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Thoughts from KMC

Building Software Products: Approach of being truly user centric

Liandra Bassiane

October 2016

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Are we throwing software products to our customers and coming out slightly disappointed with: the number of visits our customers made on our websites, the number of downloads, number of purchases and that unpleasant feedback received on the “great” software product idea we thought our customers would readily adopt.

It is about putting your customers first, which in turn makes our customer happy as they will use our technology. Happy customers, makes happy clients and this translates to an increase in adoption and retention which leads invariably to an increase in revenue.

So what does putting your customer first really mean?

It starts at the very beginning, before we even decide on which programming language to use to build the new product.

At Khabane Majestic Consulting:

We are not just technology partners. We believe in understanding our clients’ business by catering to questions such as:

  • What business need is our clients trying to solve?
  • How will this business need or idea translate to the growth and success of the organisation?
  • What costs are involved in building this product?
  • Is this idea a differentiator or are the client's competitors already building this?
  • Are we trying to get ahead of the game?

We would use innovative and startup techniques such as the elevator pitch or the business model canvas. Understanding the business context landscape is crucial, as it allows the team to build the right product in the right way.

Alright, now that we have a rough idea about what the client business is trying to achieve.

What input do we need from our customers

We need to engage our customers to find out what they think about the client and the current service delivery. We would ask this question because we want to use the customer feedback to help change the entire system versus feedback for a specific product. We should think game change for the organisation and not the department's success. At Khabane Majestic Consulting we use techniques such as User testings, AB testing and customer interviews. It’s great to see in our local market that Standard Bank is also on this path.

Understanding our client's business

We would dive deeper into getting insights on the business idea. We find out upfront if the customer would adopt the idea we are suggesting. If the customer does not provide us with good feedback, we would probe more and ask them what is missing? Why wouldn't you adopt this product? What would really add value to the customer? What experience do you imagine it would be like?

So we take these ideas, incorporate them into our product but we don't just end there. We all know our customer’s might change their mind or might have been polite in the initial engagement. So we validate our prototypes with them and we use analytics to drive which new features we want built on the product.

Yes, most organisations would say: "We do market research and user testing" but the real question is who is involved in these activities? Most of the time it's external parties who will not be part of the development team. The way in which we do things is in an incremental fashion and ensuring that we are taking our customer on the journey way be fore they download the app on their phone. We propose having a subset of the team working with agencies. It is important that the development team has in depth understanding of who the customers are and what they need. We test the prototypes with the customers and get rapid feedback vs having a middle man and only getting feedback of research done 6 months ago even worse in some cases.Let's think customers, let's empower the development teams by giving them access to customers so we meet business objectives, become game changers and create products that will be readily adopted today.

Liandra Bassiane