How finding the voice of my customer helped me to build my startup
Written by Lana Weal on
the 14th of November, 2018
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Andrèz Coco is the founder and CEO of Knowlly which is a solution that makes it easier and faster for solar installers to help households adopt solar. Andrèz has experience in human centred design with some of the biggest brands and has worked in various locations around the world.
Focusing on the customer has always been a key part in the different roles I had as a marketer, a customer experience designer and as an innovation consultant. In my startup, it’s not any different. In fact, I would even say that the attention and focus I have for my customer has become even more important.
Throughout my years of experience with human centered design, I’ve spent a lot of time trying to understand and engage with customers. I’ve learned how to locate customers with the best right ‘product-market’ fit. I learned to really listen to what they were saying and from how they were behaving.
As I build my startup, Knowlly, I’m doing a million things at the same time. Constant engagement with my customer seems like another thing I have to do on top of everything else. But it’s the most important job there is when you just start your business.
Here are some of the questions I answered in my quest of getting to know the voice of my customer.
Andrèz Coco doing user testing with a customer.
Knowing who your customer is
It’s always very important to figure out who your customer is from the start. Without finding the right customer, you will have no one that is interested long enough in your product or service to sell it to and build a relationship with.
The main customer for any business is the customer who is paying for the product or service.
With Knowlly, I’m currently rolling out a pilot to energy efficient suppliers who will pay for the service. Only the service I’ve built, interacts with households and small businesses who want to make their home more sustainable. So it’s important for me to listen and learn from both customers: the ones that will pay for the service and the ones that will use the service.
Finding your customer
Many new businesses are created based on a problem the founders themselves or someone they know experienced. When you start to explore that problem it’s important to validate if this problem really exists, not just for you, but for others as well.
It’s like being on a treasure hunt of finding the people with the same pain and/or gain.
Some of the planning for Knowlly from Andrèz.
As a first step I made a list of who I thought my customers were and where I would be able to find them. From there I reached out to the people they know and so on. I also used different methods to interact with my customers, ranging from focus groups to surveys and 1-on-1 interviews. It’s important to test different ways of interaction to find the ones that make it easy for your customer and give you the right outcome.
The power of constant validation
We make a lot of assumptions in startups with some of the most common being:
who the people are that we are targeting
what they will like about the solution
what they see as the biggest issue
how they will come in contact with your solution and so on.
To make sure you are building and launching the right solution, you are constantly validating the way a customer interacts with your product/service in the entire customer life cycle. Since your solution changes, and the needs of you customer can change:
You have to continue to interact, listen and validate constantly in order to grow as a business.
Andrèz Coco getting feedback on one of the first versions of Knowlly.
What you do with all the feedback
From the moment I gather feedback, I use an easy technique I’ve used in other design sprint, to cluster all the data.
I create an overview of all the feedback into three main categories: things to improve, things customers love and new ideas.
I regularly revisit my board to see what the things are I have to change, or emphasise and new avenues I’ll explore based on what my customer says. This process really helps to incorporate feedback into your roadmap and vision of your business.
Listening to your customer is like a full time job, but it’s definitely time well spent since it ensures that you are doing right by the people you serve, and make this easier and better in their lives.
So next time you are so busy focusing on your solution, take a second, go out there and know what your customer has to say.
To learn more about my story, make sure you watch Episode 5 of the SheStarts Documentary below.