It’s easy to assume that the only thing that matters when you talk with your customers, is what they need from your service or product and how happy they are with it.

For example, if you’re building an app for a customer, you need to know what they need the app to do, and after you finish the project you might send them a customer feedback survey.

But if this is all you know about your customers, you are missing opportunities.  You are missing the opportunity to give them something they truly love, not just something that meets their immediate needs. You are missing the opportunity to be seen as someone who creates unique value for them, not just someone who provides a commodity competently. You are missing the opportunity to transform the way you both work.

Just as important as knowing what your customers think they need from you, is finding out more about who they are, what they do, and why they do it. 

Spend some time learning what they’re trying to achieve, why it’s important to them, what makes them do a celebratory fist pump, what irritating things get in the way, what makes their gut hurt and keeps them from sleeping, what magic solution they wish they had to their problems.

Find out about these things even if they don’t seem relevant to the project at hand. This context could just help you transform the initial idea into something with a much greater impact. 

Imagine how satisfying it would be to make a real difference.