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Your customer is lazy, vain and selfish. (Not your customer? Think again.)

A goat is tangled up in a rope

“In the first 30 seconds, of every service, product or service experience, every customer is lazy, vain and selfish.” Scott Belsky – Chief Product Officer at Adobe

1 ) In a hurry? Go to Paragraph N8

2 ) We all like to think (especially creative people), that people will see the value of what we are building. Worst: we have faith that users will unearth the hidden gems of our work. Often times whatever these values are, they are probably buried deep down at the core of our business, service or product. No chance for the customer to find them quickly.

3 ) We put in the hours, the resources, the brain space to refine something but we totally forget that the other person (our client) is not on our team. She’s not committed to our product. He’s not staring at the ceiling at night trying to figure out a way to improve a feature of our service.

4 ) Our customer doesn’t care about our product (or us). Our customer is in a rush to work and need a coffee without stopping at Starbucks. Our customer wants a dry clean for his shirts that delivers at his office with a fancy pack so he can look cool to his colleagues. Our customer doesn’t want to read anything and wants her service for straight away.

5 ) Unfortunately we (creative directors, designers, product managers, CEOs…) constantly forget that nobody has the granular view that we have on our product.

6 ) Only us can appreciate each detail of it because it cost us countless hours of work and endless meetings.

7 ) But guess what: nobody cares.

8 ) The customer has 1 goal in mind when landing on our page (and we should know what that precise goal is). Our mantra, our Holy Grail, is to make her reach that goal immediately. No words. No videos. No signup process. No list of benefits, no discount of the day, no pop-ups. Only: “Here you go Ma’am, here’s your [blank] on a silver platter”. Then, and only then, we can think about something else.

Too simple? Too ‘common sense’? And yet everybody, from small start-ups to big businesses, keeps losing sight of this simple method.

I’m always amazed when I see myself, my clients and other companies forgetting this overlooked fact. Creative people (me included) get bogged down in details and visual delicacies that, at first, nobody cares about. Product managers get stuck on tasks and reports that ultimately, nobody wants to read through.

Everyone has blind spots and personal agendas but who is on the side of the customer? Who in your team is really customer-oriented?

The go-to answer? Everybody. Or at least the designers. But when was the last time that someone in your team designed, implemented and tested a 30 seconds solution for your client base?

Mistake N.1

Not helping your core audience (your 80%, your fanbase, your customer, call it whatever you want) reach their goal in 30 seconds.

Mistake N.2

Testing EVERYTHING. You know how that looks like: Designers and developers spending countless hours (By the way, how much do they cost you per hour? Could you reallocate those resources in order to get real, tangible results? Not test results, conversions.) testing, refining, reworking the same button, the same page, the same copy, the same visual, the same process. That is secretly called the “UX-BS process”: Test it, refine it, don’t launch it. Cash in your cheque.

Solution N.1

Step 1: ask your customer (or figure out) what they need to do in their first 30 seconds (watch out, they might lie or not know it clearly). Step 2: implement a solution in a week and launch it. Step 3: Collect feedback and real numbers. Step 4: Refine only the wrong stuff. Step 5: Move onto your client next goal and repeat.

Solution N.2

Step 1: Figure out your client N1 goal. Step 2: Create a basic website with only 1 big action possible right in the middle of the page. Step 3: Do the work for your clients manually (without telling them). Step 4: Give them the solution and collect feedback. Step 5. Once you know what works, move to SOLUTION 1.

We all focus so much on tasks (after all, performance reviews are based on whether tasks were delivered or not), but we too easily forget that our only task each day is to give the customer what he wants in just 30 seconds.

It’s that simple. No need for buzzwords, meetings, books, analytics, infinite slack channels and testing.

As a reality check we can ask ourselves one question:

Is your customer getting what she wants right now?

If the answer is ‘Yes’: ‘How can you improve this?’ AND ‘What’s her next goal?’

If the answer is ‘No’: Drop everything else and deliver whatever crafty demo-product you have to deliver so that your customer can get what she wants: NOW. Not in a day, not in a sprint, not in a quarter. By the end of the week.

Now, can you do it? If the answer is ‘No’ it’s either because the client’s goal is not clear enough, or because your team/process/structure won’t let you. And at the end of the day, these might be your real problems to solve.

Do not be afraid of simplifying and cut to the bone. Huge constrains can make a team deliver faster and better solutions on the only task on which they should be reviewed on: Client happiness.

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