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How to identify a Pain Point with Jobs-to-be-done?

Customer Pain Points, the golden nuggets for successful innovation

Customer Pain Points are the unsolved problems that customers have when using a product. They are the golden nuggets needed to create successfull innovations. It's that simple: Innovations that don't solve a relevant customer problem will fail! Those that do solve a problem will win. Hence, the challenge in innovation is to find the relevant customer Pain Points and match the innovative solution. How?

Jobs-to-be-done (JTBD), a powerful logic to put innovators and product developers into the shoes of the customers, can help. JTBD overcomes the dilemma of thinking about Pain Points within the limitations of an existing product or service. And not from the customer view.

What is Jobs-to-be-done (JTBD)?

Jobs-to-be-done is a new way of thinking about innovation. It says: Understand the Job your customer is trying to get done first, only then think about the solutions to develop. Vendbridge has been a pioneer and thought leader in Jobs-to-be-done for many years. We applied it more than 100 times and have developed - in conjunction with dozens of client teams - an actionable process to apply JTBD: The process is called CFI or Customer Focused Innovation.

The JTBD hierarchy

The starting point of CFI is to use the Jobs-to-be-done Hierarchy tool. It allows to map out and capture in a holistic way the goals, needs and motivations of customers.

Think about an innovation in medtech, such as a testing device at the point of care. The target groups for such a device are nurses and doctors. From a Jobs-to-be-done perspective, it's not about the device itself, but about the Jobs that doctors and nurses try to achieve. A doctor for example wants "to diagnose a patient and recommend a treatment". To do that, he or she goes through a series of steps, such as "to review patient data", "to talk to the patient", "to order a test (from the nurse of from the lab)" up to the step "to explain the treatment to the patient". These are all solution-agnostic Jobs.

The JTBD Hierarchy allows to create a first hypothesis and later on to explore systematically the Jobs that stakeholders want to achieve. CFI uses proprietary interview techniques to capture a complete set of expectations which we call Need Metrics.

Need Metrics - Go beyond Jobs-to-be-done

After establishing the Job-to-be-done Hierarchy, CFI goes into qualitative in-depth exploration interviews. We want to learn in these interviews the needs and expectations that people have when trying to get a job done.

In qualitative in-depth interviews with people of the target group (in this case physicians and nurses), we explore the Job-to-be-done Hierarchy . In the example of point of care testing case, the outcome was a list of 100 - 200 Need Metrics.

Only Need Metrics make Jobs-to-be-done actionable. Need Metrics are very precise statements that follow a clear syntax and must meet certain standards, such as natural language, being solution-free or containing a precise unit and a clarifying context.

Here is an example of a Need Metric:

that it takes as few steps as possible to order tests

Quantitative validation

The beauty about Need Metrics is that customers can rate them, because they are solution-agnostic and come from the customers themselves. The validation will give confidence and comfort in decision making. In the case of point of care testing, physicians and nurses rated each a set of 90 Need Metrics in terms of importance and satisfaction. Some of those Need Metrics were the same for both target groups. Some were specific to nurses or physicians.

The Customer Value Map

The result of the quantification can be presented in form of a Value Map. Each dot on the map represents a Need Metric. The x-axis is the importance rating (from 0-10) and the y-axis their fulfilment rating (from 0-10) with existing solutions.

Those Need Metrics in the bottom right corner, i.e. highly important but not satisfied metrics, are Pain Points.

Pain points are those Need Metrics that are important to the customer but the satisfaction with the existing solutions to get the job done is low.

The Pain Points are the golden nuggets

Discovering Need Metrics usind Jobs-to-be-done during stakeholder interviews and validating them quantitatively reveals the most relevant unsolved problems - or Pain Points - of stakeholders. Beyond being quantitatively validated, they are granular and solution-agnostic, thus an ideal fact-base for matching solution ideas to needs.

Knowing the Pain Points allows innovators to know which solutions will win: Those that address Pain Points better than existing solutions.

So, stop guessing what your stakeholder's Pain Points are. Start to aim for the winning ideas by applying Jobs-to-be-done.

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