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We need to embrace the fact that customers are significantly different than ever before.
Today, products are delivered via the internet, which has led to a dramatic shift in how people consume, demand, and interacts with products. The challenge companies face today is to deliver personalized, valuable, and immediate experiences.
The old “one size fits all” mentality doesn’t work in the future, where companies develop and market products based on market segmentation and demographics. The assumption that products, features, and marketing will meet the needs of all people within that demographic is obsolete.
Personas are fictional characters that contain insights from your customer research. They represent one customer type that is interested in your products, services or brand. This archetypes of people incorporate customer goals, problems (often called “Pain Points”) behaviors and interests. These help teams and decision makers to think from a customer perspective and add a human touch — in contrary to the traditional internal perspective. Additionally, they allow you to understand patterns in from your research, what is synthesized in archetypes of people you seek to do something for. Personas are also known as model characters or composite characters.
Personas are a great way to visualize what you currently know about customer needs and behaviors. In a rapidly changing world, it’s the only way to ensure you build what customers want is to engage them continuously. Personas are the best way to control the changing needs of your customers.
The risk of product-failure in our fast evolving world can be reduced with a continuous engagement of your customers. Customer research provides teams and organization with the required insights and confidence to ideate and develops the right products. All innovation and product development activities need to have a clear purpose to create value for your customers and to solve his problems. A persona represents exactly this “voice of your customer”.
Personas are normally created during the second phase of the Design Thinking process — the Define phase. Design Thinkers synthesize their findings and insights from customer research. Very often teams also start to create Proto-personas which are based on secondary research. Secondary research, like competitor or market analysis, allows quick insights for the first draft of your Persona.
Using personas is just one method, among others, that can help designers and development teams to define the customer problem statement. This so-called Point-of-View (PoV) is a guiding statement that focusses on specific users, and insights and needs that you have uncovered during the customer research. You can articulate your POV by framing the information about your customer (Persona), the needs or problems and the insights in the following sequence:
The PoV defines the RIGHT challenge to address during the next Design Thinking process step, which is the Ideation phase. It
Many organization oversees the real value of their data generated by customers. There are dozens of “Voice-of-customer” solutions with customers, like support systems, survey tools, app reviews, sales tools, NPS services, internal tools and many more. It’s relevant to get all your data in one place to uncover what your customers are saying and requesting. Personas are fictional characters but they represent your existing and living customers, that’s why it’s necessary to update these archetypes with your frequently gained insights.
Customer feedback via social media or product review sites like Amazon can horribly damage brand reputations. It is so important to consider every touchpoint with your customer. In our fast-changing world one of the main goals of the organization, today is to have an up-to-date understanding of all your customer groups to ensure continuous innovation. Create Personas during your customer research and update them, whenever your customer leave relevant insights with problems or needs.
Beside creating Personas, connect your “Voice-of-Customer” tools to get all your relevant customer feedback from customer research, sales, marketing and service in one place. With the centralized data, you can very easily select and add insights to your Personas, that your teams will always be provided with the required customer information. This enables teams an instant view of customer problems and needs, to be equipped with the required information to come up with better products that deliver real customer value.
About the Author
Stefan is a passionate Design Thinker and founder of Pyoneer. Follow my professional network on LinkedIn, on Twitter or sign up for our newsletter on Design Thinking and Lean Innovation.
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