Profound customer insight lays a strong foundation for service development. If you fail to sufficiently investigate your customers, your service development will be based on beliefs about your customers instead of actual knowledge and customer insight. In this blog post, I will present three key digital service development stages, which emphasize the importance of customer research.

1. Generating ideas and developing new services


When developing a new digital service, you should closely involve customers in the process right from the get go. Customer research and co-development with customers ensure that an idea you think is great will also be appreciated by customers.  Customer research allows you to determine issues such as whether customers actually need the service you are designing, and whether it solves some problem in the customers’ lives. It will also help you discover which direction you should take your promising service idea to.

As you gain more customer insight, you might also find out something unexpected about your customers’ needs and wishes. In-depth interviews and observations may reveal that your customers’ problems are something completely different from what you have initially thought. Finding out something new at this point is a lot more cost-effective than learning it when your service is nearly ready for deployment or has already been introduced to the market.

2. Improving an existing service


You should also keep your customers and their needs in mind for services that are already available. While organizations always have some information about their customers, this may not be as extensive as they would like to imagine. For instance, we often forget that a digital service will have new users with no prior knowledge of the services who may not understand the used terminology or service logic. You may also have made an incorrect guess about where your service is used: maybe your customers actually use the service on mobile devices when commuting to work instead of on their laptops at home.

In fact, you might only learn about the actual problem areas in your service when chatting with your customers or observing them while they are using the service. Indeed, customer research provides an effective and effortless means to find out at which stages your customers face stumbling blocks, which service features they consider good, and how they would like your service to be improved.

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3. Charting new needs


Customers may encounter new needs or have ideas related to your service that service developers never even thought about. The world and the customers’ operating environment are rapidly changing, and customer insight helps you anticipate your customers’ new or future needs. This makes customer research an apt method for examining how to further develop your service and what sorts of additional features it should include.

Would you like to improve your customer insight? The Eficode UX team is specialized in customer-driven service development. Our UX Studio’s usability laboratories and customer research facilities enable high-quality research and service design.