Customer Jobs, Pains & Gains: Definition & Analysis

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  • 0:03 Learning from the Customer
  • 1:03 The Job to be Done
  • 1:43 Pains and Gains
  • 4:20 Failing to Identify…
  • 5:20 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Scott Tuning

Scott has been a faculty member in higher education for over 10 years. He holds an MBA in Management, an MA in counseling, and an M.Div. in Academic Biblical Studies.

In order to benefit from a product, customers must pass accurate and timely information to the companies who wish to provide solutions. This lesson explores the good and bad consequences of failing to assign jobs to customers.

Learning from the Customer

50 years ago, people diagnosed with Type I diabetes lived the remainder of their days injecting insulin up to four times daily. Many developed serious health problems because their compliance over time decreased. The longer they were non-compliant, the worse their health became.

For diabetics, being noncompliant in their 20s and 30s created problems in their 60s and 70s. In other words, years after they started playing by the rules, their neglectful behavior came back to haunt them in the form of kidney failure, wounds that would not heal, high blood pressure, and a host of other problems.

That all changed when the pharmaceutical industry and the bio-med industry teamed up to create the first insulin pump. The pharmaceutical company's job was to formulate an insulin that would work with a pump. The job of the biomedical company was to develop an easy-to-use pump that would eliminate the need for patients to be so attentive. The customer had a job as well, and in this case, it was certainly the most important one.

The Job to be Done

''In the factory, we make cosmetics. In the drugstore, we sell hope.'' This phrase is attributed to Charles Revson, founder of Revlon Cosmetics. Revson made this statement as a means of emphasizing the difference between manufacturing and selling. A customer job to be done (JTBD) is the end-to-end process a consumer goes through when they want a good or service. The customer JTBD starts when they want something that will improve their life, and it ends when they obtain or give up on obtaining the object of their desire. Revson knew that success meant not just making a cosmetic but rather selling beauty, good looks, and self-esteem.

Pains and Gains

Customer pains are all the things a customer hates about the job to be done. They are the things that make a customer let out a silent groan at the thought of having to travel a certain part of the journey in order to end up where they want to be (think commercial airlines, jury duty, or going to the post office).

Customer gains are the inverse of pains. Gains are things that make customers excited to use the product or service. Gains are the things that make a customer happy, satisfied, or positive about the process (think short wait times, no lines, lots of cashiers at checkout, etc.).

Returning to the example of the insulin pump, the best product will be the one that a customer will use, and determining what that looks like means engaging and collaborating with them on solving the problem. In a scenario like this, the customer is the exclusive provider of vital information.

To develop a great product, manufacturers must understand the customer pains (such as inconvenience, time spent, etc.) and the gains (such as better blood sugar control, less interruption during activities of daily life). Consequently, the customer must provide the manufacturers with technical information about how their habits affect their health. They must also provide the manufacture with behaviors and thoughts that are current barriers to compliance.

Customer Pains: Why it Doesn't Work

When the pharmaceutical company and the bio-med company engage customers with an open mind, they are looking specifically for the customers to tell them why they become non-compliant. Neither manufacturing company will be successful if they simply guess at the cause. Consequently, from the very first step in this process, both companies should use high-quality focus groups that allow customers to educate them about thoughts, behaviors, and outcomes.

Customer Gains: Why it Will Work

Both the bio-med and pharmaceutical companies should consider that their future customers know that non-compliance may result in terrible health problems down the road. Even with that knowledge, patients continue to be non-compliant. For the pharmaceutical and bio-med companies, this is a critical finding.

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