At this point, you’ve (hopefully) identified your customer, validated they have a problem and that they would pay ENOUGH to solve it.
There are many ways to test your product with potential customers, but it depends on the stage you are at in the commercialization process:
For the purposes of this blog we are assuming you are still at the Concept or Design Stage and are still open to using customer feedback to improve your product and, potentially, your business model. In this case the Solution Interview is the least expensive form of testing your product concept.
If you have already advanced to the Prototype Stage, while not ideal, it is not too late. In this case potential customers can interact with your product while you record their experience (comments, interactions, frustrations, etc.) and then ask questions about it afterwards. If you find customers want something different than what you have built, be open to change. It is important to change now before you spend even more time and money on the concept!
While the Problem Interview consisted of asking a lot of probing questions to identify the needs and wants of your target customer, the Solution Interview is your chance to ask questions specifically about your product. The questions asked in the Solution Interview should be designed to help define your:
The goal is to identify the features that NEED to be part of your product in the beginning (the minimal viable product, or MVP), those that can wait, and those that will delight customers. This will form your product roadmap.
The first step is to collect background information on the potential customer. This will vary depending on your product but could include questions about their age, where they live or work, or the number of years they have been in a specific role (for B2B products).
The next step is to describe your product in simple terms in one or two sentences. This needs to be brief. If they can’t understand your description or it doesn’t interest them, you can always change it and start the interview process over again in the future. If you can’t describe your product in one or two sentences, it is may be too complicated. Don’t worry because this process will help you refine it.
Once you have described your product ask questions such as:
The Solution Interview can also inform the marketing strategy, through asking questions such as:
While the Solution Interview is the last step, it is not the end. You can and should continuously engage with your customers about your product. This will help cultivate long-term brand loyalty, and allow you to keep pace with your market’s changing needs. You can think of the Solution Interview as your first opportunity to deliver great customer service, so make sure it works for both you and your customer.
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