Is Lack of Customer Consensus Worth Addressing?
Is Lack of Customer Consensus Worth Addressing?

Is Lack of Customer Consensus Worth Addressing?

@October 15, 2021

Is it obvious *to you* that your team lacks customer consensus, but no one agrees – or thinks it's worth addressing?

Many teams first need to agree that misalignment exists and that it’s causing problems severe enough to allocate time to solve – especially if the team runs on a ship - ship – ship treadmill.

Have you had enough conversations with team members to sense that you're making decisions based on customer folklore? Have you watched enough projects flop to sense that a lack of customer consensus is at the heart of your teams challenges?

If you have, you might know that your team is missing the kind of alignment around who you're building for that JTBD can get you, but getting traction on a change initiative can be a hard sell – even when you're the boss.

To start paving the way for JTBD initiative, use this framework to facilitate a conversation and build a coalition eager to align around who your customers are:

Convene: Invite 4 - 6 team members who have shared different ideas of who your customer is and frustration around their work

Alex may have said, "I'm building this feature for target audience, designers." Meanwhile, Sam may have run a competitive analysis on role-agnostic meeting tools.

Did Alex see limited adoption of the designer – focused feature? Was Sam's competitive analysis ignored? If so, they’re feeling the pain of customer folklore and will benefit from a JTBD project, even if they aren't yet aware that solution exists. Frame the conversation around what's going on in their world.

Describe: Ask each member to independently describe your customer

Have everyone respond to the same set of prompts, here are three to get you started:

  • How would you describe our customer?
  • What happens in our customers world that leads them to give us a try?
  • What outcomes are they seeking? What outcome do they get?

Discuss: Review the similarities and differences - and why they matter

Review everyone’s responses solo, then discuss as a group - and compare to a real customer story if you have one.

There may be an awkward silence when folks said with the realization that they haven't been marching in the same direction - but I thought they were.

As you create space to see these differences, you'll bring attention to the problem, give folks a reason to want to solve it, and create space to discuss solutions.