It’s not the customers job to know what they want’Steve Jobs

I remember back in my university days in the U.S., Netflix was still a home delivery DVD service. As a young Nigerian girl in America, this service was so amazing to me. You mean I will sit in my house and have movies of my own choosing come to me?

Right from the start, Netflix has always been innovative.

However, their efforts in responding to change is worth noting, and emulating. In 2011, Netflix set out to differentiate from the others in their industry and by doing so, they disrupted the movie industry. Studying their growth, it is clear they used the design thinking methodology to achieve this.

In earlier posts in these series, I mentioned the benefits of companies incorporating design (thinking) into their processes and operations. Some of these benefits are: competitive advantage, better products and services that create satisfied customers who keep coming back.

The very first step in achieving this kind of success is through empathy. Empathy is simply understanding another person so well, that you ‘feel their pain’. It is not enough to ask questions, really observing customers as they use your product or service, walking in their shoes, will reap way more benefits.

For Netflix, they constantly studied their audience and made changes accordingly. For a service that caters to a wide range of people, to have a platform that feels so personal to each viewer shows that great care has been taken to get to know their audience. Empathizing with the people that are using your products or services is the first step in design, though this process is tasking, the results are very rewarding.

Other success stories of brands that took the time and effort to understand customers, are Airbnb- who’s founders went house-to-house to take pictures of their hosts’ homes in their beginning years. Or Bank of America’s ‘Keep the Change’ program, which rounds up cents to the nearest dollar, every time the customer spends. This innovative solution was discovered during IDEO’s (the agency that worked with Bank of America) research sessions into customer patterns.

At DODO, whenever we start a new project, we identify ways we can understand the client’s audience better, we have gone to multiple malls in a given day to observe and speak with people, sent out surveys, studied people’s patterns online or off. Really any way we can ‘enter’ that customer’s mind to understand them on a deeper level, doing that helps us discover things that we otherwise wouldn’t have. We are able to provide solutions that cater to clients’ customers better.
Like I said, this is a tasking process, and it is always difficult to get clients’ to understand the value. This is a challenge, as client’s buy-in and support is important to getting the impactful results. However, my hope is as the design thinking process is embraced by more Nigerian corporations, we will start seeing the innovation other companies using the process, experience.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime

– Bellephill

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