Do You Understand The Work Your Client Needs?

 The Work Your Client Needs? To get to rethink our position in the market, sometimes the best way is to break the established rules regarding what has been traditionally considered important for the client and what is not, and look a little further, identifying opportunities that others have overlooked. . For this, nothing better than understanding the real “works” that the client expects to solve with our product or service … true key to the value proposition of any business model.

  The Work Your Client NeedsThe Work Your Client Needs

All this approach is born of the truth (that once settled in our minds we all understand as “obvious “) that a customer does not buy a product or service just to use it, but “rent” it to do a “job” (from the English job to do ), that is, solve a need … not necessarily obvious. This is the thing that The  Work Your Client Needs.

This means to stop focusing on “what I do ” to strive to understand what my client needs , the “work” that covers … that is, understand the problem with a broad definition . This small change of mentality is what has achieved that some players, even in saturated markets, have managed to substantially modify their market share, and acted as a base for innovative businesses. For example, the manufacturer Black & Decker said:

“We do not sell very powerful and precise drilling machines … but well-made holes”

This subtle change of perspective allows us to understand our consumers in a deeper way, offering us the possibility of satisfying “jobs” that until now we were not aware of what they need to do. That is to say:

This change of mentality is very complex to adopt for some companies, since they define themselves very narrowly , allowing the group of services or main products to become their identity. that is, if your main service is a fleet of trucks that transports goods along the geography you define yourself as a transport company … but are you just a transport company or are you providing a logistics service ? This subtle semantic difference helps to avoid many of the barriers that we usually find in our organizations , the famous ones “is very interesting, but we are not dedicated to that here”, and helps direct us to other parts of the value chain of the market in which we operate. This is the thing that The Work Your Client Needs.

To understand the work to be done, the wonderful book “The Innovator’s Guide to Growth” proposes to approach the analysis from several perspectives:

Definition and Context: The most important thing is to identify which is the real “work” that the client wants to solve by renting our product or service. This goes to define the problem in a broad way, but without forgetting to think of a specific client. I usually work by making a profile of the client; even naming him (“José is a doctor who works in the radiology area of hospital X. He has 2 children and a woman, and he lives in …” .. Later we will see a technique for do this, the empathy map ).

So important (or more) than understanding the “work” that we need to solve is to understand the context or circumstance in which the client intends to solve it … that is, where is the client when using the product or service? what are you doing? How do you feel? What problems have you got?. This is where most of the “eureka!” Actually occur. This is the thing that The Work Your Client Needs.

Importance: Although it is obvious, we must raise the relative importance of “work” for the client, because if it is not especially important, he may not be willing to look for an alternative … or pay for it.

Frequency : If you do not have it covered but the frequency with which “work” occurs is low, you may find it acceptable to use a compensatory product or service (explained below) that, even if it does not completely resolve the “work” is sufficient for the few times I use it.

Frustration: This is undoubtedly one of the most interesting variables to study, since it qualifies the result of the previous two powerfully. The more frustrated the client is with the inability to get a solution to his work, the more likely it is that we are facing a “job” for which he would be willing to pay.

As a last recommendation, it is often interesting to understand the “compensatory behaviors”, that is, those situations in which our clients use a product in a certain way (patches) because they do not find anything that completely solves their problems in an optimal way.


In short, if we have understood the “work” that my client needs to solve, we can automatically identify several derivatives that qualify or complement said “work”:

Broad Context : When we are evaluating a business niche from the perspective of “work to be done”, it is important to understand not only the personal context of the client that will use the product or service, but the current or foreseeable socio-economic environment or context. This is the thing that Work Your Client Needs.

The other day Salvador Aragón , a professor at IE Business School , gave us this powerful reflection : “It is possible to predict with an 80% reliability an increase in sales in consumer electronics (consoles, televisions … etc.) Based on an increase in Sales of pajamas 3 months earlier. “This is a consequence of a trend that Americans call Cocooning, and that states that, when the socio-economic situation is complicated, individuals tend to “nest” in our homes as a protective environment … without a doubt something to think about.  The Work Your Client Needs

One of the best ways to understand the client in its broadest sense is to design a customer empathy map , which we will discuss in the future ( although you can know more about the subject in this wonderful presentation by Maribel Rincón )

Dimensions : Another of the factors that practically appear in cascade after evaluating the “work” that the client needs to solve is if the “dimensions” on which I measure the product or service are correct. When we talk about dimensions we refer to variables that traditionally define the positioning of a product on the market (for example, the market for game consoles are processing capability, memory, the catalog of titles available … etc.)

If a market begins to be saturated (which happens typically in many of the current businesses, where we consider that the product or service has been “commoditized” and the client wants it cheaper and less cares about their improvements), thinking like this allows us to identify new dimensions on which to “leverage”. These dimensions tend to be quite different from those considered “basic”, and they have more influence on HOW the product is used (usability or utility). This is the thing The Work Your Client Needs.

One of the best examples undoubtedly happened in the insulin market: A few years ago, insulin-dependent diabetics administered insulin in syringes that went in kits (which was laborious and uncomfortable) and increases in the quality of insulin. Insulin was not perceived as necessary by the vast majority of clients (they were not willing to pay for a small increase in quality, they already considered it correct). Within this framework, the Lily Company adopted a broader vision and understood that the work that the clients needed was to receive their “dose” of insulin with an acceptable quality but, above all, to interrupt their life as little as possible. Consequently, they focused on usability and improving the “customer experience”, and designed a ballpoint pen (the correct name is “pen”) disposable, very simple and that allowed to administer the correct dose of insulin in a few seconds, and took control of the market.

Competence: Just as we adopt a broad approach to the work that our client needs to solve, we must adopt it with respect to the fact that other products or services are competitive or alternative (nothing new on the other hand, in this sense it has been working for some time). For example, in the case of going to the cinema, if we understand that the “job” we want to do is not watch a movie, but relax and “disconnect”, while we leave home and enjoy … this offers alternatives to go out to dinner with my friends, go to the theater … etc. This is the thing that The Work Your Client Needs.

Allies: In turn, we must study this new scenario not only as an environment of new competitors, but as a place to work with new allies, or at least competitors, looking for synergies. For example, in the previous case many cinemas have chosen to ally with restaurants to make a movement “of Pinza” offering discounts to customers who go to the restaurant and buy the menu “movies”, for example.

In summary, we can obtain a new perspective of our clients if we adopt this small change of focus, which will allow us to rethink completely and in a way (predictably) more successful our portfolio of products or services. This is the thing that Work Your Client Needs.

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