Alongside determining the work that your customer needs to do, it is equally as important to understand where your customer may have pains in the work that they do, or gains that your product or service can make.  Pains can be defined as things that keep your customer up at night or things that may be a distraction to them.  One of my favourite examples is Amazon’s ability to scan a product to do a price comparison.  It immediately took the worry that I was paying too much for a product away and allowed me to see whether the price at the store was reasonable, and I’ve certainly made more purchases with Amazon that way!

Another question that you’ll want to get more knowledge around is what gains your target customers want to achieve.  This is not necessarily the opposite of the pains that a customer faces.  Rather a gain might be something they wish they could do or get to, or they may not even realize they want it.  One example of this is Uber’s ability to see who your car driver is. While I never wished that I could see who my cab driver is before, when that feature arrived on Uber’s service it was a great feeling to know that when the car pulled up I already had a connection with my driver.  I didn’t even realize that I wanted it, but now it is one factor in keeping me attached to the Uber service.

Addressing pains and gains may be your product or service’s reason for being, or it may be that your product/service adds features as differentiators vs. other offerings.  It has the potential to make the difference between being an also-ran and being a market leader.

Written by Andreas Zapletal  on behalf of  Open People Network

This article is part of a 4 part series, check out Creating your Value Proposition, How to Gather Information About Your Customers and Identifying What Your Customer Needs to Do.