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Using Jobs-to-be-Done Framework to Understand Customers

In today’s business world, understanding your customers is no longer an advantage; it’s the status quo. What many overlook, however, is the fact that customers don’t just have a “want” or “need” for a specific product, but rather a job they need to get done. The jobs-to-be-done framework focuses on how your customers are trying to complete a job and the reasons they’re not satisfied with their current solution.

In this blog post, we will discuss how to use the jobs-to-be-done framework in order to better understand your prospects and their needs. This is a simple way of looking at things that can have a significant impact on customer satisfaction and company growth!

The fatal flaw in design thinking

The strategy of bringing a new product design to market immediately first became widely popularized in 2001 when the iPod first came out. With a device so innovative, Apple became the poster child for how companies wanted to innovate. Many began outsourcing their design to external firms like IDEO, who upon beginning the design process, faced a major roadblock.

The problem with a lot of these ideas was that they were not born out of a true understanding of the customer’s needs. Instead, they relied on assumptions and features that would (hopefully) “wow” customers. Because these ideas did not stem from real problems in people’s lives nor did they account for clear customer insights, they were not nearly as effective at driving growth.

The same is true with many companies today that take this approach to innovation; their ideas are born out of assumptions, features, and other factors that they believe will create the next big product or service. This often leads to products like Facebook Paper, which despite its initial hype, has since been de-emphasized in the company.

This forced design teams to figure out customers’ needs for themselves. But, design thinking involves product testing and designing solutions to customers’ unmet needs. Conversely, gathering customer research and insight to find these unmet needs relies on a semantic model. This is the fatal disconnect in design thinking.

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Designing products with the jobs-to-be-done framework

It’s no secret that to create an innovative solution to a problem, you need to understand what that problem is and why it exists. Like we said, your customer doesn’t just want to buy a product, they need to get a job done. According to the jobs-to-be-done framework, there are six steps you should take in order to better understand your customers:

Define the “job-to-be-done”

Before uncovering customers’ needs, you must  first define the “job-to-be-done.” In other words, define the purpose of your product as it relates to a problem your customer has.

An example of a job that needs to get done could be:

“I need to save money on my monthly bills by giving having complete access and control over how much power I’m using.”

Because the customer’s job is the semantic foundation for the market, it is also the focal point for value creation. In other words, it is what your product needs to be designed around, not the other way around.

Uncover your customers’ needs

Each job has a finite array of customer metrics that define how well that job is executed. These are also defined as “needs”. Uncovering your customer’s needs is a lot easier once you have a clear understanding of the job they are trying to get done. By examining their current solution and what role it plays in helping them accomplish this task, you can better understand why they aren’t satisfied with their current situation as well as come up with solutions to make things easier for them.

Gather quantitative data from your customers

Quantitative data is the best way to get an understanding of your customers’ needs through numbers and statistics. You can gather this information by conducting surveys, speaking with them directly, using feedback tools, and many other ways. Once you have qualitative data, you have a basis for your innovative product solution.

Discover hidden growth opportunities

Your qualitative data won’t just validate your product innovation solution. It will also help you visualize parts of your customer’s journey that you may not have otherwise seen. Identify these opportunities, as they are components of the job that are not getting done to the fullest extent.

Formulate your market strategy

Depending on the product, this can be difficult. It’s not always tangible to measure product success metrics. However, there are ways you can identify the specific target market that will benefit most from your solution, as well as communicate how it can solve their problem in a better way than what already exists on the market.

Formulate your product strategy

Your product strategy should come last. It should be the culmination of all your customer and market research. Once you have a clear picture of who will benefit most from your product, what they are trying to accomplish on their journey, and how it fits into that process – you can begin developing exactly what they need in order to achieve success.

Why use the jobs-to-be-done framework?

The main reason you should use the jobs-to-be-done framework is to better understand your customers and their journey. What this means is that you can better understand what they are trying to accomplish and where your product comes into play.

You will also be able to identify any opportunities for growth that you may not have come across otherwise. This is beneficial because it allows you to create a more comprehensive plan of action that helps increase customer satisfaction, which in turn increases the company’s value as well. This will help you discover new opportunities for growth, identify areas of improvement in functionality or design, and more easily uncover what they need from a product perspective.

Because of the way the true customer journey is structured, holding off on actual product development until you follow the JTBD framework makes innovation predictable and can help you strategically create innovative products.

We hope this blog post has helped you better understand your prospects’ needs by identifying the job they are trying to get done. The jobs-to-be-done framework is a simple yet innovative way of looking at things that can have a significant impact on customer satisfaction and company growth.

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