What is not being told
If you are an early growth stage product founder, chances are that you are talking to a lot of your customers. Your customers seem to be happy and they keep giving you product ideas and feature requests.
You are thrilled to see such engagement and you get your team to build out the features that your customers are asking for. You are hoping that these features would drive even more engagement which would help with customer retention
On the contrary, what you are seeing is that the very customers who asked for the feature don’t use the feature once its fully developed!!
And you are thinking -
What the hell is going on? Didn’t they ask for this???
When customers ask you to develop a feature, indirectly what they are telling you is that:
I have a problem
Im not going to bother you with the details of the problem
I have given it some thought and come up with a solution that I think would work
Here, develop this solution for me
More often than not, customers wouldn’t have really thought through all the intricacies of the solution and its adoption by the users. They would have thought about the most obvious existing needs, they wouldn’t have considered all the latent needs. Not addressing the latent needs can hinder product/ feature adoption.
So how do you figure out all this?
The trick is to have open ended conversations with your customers about:
Why they want the feature - understand the problem they are trying to solve
How they currently solve it
Who all are affected by it
Who all are involved in the solution
How does it all work
Biggest pain points in the current solution
Ask them to show you how they do it
Take the biggest points and start from there. 3 things to keep in mind - Beach Head strategy, concept of a complete solution, and the concept of a Non Linear MVP!
Its not sufficient for you, the founder to do it, but your entire customer facing team must follow this practice to develop a product culture in the organization.
To summarize - while doing your User Research, do keep your eyes and ears open for what the participants are “not saying”. What they are not saying is often more important than what they are saying.
What they are not directly telling you are reasons why they wouldn’t use your offering!
If you are facing challenges with features requests from customers, give me a shout and I would love to have a conversation.