Testing with customers—remotely
First, The Mom Test
I’ve been a religious follower of Rob Fitzpatrick’s The Mom Test, which is THE best guide on how to conduct customer interviews. Even in that phrase I just used, one of the primary principles of the guide is to not “conduct interviews” but to keep the conversations casual—that you’re more likely to get real truths from people when have their guards down. Golden.
So, how do you casually approach and talk to customers during lockdown, when everyone is remote? I pinged Rob and he pointed me to a brief YouTube series he did on applying The Mom Test for remote customer development. Highly recommended. Watch now please. I’ll wait.
I spoke with some people who twisted my brain backwards
After the first few conversations I had with my target customers, I was left scratching my head. Each of the three people I spoke with had hearing aids, and each of their experiences was quite positive—not at all like the pains and struggles I read about every day from the hundreds of people in the hearing loss Facebook groups I follow.
Deepening the rift in my head was a stat I had found earlier about the high satisfaction rate people have with their hearing aids.
What was going on?
How is that I read so much about people’s pain points every day, and the people I just spoke with through my personal networks are painting a rather rosy picture of their experiences with their hearing aids?
Back to The Mom Test
Well, I had remembered some stuff from The Mom Test about this very scenario — you talk to a lot of customers, and you keep getting conflicting signals. It feels obvious as I write this, but, it’s not that I was getting mixed signals or that I was being lied to—it’s that I’m starting to identify that there are multiple customer segments to understand under the broad umbrella of simply having hearing aids or cochlear implants.
Following the guidance in The Mom Test (Chapter 7: Choosing Your Customers), I’ve now identified a handful of customer segments that are grouped around the signals and information I’ve been collecting. And I did a quick analysis to determine which segments I should focus on.
Now that I have a clearer picture of my customer segments, I can do a more focused outreach to progress further with them. And in reviewing with my MIT Enterprise Forum Mentor Team, we’ve identified the next significant piece of my business plan to pursue, which is channel / distribution — I’m going to get deeper into the business of how audiologists work.