Today’s customers only want interactions that are relevant, personalized, and based on a customer’s situation and preferences. Companies that fail to provide relevant offers will be left behind. So if you want to know what your Customers want before they do, their “jobs to be done” is a good place to start…
So what are your Customers’ “Jobs to Be Done” all about? It’s the WHY someone purchases a product. A classic formulation of this is by Theodore Levitt as he says “People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole.” That starts to hit on the notion of the job. But it’s more than the direct outcome one is looking for from a product as you may want to hang up a nice family picture on the wall in order to “cherish your memories ” and make sure they last. So “jobs to be done” also includes the consumption context and the emotional effect. Context paints the broader picture of the job to be done. Emotional effect broadens the discussion to include the experience of using the product.
Clayton Christensen provides a wonderful example of this, talking about the job that customers were hiring…a milkshake. There was a lot more behind that purchase than its direct usage as a cold, sweet drink. Observing the company’s selling points you saw that 40% of shakes were being bought in the early morning. The consumption context was people commuting in the morning, drinking a shake in lieu of breakfast. Because of the fact that you needed to suck a thick liquid through a thin straw gave customers something to do with their boring commute and this was also the emotional effect of “hiring” the milkshake.
“THE JOBS-TO-BE-DONE POINT OF VIEW CAUSES YOU TO CRAWL INTO THE SKIN OF YOUR CUSTOMER AND GO WITH HIM AS HE GOES ABOUT HIS DAY, ALWAYS ASKING THE QUESTION AS HE DOES SOMETHING: WHY DID HE DO IT THAT WAY?”
Understanding the “job to be done”, the company could then respond by creating a morning milkshake that was even thicker (to last through a long commute) and more interesting (with chunks of fruit) than its predecessor.
Of all the innovation insights available, the jobs-to-be-done is the most plentiful. The challenge with this feedback is that it’s buried inside people’s heads, and it must be elicited from them.
“AS WE GO ABOUT LIVING OUR LIVES, JOBS ARISE; THERE’S STUFF WE NEED TO GET DONE IN ORDER TO GO ABOUT CONDUCTING OUR LIVES. AND THESE “TO DO’S” ARE SURPRISINGLY RECURRENT AND STABLE THROUGHOUT TIME.”
For example we’ve always had to transport information from point A to point B on a regular basis at very different points in time. The Romans would use messengers to get that job done. Later on, in the Middle Ages we would use carrier pigeons. A century ago, one way to transport information was through telegraphs and then, at the beginning of the 20th century, telephones replaced telegraphs. And, today, we use all kinds of different tools to transport information from one place to another, including emails, cell phones, and regular paper mail.
When we’re trying to develop a new product we need to be sure that it’s going to address a job that we try to get done in our daily lives. So, if somehow, somebody could invent a new way to transport data in a better way than email, or cell phones, then, presumably, this kind of innovative product would easily find its market and would therefore be part of the 30% of innovative products that actually succeed.
Bottom line: an innovative product is successful if and only if it addresses a job that we are trying to get done in our daily lives on a recurring basis.
Customer Complaint #1: “My washing machine won’t work after I use it to rinse the morning’s harvest.”
About 10 years ago, a rural farmer dialled into Haier’s call centre complaining that his washing machine was full of dirt and not functioning properly. When the technician visited the customer’s home he discovered the dirt was not from the clothes the farmer wore in the field to harvest his potatoes, but rather from the harvest itself. The man had been using his washing machine to wash both clothes and potatoes. Instead of educating the farmer on how to properly use a washing machine, the technician returned to headquarters with the man’s feedback. Haier subsequently released a washing machine capable of washing both clothes and potatoes, the 2009 upgraded version of which led Haier to become the number one provider of laundry equipment in the entire world!
“So why do people “hire” your product or service? Think about it for a moment and ask your innovation team to do the same….”