If you want to utilize the full potential of your projects and business, it is reasonable to involve customers throughout your (development) process. In this video, Pernille explains the 5 phases we are working with when guiding clients through the Customer Empowered Business process, and how customer involvement helps you optimize in each one of them.
All of the 5 phases are bound together. And in a perfect world you start involving customers in the "Explore" phase and all the way to the "Monitor" phase. We are working towards that perfect world! Reality, however, often looks different, and many of our clients jump into - or out of - the process somewhere in the middle. But here they are, all the phases explained, from idea to impact.
Explore: Discover uncovered potential
In the Explore phase you involve customers to discover uncovered potential. By involving your customers at this initial stage of your development process, you can adjust it accordingly and thus build a powerful, successful strategy for your product.
This step is important because there is a big difference between customers saying what they do and doing what they do.
How to do it: Create theses and test them. You do this to gain insights into your customers’ way of covering their needs within different environments and platforms. This way, you will learn about unmet needs in the market that your product-to-be can meet. Many businesses do not really know their actual customers. Perhaps they think they know.
But more often than not, exploring who your customers actually are is the first step. Once you have clarified who your potential customers are, you meet your customer through interviews or observations, to see how they actually engage within a specific environment - either live or on video.
Innovate: Create a concept
In the Innovate phase you have a concept that you want to validate. An idea, a draft or a concept in its early stages. What often happens at this stage, when customers are not involved, is that concepts are based on the businesses’ own expectations, or what they think customers want.
How to do it: Uncover your customers’ needs within the framework of your concept by creating illustrations and/or texts that demonstrate it. Through behavioral analyses of your customers engaging with the specific concept, you are able to validate it and gain valuable insights on concrete optimization possibilities directly applicable for your concept.
Produce: Quality assurance within the development process
Now that you have validated your concept, you are ready to produce. By involving your customers in this phase you are able to quality assure the product through the development process and ensure the best possible final impact.
How to do it: To ensure that your customers actually understand your product is essential for its usage and usefulness. This has to do with for example usability. For the same reason it is important to do behavioral analyses on early prototypes, design and beta versions, so you can adjust them before launch.
We rely heavily on actual people within our clients' target groups performing behavioral "think aloud tests": Is the design manageable and intuitive? Can the customers perform certain tasks? What hindrances are there for conversion? All this can be used for pre-launch optimization.
Integrate: Entry channels and customer journeys
After launching your product, optimization possibilities are still at hand. Now it is time to investigate the immediate response and usage. How does the product feed into the customer journey or user journey? How does it meet expectations and needs?
Where do your potential customers lose interest? Even the correction of small flaws can lead to a great increase of your results.
How to do it: Customer journeys around your product are uncovered through behavioral analyses. You investigate several or single entry channels to your product. Why? You might have a product that is top of the nudge, but the channels leading towards it are not optimized.
This lack of synergy could explain why your product is not performing like you expected. In the Integrate phase you uncover if there are hurdles to the customer journey - and where.
Monitor: Conversion and Benchmark over time
In the Monitor phase the objective is to benchmark over time and increase conversion. Both conversion and benchmarking are investigated through behavioral analyses and "think aloud tests" over a long period of time. This will allow for you to see development over time, put up against your KPI's.
How to do it: Continous customer involvement - maybe quarterly or every six months. By benchmarking over time, you monitor how the product is performing compared to competitors, the product itself, or across borders.
You will also look to improve the customer experience before, during and after engaging with your product: Do potential customers find your product during searches, do they select your product and do you deliver a good service after purchase?
Why involve your customers?
A keyword in our processes, not mentioned above is speed. It is important to realize how customer involvement will help you prevent flaws and create a much more streamlined and satisfying customer experience at the initial stages, rather than fumbling in the dark. Customer involvement will not only help you utilize the full potential of your business – but it will help you utilize it fast.