An innovative way to looks at customer “needs”
A difficult economic climate and disruptive competition mean that many organisations including libraries will benefit from a fresh look at their services. At the heart of this is getting a better understanding of customer needs. We provide some creative methodologies help better understand customer needs and redefine or design new products and services to meet those needs. Ken Chad’s short article in UKSG eNews (‘Focus on the user’ December 2013) outlines some of the issues and approaches.
For example the ‘jobs’-to-be done’ (JTBD) methodology has a good track record in the commercial world and we have found it effective in Higher Education and the public sector more generally. We have run a number of successful JTBD workshops. The approach is neatly encapsulated by a well known quote from Theodore Levitt of the Harvard Business School. ‘People don’t want a quarter-inch drill, they want a quarter inch hole.’ The focus on the job at hand contrasts with more conventional way of ‘segmenting’ customers by age, gender, income or social group
The ‘jobs-to-be-done’ methodology is widely used where organisations are looking for new /innovative ways to understand customer ‘needs’. The underlying assumption is that users (staff, students, researchers etc) ‘hire’ (not always with money but rather in terms of time and effort) products and services to get jobs done. This approach is practical and very focussed on looking at the world from a user’s/customer’s perspective. ‘Jobs-to-be-done statements’ are developed that have three core elements:-
(1) What is the problem that needs to be solved?
(2) Who needs to solve the problem
(3) What is the particular circumstance of the problem (i.e. I’m on the train with a smart phone)?
These are then analysed in more depth and various solutions ‘tested’ to see how well they contribute to ‘solving’ the job-to-be-done.