Customer Discovery

From Talking to Humans PDF

Talking to Humans

Download this free, seriously important, essential guide so you can best prepare for talking to customers. Go to the "School download" option for a free PDF version. 

Read this great resource, keep it for the future.

Understand through your customer's eyes. 

Think of customer discovery as a listening session to ensure you understand as much as possible about the problem or issue you are trying to solve. 

It is essential when talking to potential customers (or users) to not provide info about what you think the problem is or what you think the solution is; our goal is to simply learn from the customer/user, to find out everything they think about the pain (or problem/issue or need) you want to solve. 

This is your chance to get real, unbiased feedback. Talking to customers is part of how you validate that there is even a problem that is in need of solving. 

Customer Discovery - is primary research. This means you do the research directly. Primary research includes a variety of methods, such as talking directly to your customer in a conversation, giving out a survey, hosting a focus groups, and conducting interviews.

"Simply put, customer discovery is the process of learning what customers want rather than trying to find customers to buy what you already have." - Wayne Barz  

No matter if you are a tech company or a main street, community-based business... you will need to make sure you know what your customer wants or needs or understand their problem or issue. This is because ultimatley, you want to make sure you solve that problem/issue or meet that need in the right way. This is what Product / Market Fit is all about.  

Prepare for customer discovery

Things to do

What to ask? 

“Is access to healthy food a problem on campus” 


“Don’t you agree that access to healthy food is hard on campus.” 

Focus Groups

Prepare your questions beforehand, don't wing it and check questions for bias. 

You probably start with some assumptions about the problem/issue/need. What are you trying to prove based on your assumptions? What do you need to find out?

Ask questions about: 


Prepare your questions beforehand, check for bias. 

You probably start with some assumptions about the problem/issue/need. What are you trying to prove based on your assumptions? What do you need to find out?

Goal is to make it easy for them to take the survey. 

Bad Example

Fill in the blank, what do you eat for breakfast? 


Good Example

What kinds of things do you eat in the morning?  
Please select all that apply:

Good Example

Below is an example of a beauty salon. She used Survey Monkey and then posted this survey on local Facebook groups with a majority of women of color. She posted there because that was her most likely customer. She received over 450 results. What is nice is that Survey Monkey also automatically creates charts of results. 

Chart example show the results. This info told her valuable information about her customers and how often they use services at a salon, this will inform market opportunity. This data will help her forecast future sales. 

How to build a survey

Use Google Forms to help build a survey. Learn how to use it here! 

When you are done, if you think your target market are students, send it to Professor Hargis and she will share. 

After customer discovery

Now what? What do you do with the info?