target audience and communicating with it to create a successful product. However, as with many other great quotes, this is easier said than done.
“Many of us are not trained to think about markets and customers in an orderly fashion,” says Eric Rhys, author of “Business from scratch. The Lean Startup Method for Quickly Testing Ideas and Choosing a Business Model ”(The Lean Startup). “We know that some products are successful and others not, but the reasons for this seem complex and unpredictable to us.” If we do not understand our target audience, we only increase the chances of failure – users will eventually abandon the product, either because they do not like it or because they do not know how to use it. This can happen even with the most innovative ideas and technologies. Worse, you can spend months and years developing a product that will not be in demand among users because you have never tested your idea on end users.
This is where Customer Development comes to the rescue. What it is? This is a four-step framework introduced by Steve Blank in his book, The Four Steps to Illumination. It ensures that you conduct sufficient and effective research even before you begin to work hard on the product. Don’t worry – if you already have a product, you can start the Customer Development process from the second step and improve your MVP and development plan.
By following these steps, you will find out what your end users want, how your product solves their problems, how to continue to improve the product and how to sell it. Does that sound scary? Not at all if you have the right resources and tools.
These “Customer Development” tools, Customer Development, help you “get out of the building” … without even leaving your chair. They will allow you to contact your users, see their reaction to the product, hear their feedback and understand their behavior and their needs. Our list contains tools for interacting with users, conducting surveys and interviews and understanding their behavior. Each tool is a market leader in its category.
Customer Development can begin even before you have a product – even at the idea stage. Before you start working on it, you will probably want to know what your target audience thinks about it. One way to find out is through a survey.
SurveyMonkey is an online survey and research platform. You can use this multifaceted tool to get feedback from your existing users or people from around the world, to understand user behavior, improve UX, engage customers and test concepts.
SurveyMonkey is a very convenient and intuitive platform that allows you to quickly create and configure polls, and users can simply answer them. But the simplicity of filling out the questionnaire can increase both the number of answers you receive and, ultimately, the quality of the data you collect. You can even increase the number of answers received by offering participants a reward. In addition, SurveyMonkey offers a mobile SDK for collecting in-app reviews.
Other survey and feedback tools: Pollfish, ForeSee, Mopinion, Apptentive
In the next step, when you have MVP (or a new version), you can begin to evaluate your audience’s reaction to it using custom testing tools. The leader in this area is UserTesting, which has millions of testers from around the world who are ready to provide you with invaluable product reviews.
You can use the platform to understand intentions and behavior, improve user experience and increase user satisfaction and loyalty. This tool can be used throughout the development cycle, so you never have to guess when deciding on a product.
The best part is that you will get the results in a few hours – UserTesting allows you to conduct live interviews or use a video format that improves the quality and accuracy of feedback. It can even automatically decrypt (transcribe) interviews and organize a search in them so that you can quickly view and organize the results.
Other user testing tools: Applause, Lookback, UberTesters
To create a truly powerful product, you need the most powerful analytical tools possible. For mobile applications, Appsee serves as such a tool, with which you can receive user session recordings and sensory heat maps. This high-quality analytics platform will allow you to understand users much more deeply than on the basis of simple numerical indicators of traditional analytics, such as MAU / DAU, session duration, number of daily launches, etc.
Appsee, using recorded video, shows how users interact with the application in each particular session, and also generates heatmaps that display gestures and actions on each screen.
This ability to “see” the actions of users eliminates possible misunderstandings that you might have had in the previous stages of Customer Development; it shows you exactly what users do after launching the application. And additional tools, such as navigation paths and conversion funnels, will help you understand where to look in order to improve your important metrics or user experience.
Other quality analytics tools: Hotjar (web) Fullstory (web)
Mixpanel is a comprehensive analytic platform that can be used at various stages of the Customer Development process. Mixpanel works for web and mobile applications and uses machine learning to analyze your data and automatically generate valuable insights about your users’ work.
You start by marking the events you want to track, and Mixpanel gives you effective insights about user behavior using its trillions of data points. Using them, Mixpanel can even predict future user behavior based on their previous actions.
In addition to its analytical tools, Mixpanel enables you to interact with users and re-engage them in your product by cleverly sending them messages on different platforms.
Other quantitative analytics tools: Firebase, Flurry, Localytics
To add another level of analytics to your user research tools, you can use quantitative analytics tools to track user behavior in cohorts. Amplitude is one of the leading analytic tools that includes powerful features for working with user cohorts.
Amplitude identifies, analyzes, and highlights behavioral cohorts, for example, users who have used a specific device and performed a specific action in the last 30 days. This helps to understand what users are doing, and what their preferences are, to decide on actions that can improve your key retention and conversion rates. You can also watch how users go through different funnels in your application.
Other tools for working with behavioral cohorts: Kissmetrics, Heap, Keen.io
A Few Words About Customer Development Tools
How well do you understand the end users of your product and the target audience? Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, as you know, at meetings left a free chair for the most important person in the room – the client. If you are creating an application or a product, one of the most important elements of your roadmap is getting to know your users.
This is not a one-time process – you will carefully think over ideas, not only at the stage of their formation, but also with each update or release of a new version.
These tools should help you in understanding the target audience or existing users, in creating the application that they want to use, and ultimately in the incredible growth of your products.