Ultimately, every company exists to serve its customers.
Enabling your customers to make progress
Focussing on helping your customers become more successful at using your product is crucial if you want to build products that customers will buy and use. This is because your customers define the value of your product to them by measuring the progress they are able to make with it. If they do not make progress, then they are likely to stop using your product and switch to the next solution. And the next solution doesn’t have to be a competitor in your product category (which is what most businesses are concerned about), it can also be an existing habit or solution they might revert to (e.g. Excel spreadsheets).
Consider this example: I recently overheard a conversation between two employees who were discussing how one of their customers was struggling with using their bookkeeping software product. The customer hated using the product and it was “one of the worst pieces of software” they had ever used. One of the employees went on to explain that their product was 10x better than the well-known market leader and that the customer just did not understand how to use the product correctly.
What the employee did not know was that the struggling customer did not care about what solution to use – most likely, as an employee, they were simply told to use the product. The customer wanted to get a specific job done (their bookkeeping) so that their life would become better (e.g. they hope to get their Manager off their back because the books still haven’t been done this month) and they can move on to the next job in their work day (e.g. keep the product inventory up-to-date, so that they don’t miss out on a sale).
Conducting research that is based on Jobs to be Done theory (JTBD) helps you uncover the jobs your customers are hoping to get done with your product (e.g. their bookkeeping) and how they envision their lives to be better once that job is done (not having to hear their Manager complain). These insights will set your team up for becoming better at supporting your customers, e.g. by helping them to become more successful at using your product, rather than dismissing their intelligence. And your customers will become happy customers because they have made progress. In return, they are likely to use your product again rather than switching to the next solution.