We all have repeatedly understood that meeting customer’s needs is the prime objective for your product to exist. Customers have varying needs, challenges, and pain points to cater to which you build and sell your products. But when you drill down those needs to the specific jobs to be done, you get a clearer picture.
Products and customers are mere means towards the specific jobs that you need to address. Customers are executors while the product is the tool that enables them to achieve the results. Companies have an overall vision of selling their products to customers. But when that vision is drilled down to smaller jobs, you get the real picture of how to realize the vision.
What is Jobs to be done?
JTBD is a concept developed by Clayton Christensen of Harvard Business School that turned out to be a widely useful framework to understand customer behavior. JTBD is defined as the framework to understand customer needs through the specific jobs they are trying to accomplish.
Understanding this helps companies to develop products and solutions that can target the core needs of a customer. Through this understanding, they are not only able to design great and resourceful products but it also helps them in product placement.
While marketing their products, companies often highlight their product features and research on customer demographics. While this practice is partially useful, it fails to connect with the customer’s mindset. Customers often already have the job to be done for which they want to hire the product or service. Companies can make the most out of their marketing when they know those jobs that customers want.
Why use Jobs to be done?
Understanding JTBD meaning allows you to gain new market insights, create better products, and growth strategies for your business. Some of the benefits involved are as follows:
Sometimes when the JTBD is commonly understood, there are various solution providers in the market. But when this is rare, when you understand the customer’s JTBD but there is hardly any available solution in the market, then this is a golden opportunity. Innovating this new feature or a new product to cater to that JTBD will give you a great competitive advantage.
When you understand the JTBD, it helps build bridges between the company and its customers. Knowing the specific customer jobs helps you develop a deeper understanding of customer’s challenges and goals. This also helps develop customer empathy and brings the entire organization closer to the customers. Understanding customer needs clearly is the only secret behind successful companies.
Most companies tend to get confined in their own collective perspectives of their founders and employees. This brings stagnation in the innovations. But when companies try to think of solutions after considering the customer’s jobs to be done, their perspectives get broader. There is no dearth of customers in the world. With them comes a large number of ideas and opportunities to innovate. Companies have to just know how to tap the right ideas.
How Jobs to be done help in Customer Success?
Customer success is mostly about being customer-centric. The closer you are to your customers the better you would do in retaining them. Let’s look at a few ways it can help in customer success.
Being proactively engaged with the customers is the key to customer retention. While engaging, you have to have a deeper understanding of your customer needs. Presenting your product features is important. But until you correlate them to the specific jobs that customers want to be done, your customer engagement is loose. A CSM has to constantly demonstrate the value their product is providing to the customer. And they need to do so in the customer’s context so that they can relate it to their case easily.
Finding right-fit customers
Right-fit customers are the backbone of a strong customer base. When the gap between marketers and customers is reduced, you find the right customers. Customer success enables just that. With a deep understanding of jobs to be done framework for the customers, a CS leader can collaborate with the marketing team to attract the right customers. These are the customers who tend to stay long with your business.
Through the experience of the customer success team with existing customers, they are more qualified to understand the evolving needs of the customers. Hence, if marketers use this knowledge, they can build better and relevant campaigns for apt customers.
Product Management Strategies
When customer insights are considered in product management strategies, the product gets better along with the business. A CS leader can collaborate with product managers or owners to share customer feedback. Which features of the product are more capable to get their jobs done? And which features are turning out to be vain? And finally, the most important, which jobs of the customer are still unfulfilled by the product?
Taking this feedback into consideration, the product owners can innovate or update the product features. Building the products according to customer needs is of prime importance. Knowing customer needs also helps them align their product roadmap accordingly.
Building loyal customers
There is a famous saying in the SaaS industry – “there is no such thing as post-sales”. This means that subscription-based businesses depend on recurring revenues. Post-sales, the customer success team takes over to ensure that the next renewal gets executed. All the steps a CSM takes towards that end are considered to be a sales pitch, although not explicitly.
An engaged relationship between customer and CSMs over the long-term eventually helps in building loyal customers. There’s no magic involved here. By knowing the jobs to be done on a daily basis and getting them done helps build this relationship. Customer loyalty is the result of consistent efforts executed correctly with the utmost diligence of customer success.
To leverage the jobs to be done framework, you need to be always vigilant of customer’s needs and pain points. Innovation is the final benefit of jobs to be done. Most of the companies refrain from bringing innovations to their products because of the fear of failure. JTBD framework helps mitigate that risk and gives a clear protocol for companies to follow. 18
Customer segmentation when done based on JTBD can turn out to be a very useful business strategy. There is no one-size-fits-all solution for customers. Every customer has different challenges pertaining to their industries. That means every customer segment your product is serving has a different feature to include. This is the way towards bringing more specific products with the tried and tested feedback that JTBD provides.
Rakhin has over 10 years of experience driving business development and client services. In his prior roles, he stayed close to customers to understand their requirements and help them achieve their business goals. He is passionate about customer success.
Published October 21, 2020, Updated March 02, 2023