There is a reason companies like Google, Apple and many others lead the industries with persistent manner about understanding their user’s community.
I have seen first-hand how user-experience-obsessed companies operate.. As product manager and innovator, here's how you can practice the same top five habits.
Relentlessly learn about your customers and innovate
Companies that are focused on customer experience keep a constant eye and ear open to opportunities for innovation. They directly observe research sessions with their customers, where groundbreaking ideas can spring from the simplest of customer comments. They are relentless in seeking new research methods and techniques that ensure that they get a holistic perspective of their users' experiences. And, they are acutely aware of the competitive landscape, evaluating what already exists so that they can build something better. Innovation requires a constant willingness to be open to opportunity that reveals itself through research.
You are just about to launch your product, but you want to make sure there are no showstoppers. If this is when you are starting your user experience research, it is too late in the development cycle to make anything but cosmetic changes. Customer experience detractors found at this stage may result in lost conversion opportunities or worse—high costs of fixing problems so late in development.
Many user-experience-obsessed companies eliminate risk by learning about their customers at every stage of the development cycle. They employ a user-centered design process. Before anything is built, they find out what their customers need, determine how they can use their concepts and prototypes, and validate that their products and services meet expectations and improve customer perception.
Spend a lot of time with your platinum customers, in particular
The most important way to eliminate risk from your development process is to understand everything possible about your customers, particularly your top customers. User-focused companies watch their customers in the wild—in their natural environments—to see how customers use their products and how their lives could be made better.
For example, a major security product company, relies on a meet up monthly program to spend time with its top customers to learn how they work, how the infrastructure fits into their portfolio, and how the infrastructure could improve their processes. This isn't episodic or just when the company needs a particular question answered. It learns about its customers all the time.
This time with your top customers provides many benefits:
- You get an opportunity to strengthen or repair your most valuable relationships. Even the most disgruntled customers are often surprised and delighted that a business attempts to understand their needs through direct interaction with them.
- You gain visibility into the cutting edge of your business. Your top customers are often the first to embrace new trends and technologies, and they will be the first to hear about any innovations, competitive threats, or emerging strategies of which you should be aware.
You learn how to help the rest of your customers. These top customers got to where they are because they were able to seize opportunities, devise workarounds, or take advantage of resources that other customers did not. Understanding the history of your top customers can lead to insights that have an impact on all of your customers
Doggedly study the competition
To build the best products for your customers, you must know how and where they are setting their expectations for your products and services. Customers' expectations are constantly evolving based on other encounters they have on apps, tablets, mobile devices, and the web. As users come across other experiences, they will switch to the product or service that offers the best one.
Validate your concept before you build it
Some products deployment are extremely expensive and resource intensive to build, redesign and deploy. They can cost millions of dollars and require one- to two-year development cycles. With investments of this magnitude, it is critical to first validate that your concept or idea will fly.
@Organizations espousing Customer Obsessed Service view customers as a valuable asset that belongs on a balance sheet. Each customer interaction is a golden opportunity to improve the relationship, and each customer touch could result in a customer who is so happy they become an evangelist for the brand - Don Peppers and Martha Rogers
*Reference: UX Marketing research firms, Don Peppers and Martha Rogers Articles