After the Interviews – Customer Discovery

Customer Discovery is critical to launching a new product or company. Learning about your customer can enable you to address their pain points with your product or service offering. In previous blogs, we covered preparation for customer discovery interviews, and what to keep in mind during the interview. Let’s look at some tips from Bob Ranger, an I-Corps instructor, on what to do after your interviews.


What were the problems faced by your customers?

After talking with customers, it is essential to identify their pain points. This can enable you to alleviate those problems with your value proposition. It can also confirm whether your assumptions about your customers and industry were correct. In addition, consider the magnitude of the pains expressed by your customers. In other words, was the pain small like a mosquito bite, or massive like a shark bite? If the pain experienced is small, there may not be enough of an opportunity to create a product to solve the problem.

After every 5 interviews it is a good idea to pause and assess the customer feedback.  Don’t be discouraged if your initial feedback didn’t indicate major problems that need to be fixed.  Hopefully, you asked for referrals for someone else you could talk to.  It takes time to get to the right people in your ecosystem.  Keep interviewing and follow the energy where problems need to be fixed.  -Bob Ranger, I-Corps Instructor


What insights can draw from your interviews?

After your interviews, consider what insights you learned. What are some patterns you saw? What did you learn about the industry? How are customers reacting to pain points? Were the ideas expressed simply opinions or facts? Using these insights you can begin to evaluate the effectiveness of your value proposition.

I-Corps teams often ask ‘how do I know when a hypothesis is tested well enough?’ The answer is when patterns start to develop. Hopefully, some more specific metrics were also uncovered in your interviews. Your value proposition should be tweaked as you complete more customer discovery interviews and uncover your innovation sweet spot. -Bob Ranger, I-Corps Instructor

Does the Value Proposition Resonate with the Customer’s needs?

This is the final question you should ask yourself. Does your value proposition fix or alleviate a pain faced by customers? Now, after your interviews, you have tested your hypotheses. Did you find that your assumptions were correct? Your interviews may have reaffirmed your current value proposition. However, it is very possible that you were wrong. That’s okay! Now, you can begin to build a new value proposition and product that alleviates the pain felt by customers and takes advantage of an opportunity in the industry. Adjusting your product/service offering based on what you learned could be the key to success.

Get ready to fail. Most I-Corps teams have to pivot to find their initial innovation sweet spot, which is a stepping stone to perhaps a larger opportunity they had in mind. Update your value proposition to focus on your new beachhead market and adapt your product/service to solve their problems. -Bob Ranger, I-Corps Instructor

About the I-Corps Instructor:

Bob Ranger has over 30 years of business development experience. Currently, he is a consultant and instructor for numerous innovation programs throughout Michigan.




Written by Chris Eakin

NSF I-Corps Hub: Great Lakes Region, 2022