Humans are irrational, but predictable. This is infuriating, confusing, and super good news!
Humans regularly don’t make rational choices. We’re emotional creatures who rationalize our choices after the fact.
This is why it is a good idea to ask customer what they do do, not just what they wish they did. Because their actual behavior is a better predictor for future behavior than their ideal version of themselves. And even better, to follow up with asking them why they do what they do and how they feel about it.
Because it’s also true that sometimes things we observe people struggling with aren’t actually problems from our customers’ perspective. They like the way they do things, even imperfectly.
This is the basic reason we need to talk to customers before, during, and throughout the process of creating solutions and products. We can assume all day long that we know exactly why a customer would need our product, but people are irrational. Sometimes, they buy one solution over another because of the color or shape of the product. Sometimes, a fractional difference in price makes a big difference. Sometimes, it’s just where the buy button is placed on the screen or which shelf the product gets placed on.
Sometimes, we think customers have a problem (because we observe them struggling), but the customers don’t experience it as a problem at all.
The good news is that while we may be irrational, we’re fairly predictable. We’ll be irrational in ways that can be observed, measured, and optimized. This is great for entrepreneurs who prioritize talking to customers early and often.