Words really do matter.
While everyone is running around looking for a data scientist, calculating ROI and building fancy dashboards, it’s also important to take the time to listen carefully to the words people use to describe your product, and to explain their daily activities (business and non-business). We should go beyond just talking to the customer and listen carefully to the words they use, the emotions they show when they talk, etc. These insights offer a deeper understanding of customers’ needs, one we can’t always get from persona mapping, surveys, dashboards, or even testimonials (which by their very nature tend to only be positive and don’t provide any insights). It’s that understanding that fosters deep empathy for your audiences. It leads to better decisions, better outcomes, and better offerings.
When I was at Intuit, I would show Scott Cook, the company’s founder, lots and lots of data. Well, Cook would eventually put my fancy Google sheets and Excel spreadsheets aside and say “Tell me what customers are saying. Repeat their words. Quote them. I want to hear about their pain points and the jobs they need to do in their words.”
Today — In person and/or Zoom interviews are good for 1-to-1 or 1-to-few listening. If you want to do 1-to-many listening, you can leverage community or other platforms. The key is to spend time reading these posts and responses carefully and/or to have a tool to easily export them, mine them, and share them with key stakeholders. You don’t need to read hundreds and hundreds of posts, unless you have the time : ). Instead, read 20 or so a day.
So words do matter — Whether it is for a B2B, B2C or B2H (Humans) program, it’s important to listen carefully to how customers talk about their business problems and the tasks they want to accomplish.