Continuing to answer Quora questions to do my 200WaD while marketing Canny.
Here's my answer to: How do you identify latent customer needs?
If you're on Quora, your upvote would help my answers get seen. Thanks in advance!
We come up to this question a lot when deciding what to work on next.
What should we work on? What do our customers need?
Feedback is one of the main signals we rely on when prioritizing our roadmap.
Like Ford's quote, you can argue that people don't know what they want. However, when looking at customer feedback, we aren't looking for people to tell us exactly what they want. We're looking for problems.
Usually when someone gives us feedback, they're trying to achieve something they can't. They'll have an idea of a solution and ask us for it. It's our job to translate that solution back into the original problem.
Customer: I’m going to need a faster horse.
You: Can you tell me why you need a faster horse?
Customer: Because I need to get from point A to B quicker.
You: OK, I understand that problem. How about a Ford? It’ll get you from point A to B much quicker than a really fast horse would.
Always ask "why?". By understanding the source of the problem, we can design an optimal solution.
When people request features, we keep asking clarifying questions:
- Why do you want X?
- What are you trying to achieve with X?
- How do you do Z today?
- How often do you do Z?
- Can you give me a specific example?
- Would Y workaround work?
We're building Canny to do this in a scalable way. When people request features, we can see how painful a problem is and ask questions to get more clarity. Here's an article we wrote about the "faster horse" issue and how to navigate it.