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Jillian Kaplan

Creating Personas Based on Customer Needs and Pain Points

Jillian Kaplan

  • Aug 23, 2020
  • 5 Min read
  • 141 Views
  • Aug 23, 2020
  • 5 Min read
  • 141 Views
Product Management
Management
Product Discovery
Design Thinking

Introduction

When our product solves a problem for a customer, that means we have built the right product. However, how do we know what the customer's needs and pain points are? In this guide, we will discover customer needs and pain points and create a persona dependent on what we find.

Identifying these needs and pain points is always hard, but even harder is creating a persona from these. I often see product managers identify needs and pain points and then still go with the strategy they had set before the research was done.

In this guide, we are going to ensure that you take the necessary steps to create a persona and develop products for that persona.

Discovering Customer Needs

How do you figure out what your customer needs? The very simple way is to ask them: "What do you need?" It sounds very straightforward, but it is a great way to solicit feedback from your customers. Many corporations hold customer councils or customer advisory boards where they pick their most valued customers to come together for a few days and brainstorm alongside the corporation. Usually, there is some wining and dining associated, along with more casual conversation. The important thing to remember is that no matter how you are asking the customer directly for their needs, this is not sales pitch for you. If you are asking a customer or customers to talk to you about their needs, you should not spend the time telling them about what you are working on your roadmap. It is time for you to listen and not talk.

If you don’t have customers yet or feel as though you really need to expand your customer base before you can come out and ask their needs or hold a customer council, you could do market research. This would be done by a third party company. You would pinpoint who your customers are and the third party would conduct the research either via survey or interview at your customer targets and then provide you with the results so that you could apply this to your customer persona.

You can also do some in-house research of your own and look at what your customers are saying. You should be looking at what the customers (as in, people who work at the company) as well as the company are saying via media and social media. For example, if they are launching a lot of solutions in a certain area or talking a lot about a certain technology, you might know that is part of what they need as they develop.

Discovering Customer Pain Points

Once again, you can simply ask your customer what their pain points are. This can be discussed in customer meetings or councils, and often when they tell you what the need is, you can also figure out what the pain point is. For example, they may have a need for a product to do something that is probably also a current pain point for them. However, you will find that people are not as open to tell you about pain points in person, especially if you are part of the pain point. They do not want to hurt the relationship and will likely not give you the pain points if it directly relates to you.

Because it is often hard to get the customer to directly tell you what the pain points are, I do recommend that you use a research analyst or third party of some kind. The customers will be more comfortable sharing their pain points with a third party knowing that they won’t hurt your feelings. I recommend to fully understand a customer’s pain points that you invest in a survey or research product so you can effectively understand what these pain points are.

Creating Personas

Discovering the pain points and needs of your customer is a time consuming and expensive process. So once you have done it, you want to effectively use what you have found out by creating a persona and then products that suit this persona. Here are the key steps in creating a persona:

  • Step 1: Give them a title

  • Step 2: Who are they? What do they do?

  • Step 3: What is their goal? What problem are they trying to solve

  • Step 4: Why can’t they solve this goal? What are their barriers?

By creating and labeling this persona, you can effectively take what you have learned from your research on needs and pain points and turn it into something you can use as you set your strategy, products, and roadmap for the future.

Conclusion

Really diving into your customer needs and pain points is hard. Some of the time, you might be completely overwhelmed with exactly what these are and what the customer really needs.

Using these pain points and needs, you will be able to develop products and solutions that can resolve them. The customer will feel heard and understood because you are able to truly deliver what they want. That creates long term relationships and trust, and there is nothing better. People buy from people they know, like, and trust. You want to be that corporation.

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