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How did we make people fall in love with our product?

How does one fall in love? It doesn’t happen overnight. It starts with a few interactions which extend to understanding your partner. And over time, you start appreciating the shortcomings of that person too. Why? Because you are in love with that person.

I was thinking about this the other day.

Is it even fair for us to expect customers to start loving the product from day 1? When psychologically biologically you don’t do that in life.

My team and I had worked hard to get a product to the finish line. We were remarkably excited on the launch day. And our expectations were that the customers will fall in love with this product.

The end result - No one gave a shit about the product.

We were so disheartened. I pushed through and thought to go deep into the WHY.

We all sat on the drawing board and started answering a few basic questions by using an empathy map.

For eg, for a product-task management tool, it will look something like this:

Quoted from an article, "customers don’t want to be amazing at our tool. They want to be amazing at the context. It’s not the customer say that I’m amazing at this camera. It’s that they say I am an amazing photographer"

When we created the empathy map, I realized, all we did while creating the product was how effectively we can make our customers use this product. We never thought about how they felt after using the product? Did it satisfy the needs that they had? Did they feel good after using it? Did it have any recall after using it for the first time? Did the experience stay with the user?

Steven Reiss’s 16 common needs

Looking at Steven Reiss’s 16 common needs of human beings, and from the brainstorming session of empathy map, we tried to list the reasons as to why a customer would be interested in adopting any new tool. For eg, a product-task management tool should address the following needs:

  1. Independence: The product needs to nurture the feeling of independence and freedom of work.

  2. Social Contact: It needs to have the fun element to be able to remove the monotony that comes with a task management tool.

  3. Tranquility: Customers should feel safe and relaxed while using the product. Anxiety at work might push them away from the tool that brings it.

With the amount of data that we have, we tend to forget that we are selling the product to humans and not robots. Which means, humans still make emotionally charged decisions, they still do impulse buying, they still want to feel significant. And once we make that emotional decision, we try to associate a logic to it.

I remember buying super expensive shoes. When people kept saying I could have bought the same for a cheaper price, I kept on justifying why the cost is justified.

Summing it up, we followed the framework below:

  1. What does your customer do vs what they feel? The approach is simple, Ask them.

  2. What are the intrinsic motivations that your product embarks on the customers? Again, simply ask them and list it down.

  3. What reason can you give your customer to justify the purchase? How do people explain why they use your product?

The secret sauce is if you put all of this together - a clear perspective of what they feel, the motivations that drive those feelings, and the justification to use, you can gradually evolve into a product that people love. That's what happened to us.

Just like when you meet your partner, you first try to understand what they mean when they say something, what are the emotions that trigger them to say, and what’s the justification s/he gives to make you understand. When you start to understand this, eventually you fall in love :)


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