Be ready to get slapped before you talk to customers

You should talk to your customers. This is something that any design or business professional will tell you today. And you should follow that advice. But there are a few things you should know before doing so.

If you talk to people you must be ready that they tell you what you don’t want to hear. That they tell you that the best idea you thought you had in the last ten years is just dumb.

Talking to customers isn’t a beautiful love story. It’s more a hate and love relationship.

Sometimes you get kissed. Other times you get kicked and sometimes both things happen with the same person.

I have met plenty of entrepreneurs, project managers who say they want to be innovative. They want to be more user centric. The first thing I ask them now is: are you ready to be kicked? Are you ready to do something you hate? Often the feedback we receive from customers goes in the opposite direction. It doesn’t correspond to what we find cool or innovative. And if we ask people about their opinion and even more if we listen to what they need we have to be ready to put this in place. And we have to be ready to do it even if we think it sucks.

Talking to customers is great, but be ready to get slapped. It will take some time before you see the value of the feedback. It will take some time before you get used to changing directions. But once you do that your service or product makes so much more sense.