Creating Customer Personae

with Julie Hamwood

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Giving your customer real flavor

Julie Hamwood

Strategist, Project Manager, User Experience Expert

Lessons Learned

Create the sense of abundance, relaxation, and play when creating your customer profiles.

Ask: What are your customers trying to achieve by solving their problems?

Pay special attention to solutions and services your customers have tried and abandoned.


Lesson: Creating Customer Personas with Julie Hamwood

Step #3 Personae: Giving your customer real flavor

How we actually work with a team to develop a customer profile. First of all let's just all about logistically what we need and I would tell you we want comfortable space with a lot of spare open walls. And possibly white boards would be in just use the big post-it notes, easel pads if you want instead. Definitely have a lot of shoppies, definitely a lot of post-it notes and definitely make sure that everybody has some big sheets of easel paper for themselves because we need to basically, we want two things happening here, we want the space to be really open for people to really be relaxed. So make sure there's some water and some snacks and so forth.

We want a sense of abundance and so that there's a lot of post-its and shoppies and if you want to use a lot of color and if you want to make mistakes and scrunch stuff up, you don't feel like you're going to hurt something. You want to feel like it's completely okay to make mistakes here.

You want three to five teams of people. And if you've got a small team, it might just be teams of one but if you've got up to say, 20 people or something like that, you can have a team of up to five people. And you want each team to have one big sheet of paper. And this is where they are going to draw out who they think the customer is. Who they are holding in their mind. And in order to do that, and this is really crucial, you can give people this instruction, they will say that they hear it, they weren't actually hear it. They will receive this instruction several times.

Think of one person that you know. Not a type of person. One person that you can put a name to. That you know something about. Maybe it's somebody that you've gotten to know through working for this organization or maybe it's somebody you know in your private life. But really get a clear sense of that person.

Then in the middle of this sheet and have it to the landscape orientation, just a draw a face and give them a name and it doesn't have to be their actual name, because it's fine to have anonymity about it. But give them a name and then radiate out in seven sections that comes out of this head in the middle. And the first thing you want to really talk about is what is the problem that you are trying to meet. What does it look like? What's the pain, what's the gain, what are the jobs, what are they trying to achieve by solving this problem. Really get clear on that.

Then put some demographics in there, there will be a second section, any demographic elements that are relevant.

The next thing that you want to look at, what's the context of solving this problem? What is the context of their overall life? What's a typical day look like. Maybe what their family structure is like. Just give me a flavor of who this person actually is in their day-to-day. So that's the third section.

Fourth section would be a looking at it functionally, how do they meet this need right now. Maybe they say to you they have a need but they don't really do anything about it. They just bear it. Grumble more than do. Maybe they have tried something, maybe they can show you some apps on their phone or maybe they can show you the hacks that they have made around their home or their workspace. And basically have a look at what are the things or solutions that they've tried and particularly solutions they they've abandoned. And why. And let's look at what the price points were as well as what were the price points in terms of time, in terms of attention, in terms of mind share, in terms of friction, not just actual money.

I have free apps on my phone, they take up screen space and they take up storage space. So even if it was free to download, it's not free for me to have that as I'm using my phone. So you want to look at that functionally. You want to look at how they've hacked anything together themselves so they are like, I so need to meet this need that I made something myself that still didn't fully scratch my itch. So we want to look at things functionally.

At that point then you can explore with them what you're thinking about in terms of solution. At that point then you really want to listen to what they are enthusiastic about, what they are concerned about, what questions they have, and you do want to talk with them about what they would expect to pay. And then the experience piece. What is it experientially? All these types of questions, again experience-wise, what do they need to experience in the moment, what do they need to experience a day later, a week later, the different time periods, a month, three months, a year. Write down all that data for a really clear picture of what you think is happening to that customer in relation to the need that you are trying to meet for them.

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