As professionals, one of our biggest challenges is often to distinguish between what a client wants and what a client needs. While it is important to listen to and understand the desires and vision of the client, it is equally important to use our experience, knowledge, and research to help the client create a product that meets all of their needs.
The client may come to us with a specific idea or request in mind, but it is our job to help them understand the full scope of their project and to ensure that all of their needs are met. This may involve discussing alternative options and offering guidance on the best course of action.
For example, a client may want a flashy, high-tech website with all the latest bells and whistles. While this may be visually appealing, it may not necessarily be the most practical or cost-effective solution. As professionals, it is our responsibility to consider all factors and to present the client with a range of options that will meet their needs in the most efficient and effective way possible.
In addition to offering practical guidance, it is also important to be a good listener and to truly understand the motivations and goals of the client. By taking the time to ask questions and to fully understand the client's needs, we can create a product that exceeds their expectations and meets their long-term goals.
Ultimately, the goal of any project is to create a product that meets the needs of the client and helps them achieve their desired outcomes. By balancing the client's wants with our expertise and understanding of their needs, we can create a product that is both effective and satisfying to the client.
As Steve Jobs once said, “It’s not the customer's job to know what they want”. This idea, in which we strongly believe, highlights the importance of innovation and the role that companies and professionals can play in meeting the needs of their customers in a way that exceeds their expectations.
In our experience, this process has 3 phases, which we identify:
1. The customer's needs or wants (What?)
In this phase, there may be two strands. Either the customer wants to create something he doesn't have, or he wants to improve something he already has, but can make it better.
2. The solution to the problem (How?)
In this step, we already know what the problem to solve is, but we have to choose (from the various existing ways) a way to solve the issue.
3. The value of the product (Why?)
Finally, the value lies in why we chose one way instead of the other. What benefits come from adopting this option and not another...? By distinguishing and justifying a choice we are highlighting its value.
Strategies we use to help figure out what a client needs when it comes to a digital product
1. Understanding the customer's business model including specific nuances so that we can not only make the best decisions on the technology stack to adopt, but also understand the purpose of the product as a whole
2. Clarify all our questions with the customer. And, mind you, there are no wrong or stupid questions. Through this process, we ensure that we are all "on the same page" and we're able to create a clear path. This allows the members allocated to the project to not only perform tasks that have been assigned to them but to equally understand the purpose of the project and raise questions or make suggestions. P.S: It is better to take our time to fully understand the customer's needs, rather than risk building a baseless product.
3. Always try to base our decisions on specific data and analytics.
4. Use visual elements to illustrate your vision for the project. We like to use wireframes and interactive prototypes which ensure we are aligned with the final product the client expects to get.
5. Establish periods for feedback and changes. That’s why we always include time for Client’s review after each stage of developing a product.
6. Create documentation that can be helpful to everyone working on the project, and valuable if the client wants to give tasks to other team members outside our organization. This also ensures alignment between us on how we expect the digital product to work.
What else do you think works well to ensure the outcome is aligned with your expectations for a digital product? Share them with us on Linkedin, we have a post on it.