Digital Product Development Process - How to Meet Customer Needs

The main objective of any product is to meet customer needs - there is no other path toward commercial success. While there is no universal formula for building a successful product, you can implement many good practices that bring you closer to this goal. Check them out!

Digital Product Development Process - How to Meet Customer Needs

If the product doesn’t solve any problem, there is no point in developing it. Would you agree with that statement? A quick look at the current digital landscape proves it. Observing it, you can see that products keep popping up, but only a small minority make it through the first year and continue gaining audience. A common issue connecting these applications is that they are not compatible with user needs. Their creators noticed a niche and went for it, but even though they polished the UI and the UX, the customers abandon them after a while or don’t even install them.

How to create a digital product that meets customer needs? It is hard to give a straight answer to this question, but for sure, we can give some hints! Whether you are working on a project independently or cooperating with a digital product development company, these tips might be useful in polishing your product and making it ready for the market release.

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Create Your Persona (s)

Personas help the company address the customer needs in the digital product development process by sort of “giving them a face”. You can create personas based on the existing data of your customers, segmenting your main target groups in this illustrative manner. Persona can also be a manifestation of the customers you want to address, pains and problems that your products can solve.

In the first case, you will need to look at the demographic data and habits you observed, pointing out patterns that differentiate your target groups. Once you have them segregated, think about they spend their free time, their passions and views, looks, aesthetics they are drawn to, consumer habits, and so on. The profile you created will impact the team’s imagination and help them root in the design process. If you create a “future” persona, you obviously will not rely as much on the data and more on your own assumptions.

Organize Discovery Workshops

A discovery workshop is usually carried out at the beginning of the digital product design process, although you can also use it as a tool further on the product journey to specify and recalibrate your goals and understand customer needs better.

A full discovery workshop usually spreads across 2 days (you can fit it in one day, but it’s more beneficial to divide the work, which can be actually quite intense). You can establish your preferred structure, but usually, it starts with the general concepts to later proceed to details. You pass through the definition of the strong and weak sides of your solution, opportunities, and dangers, to later define your competition and your target groups. Then, you proceed to the user needs, which find reflection in project requirements.

If planned in a thoughtful manner, a discovery workshop can be a goldmine of valuable insights and can help you avoid costly mistakes that often sabotage the product’s further growth.

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Work With a Focus Group

Focus group is a handy tool to access the user's opinions directly and verify whether your product development is heading in the right direction. It’s simple – you should gather a few people that represent your different target groups and interview them, asking questions regarding your product – how they see it, in case it already exists, or how they would like it to be, if it hasn’t yet hit the market.

Alternatively, you can research user’s needs in a form of a survey. If you have an existing solution, use the opportunity to gather feedback with short surveys within the app – this way, even if you haven’t understood the user’s needs well at the beginning, their hints can bring you back on the right track!

Define Relevant KPIs

KPIs are a great tool to measure the success of your product, but they are often used by companies in an incorrect way. That means, they tend to pick the general KPIs, like retention, that do not tell them much about the overall performance of their product. Try to pick more detailed ones in various fields, from engagement to project efficiency, like Total Pipeline Value, Net Profit Margin, or Sprint Burnout.