Your customers are telling you what your next great product could be. They’re just not saying it in those words—so you have to know how to listen for it.
If you’re a company of engaged listeners who surface customer pain points and transform those into jobs to be done, you can unlock new revenue streams by creating innovations your customers will be thrilled to buy.
Orum’s newest product—Verify, our first-of-its-kind technology that verifies bank accounts in 15 seconds or less—is a perfect example of this process.
Like many companies, Orum stays in close touch with our customers throughout the journey: checkpoints like quarterly business reviews, integration configurations, customer success support, and more. Because we make a real connection, our customers know that we truly care about their needs—so they surface all of their pain points, not just the ones we’re asking about.
In this example with Verify, we started to hear a pattern across many of these conversations, inadvertently collecting data that suggested a trend.
Before making a transaction, this data told us, there’s a lack of information about whether or not a payment is going to the correct account (and that’s it’s still an open and valid account). If the account information was wrong, or if the account had been closed or frozen, our customers either lost money or dealt with expensive returns.
We could have easily said, “Wow, that sounds tough,” and gone about our business; after all, that wasn’t a problem we were solving at the time. But instead our team listened. They asked questions: What are you using now? Where is this process frustrating, inaccurate, or slow?
To be clear, no customer said to us, “Please build a better account verification solution.” No one told us to go make Verify. They just told us their problems. Here’s how we identified a problem and built a product to solve it:
Accumulate data points.
Deeply understanding your customer isn’t just a job for the sales team, the product folks, or the C-suite. Identifying a new product category often requires a combination of inputs: integration conversations, our sales engineers, customer success journeys, and product folks who get out there and talk to customers.
Eschew recency bias and “big client” syndrome.
When you hop off a call with a customer who gave you great detail about an important issue for them, it’s really tempting to conclude this is the problem to solve. That temptation is amplified if this happens to be one of your big customers, and if another team member heard a similar complaint recently.
But if you listen to just one or two sizeable customers, or the folks you spoke to most recently, you’re setting yourself up to fail. You can’t simply hope you’ll find more people like them; you must confirm that this is a current problem that is repeating in your customer list, your pipeline, and the market at large. It goes back to Step 1: You need a big collection of data points that show this is a repeatable problem and solution.
Translate problems into a job to be done.
A list of customer problems is fine food for thought, but it’s not enough. A team that really listens and thinks customer-first can hear those problems and translate them into a job to be done.
In the case of Verify, that job was: “Create more certainty before a transaction that an account to be debited or credited is, at minimum, open and valid to participate in payments right now.” To be clear, there’s a whole bunch of other things that people ask for—and perhaps some of that will in time become part of Verify—but in its smallest iteration, the job to be done is actually pretty contained.
Determine market opportunity.
In the case of Verify, the opportunity was crystal clear: The traditional bank account verification options are so slow and unreliable that failed payments cost the global economy more than $100 billion annually. This seemingly small problem actually had a massive impact, not only on our customers but the economy writ large. And we knew we were uniquely positioned to fix it.
Ultimately, it’s about staying engaged with your customer across all of their needs—even if it isn’t a problem you’re focused on right now—and translating that into a job to be done. Your customers are telling you what they need without realizing it. If you can realize it and deliver on it, the potential rewards are massive on both sides.