Your Customer Is Your Business

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If we do not know who the customer is, we do not know what quality is.” 

Eric Ries – The Lean Startup


When I just started my journey in design, the first thing I learned was the importance of customer research. In the first instance, I thought: “Why is this so important? I know what customers want because I researched online and I know what needs to be improved.”

But then, when I started really getting into customer research, I understood why: 

“I am not the user of the product. It’s not me I’m designing for. I am just creating all these assumptions of which most of them are wrong. I can find many unmet needs and wants from the user that I can and should design for, because I want the user to have great experience.”

This was a very valuable lesson and one I’ve grown a passion for getting to understand customers and improve products and services based on customer insights.

But how do you do it when you’re not experienced in it and you just want to have your business up and running? Where do you start?  Or, how do you continue with what you have?

I’m going to write a series of blogs about customer research, and provide insights into how to really get to know your customers. Starting with..

4 steps to start your research on the right foot

The following steps will help you get started with doing research right. You can look into which research you’ve already done, what good options would be, and how you prioritise these options.


Step 1: Write down which methods you already used

Where did you learn something from your customers? Was it by speaking with them or seeing what they liked and didn’t like? 

Write down:

1. To who you have spoken to;

2. On which platforms you gathered data;

3. Places where you something about your customer.

This was my list when I first started learning about my customers:

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When you write this list out for yourself, you will realise that there is so much potential out there to get your customers better. Would you like to know which ones?

I guess yes. 


Step 2: Make a list of all the ways you can get to know your customer better

Think of any method which can help you to get to know your customer.

These can be for example:

–       Observations: view your customers’ behaviours

–       Interviews: interact and interview customers through scheduled and short encounters

–       Surveys: gaining a bigger amount data to support your interviews and observations

–       Social media: information you’ve gathered through comments on social media

–       Internet sources: information you’ve found on the web


Add this to the previous list from step 1. Below is mine.

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Now you have all that data, what do you actually do with it?

Step 3: Prioritize which methods would be most effective and time-efficient

Now you have this list full of options. Awesome! But.

You don’t want to waste time with researching something that’s not effective. So how can you be effective and use your time wisely? You can follow these rules: 

Effective methods are:

– interviews

– observations

– surveys

Non-effective methods are unreliable internet sources.


Methods that take just a little time are:

– internet sources

– social media

Time-consuming methods are:

– interviews

– surveys

– networking events.


Now gather the methods you’re intending to use, and place all of them on this table:

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As you probably notice by putting the options here, both interviews and surveys are effective but time-consuming. The rule is:


Prioritize effectivity over time, because what you will get out of your research is more important than how long it will take. Because time cannot buy valuable insights into your customers.

I mapped it out like this:

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As you can see on the image above, I found that my LinkedIn- and the University Alumni networks are the best places to search for getting in touch with my audience. Why are those prioritized on this picture? Because I already knew them, so it will save me lots of time preparing for cold messages.


A tip

If you know someone who can bring you in touch with the right people, do it! It will save you time and effort.

So now you have your list, it’s time to start and..


Step 4: Take action!

Now, this has been set out, it’s time to start working on it! Start with the first 3 options and gather your customer information.

Your Customer Is Your Business

The above 4 steps will get you going with your research. Be aware of what you did, what you can do, prioritise the options, and off you go! 


Want to know how you could best in touch with your customers? Stay tuned, next blog I’ll write about it. Or eager to get started? Feel free to send me a message if you’d like some help!

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