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Shifting Thinking

Understanding Customers to Create Value - Part 5

Dale Koerner
Published by: Dale Koerner

Gaining Understanding: Pulling it all together

When seeking to understand our customers it is easy to fall prey to the illusion that we already know everything about them and have all of the answers. Luckily, Jobs to Be Done is a helpful tool to keep us on the right path and guide us to that all-important ‘why’ that underlies their behaviour.


Questions to ask: Self-Check Questionnaire

When researching Jobs to Be Done – the jobs that our customers are trying to do and the outcomes that they are trying to achieve – there are some helpful questions that we can ask ourselves to help us self-check our approach and stay on track.


  1. Am I looking at the jobs my customers are trying to do from their perspective, or am I working backwards and trying to find jobs that will fit my product or service?


  2. Have I pushed aside, or at least recognised, any biases that might affect my approach to investigating my customers’ jobs to be done or that could colour my interpretation of the results?


  3. Is the data that I am using to make decisions tied to my customers’ jobs to be done? Do I have a good understanding of the restrictions and limitations of this data? Am I looking forward?


  4. Am I looking at my customers’ jobs in context? Am I looking at the big picture and relevant circumstances and not viewing everything through the lens of my own products and features?


  5. Do I have a good grasp on who/what my product or service is competing against? When looking at my customers’ jobs to be done, am I including ‘nothing’ or ‘none’ in my analysis of the solutions that customers could ‘hire’? Am I looking at what has to get ‘fired’ for my customers to ‘hire’ my offering instead?


  6. Have I investigated what trade-offs my customers are willing to make to complete their job? Do I know how important the job is to them? If there are multiple jobs they are trying to do, do I know which ones are a priority? Do I know which jobs are ‘North Star’ jobsKey jobs that are important yet unsatisfied in the eyes of the customer which can act as a North Star to guide your decisions.?


  7. Have I properly defined the job? Do I understand the job’s social, emotional, and functional dimensions? What experiences will help my customers make the progress they’re seeking in a given situation? What are their motivational drivers?


  8. Can I identify what my customers will gain or achieve by hiring my solution? How will it help their life, take away pain, or bring them some sort of positive outcome?


  9. Do I have enough context and information to fully understand my customers’ pains and gains? What are their hurdles? What are the obstacles that must be removed? Can I help overcome or eliminate them?


By taking the time to reflect and answer these questions objectively and honestly, we put ourselves in a good position to uncover the insights that we need to properly assess our customers’ jobs to be done. We can then use this newfound knowledge to properly position and shift our business.


Moving Forward

By diving deep and understanding the underlying drivers behind our customers’ jobs to be done, we empower ourselves to help them solve their problems, make progress, and overcome the anxiety and inertia that can block the path to embracing a new solution.

By putting ourselves in our customers’ shoes and taking a customer-centric approach we can analyse everything within the context of their circumstances, perceptions, values, pains, and gains. We can gain valuable insights into who our ideal customers are… and the trade-offs that they are willing to make in order to progress.


Chase the ‘why’…
By understanding what motivates their behaviour we can connect with our ideal customers and define our niche – the jobs that we do better than anyone or anything else – and experience the transformational power that comes from a solid understanding of our customers and their jobs to be done.

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