Listen to the Customer Input

The main tenet of lean is to deliver value for your customer.  The customer is someone that uses the product or service whether it is internal or external.  The customer helps to define if something is value added or not.  It is critically important to listen to the customer and understand their needs and how to deliver that value.

Sometimes the designer of the product/service can get too caught up in what they want to deliver to the customer or what they believe they need and miss what the customer needs.  When this happens the customer can become frustrated and will not adopt or use the product/service.  This leads to less credibility of the designer.  Over time people will go around or cut out the designer.

An example.  A group of designers build a process without input from the users of the process.  When rolled out the users don’t use the new process because it is not a process that can not be executed in reality.  The designers should have had the users of the process in the sessions helping to build the new process.  During this time, the designers should be listening to the users and asking questions to gain clarity of what would work not trying to convince the users of how they should work based on their thoughts.

There is a fine line (or grey area) though.  The designers should ask questions and push for improvement where they think it can happen, but with input from the users.  If you are taking the time to improve something then push for all the improvement you can get.  The designers should help to do this.  It is a fine line to walk but when the designer crosses over it is usually easy to tell.

The customer input is the most important part of designing anything.  A product.  A service.  A technology.  A process.  Anything.  Listen.  Ask clarifying questions.  Understand the customer needs.  Deliver value for the customer.

Posted on November 19, 2012, in Customer Focus and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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