Cindy Alvarez

Customer Comments, Deciphered

Customer says: "I've been meaning to try [feature] but I've been too busy"

The problem: It's not clear what benefit I'll get from using [feature] and therefore this fell below everything else on my to-do list.

Solution: Find out what your customers are already doing to confirm that [feature] genuinely IS beneficial. Demonstrate the feature and have them explain to you why it would make their life better. Use their words in your marketing and your in-product copy. Use the verbs they chose on your action buttons.

Customer says: "I've just been waiting to get some time to give this the attention it deserves"

The problem: Customer has NO IDEA what their next step should be. Not wanting to look foolish, she's going to wait until she can fully concentrate, to try to decipher what is expected of her.

Solution: Identify the ONE action that you want the customer to take -- whether that's choosing an option, completing a purchase, answering a question, or scheduling a meeting -- and visually highlight that action. Downplay (or better yet, defer or delete) everything else on the screen.

Customer says: "Oh, I don't have any questions, it's really easy to use."

The problem: Customer is only using the shallowest 5% of your product and has absolutely no idea how to use the other 95% where most of the value lies. May not even realize that the other 95% of functionality exists.

Solution: Walk a customer through what I call an "opinionated demo". Invite them to interrupt you whenever you're wrong, but tell them 'here's how I think you should use this product' and walk through the functionality. From their facial expressions, body language, questions, and interruptions, you'll get a good sense for what parts of your product are valuable. Consider killing the other parts. Learn more about customers' existing workflows to get clues on how to more effectively surface your product's functionality.