What Is Continuous Discovery, And How Do You Implement It?

Continuous discovery

Imagine you’re in the market for a new house. You find one in a desirable neighborhood, but the school district isn’t the best. The master bedroom is aces, but you don’t care for the kitchen. You wish there was a half bath downstairs, but the hot tub out back makes up for it.

Now, imagine designing that house from scratch. You can pick the neighborhood and the school district. Want an island in the kitchen? No problem. A downstairs guest bathroom? Sure thing.

All other things being equal, the custom home is a more attractive prospect. The existing home was good enough, but the one built just for you is perfect, because you had input every step of the way.

That’s the main concept behind continuous discovery. Instead of presenting your customers with a final product and essentially telling them to take it or leave it, you’re giving them input in the whole process.

So what is continuous discovery and how can your small business implement it? Here’s what you need to know.

Continuous Discovery: A Window to Your Customer’s World

Your small business exists to provide products and/or services to your customers. But how do you know what to create next, or how to evolve your existing offerings to best fit their needs?

Continuous discovery is the practice of actively soliciting customer input early and often. It’s not just asking them how you did; it’s asking them how you can do better next time. You’re not just asking them how satisfied they were with this product or that service; you’re asking them what changes you can make to ensure they’re even more satisfied in the future.

When you make a commitment to include your customers at every step of the process, you’ll end up with a better final product every time!

The Benefits of Continuous Discovery

Continuous discovery can benefit your small business in several ways:

  • It creates trust. When your customers see that their suggestions are being heard and considered, it shows them that you really do have their best interests in mind. That gives you an edge over the competition.
  • It provides clarity. If you’re concentrated on finding the perfect bun for your bacon cheeseburger but your customers are begging for you to add chicken strips to the menu, there’s clearly a disconnect between you and your patrons. Continuous discovery shows you where your focus should be.
  • It gives your customers ownership. Everyone wants to be a part of something. When you involve your customers in your business decisions, they feel more connected to your brand and are more likely to remain loyal.

Quick Tips for Implementing Continuous Discovery

Ready to implement continuous discovery in your small business? Here are a few quick tips.

Create Focus Groups

If you have a handful of established, long-term customers, consider inviting them to attend a focus group. Focus groups allow you to solicit customer input on a specific topic such as a new product or service.

Ask Directly

Putting people on the spot is a good way to get an honest reaction. “Since you’re here, what do you think about X?”

Customer Interviews

Invite select customers in for a one-on-one interview and give them an opportunity to share their thoughts. When people feel their opinions are valued, they’re more apt to open up.

Open Up Your Inbox

Send out an email to your customer list with a different open-ended question each week. You can incentivize them to share by offering a discount or entering their name into a drawing for a prize.

Continuous Discovery = Continuous Growth

Your customers decide whether your small business succeeds or fails, so learning as much as you can about their wants and needs is crucial. Continuous discovery is the best way to make that happen!

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