When you are discussing with the customer in the early phase, it is easier to discuss what the customer actually needs, not what they want. When the customer has clearly already defined in their mind what they want, it is more difficult to engage in a dialogue.
- When you are early in discussing needs/wants and helping customer to clarify their thinking, you are being proactive
- Initial need discussions with the customer often happen by the incident, during daily work, having the ability to recognize the signal and engage in conversation requires paying attention and courage to ask
- Customer does not expect you to be expert in all areas, it is fine to say so, and then ask a few clarifying questions
Here are some example questions helping to validate needs:
- How do you know this is a problem?
- Can you give me an example of the problem?
- What happens when the issue exists?
- When you say “x” happens, how often and big of an issue is it?
- What facts do you have relating to the issue/problem?
- What happens if we solve the problem?
- How would you know you have succeeded?
- If you don’t solve this, what happens?
- On scale 1-10, how big of an issue is this?