What is “Lean Customer Research?” Despite what you may be thinking, it is not “Lean Customer” Research, in that we don’t discriminate based on body type. We don’t care what size your users are, as long as you are out there connecting to them. Lean Customer Research is an extension (or possibly a component) of the Lean Startup movement, in particular, the “Customer Development” piece. The Lean Startup approach pairs “Customer Development” with “Agile Development.”
“Customer Development,” coined by Steve Blank, involves that set of activities that involve going out to customers and understanding their problems, then going out to them again to assess whether your solutions are what they need, want, and will buy. Two great books on Customer Development: Four Steps to the Epiphany and The Startup Owners Manual. The Startup Owners Manual, in particular, is comprehensive, filled with useful checklists and techniques, and I have to say, quite a thick tome. (It’s my favorite book besides One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.)
Lean Customer Research, like Lean Corned Beef, is a more digestible yet still tasty approach to getting out to customers quickly and continually. It entails listening to customers and putting your ego aside when they tell you what they really think. It involves observation of users using your product and competitor products, and uncovering tacit information based on user behaviors. It acknowledges the emotions that customer and users have about the tools, products, and services they use.
Doing quick customer research is easy. Doing it effectively is an art. And that’s where Our IdeaWorks comes in. Have I given you enough to chew on?