Subscribe to Inc. magazine

3 Ways to Get Inside Your Customer's Head

User experience expert Amy Buckner Chowdhry explains how to understand what your customer needs before you launch a new product.

Video Transcript

00:11 Amy Chowdhry: Whenever a company is looking to launch a new product, it is critical to do what I call "getting in the mind of your customer". We've seen over the years that far too often, a company will launch a new product, and say, "Well, now, let's research it and see what people think about it". And then companies started thinking, "Wow, they don't really love it now that it's launched. Let's spend some time testing some prototypes of it". But what you really need to do is spend time upfront, getting to know your customer, getting into their mind, to make sure that you build the right product to begin with.

00:44 Chowdhry: So, some things that we really recommend to our customers, where they do things like innovation games where they spend time with customers having them help create what... And describe what their pain points are, or their current need. Or we ask them to do things like spend time communicating with us through a diary setting, to give feedback about what their daily lives are like so we can understand where the product could fit in. Or we would want to do something like ethnographic research, which means going and spending time one-on-one with customers, watching what they do in their homes, or in their offices, kind of going into the wild. These types of research elements are critical 'cause they help you understand the gap between what exists today and what could be, and it releases that kernel of delight that you could develop. And that's the kind of thing that companies like PayPal are doing when they're redesigning and coming up with their first "mobile wallet" concept.

Last updated: Mar 29, 2013

ALLISON FASS | Staff Writer | Deputy Editor,

Allison Fass is deputy editor of A longtime business journalist at Forbes and The New York Times, she has also held roles in venture capital and innovation at Hearst Interactive Media and digital strategy at a start-up consultancy.


Amy is CEO of AnswerLab, a digital experience consultancy based in San Francisco and New York.

The opinions expressed here by columnists are their own, not those of

Register on today to get full access to:
All articles  |  Magazine archives | Livestream events | Comments

Or sign up using: