“You need to go out and talk to people”

    Business Spotlight 6/2019
    vier junge Menschen mit Icons: Rakete, Denkblase und Gehirn
    © Rawpixel/iStock.com

    Interview: Tenley van den Berg

    How have you to go about sth.etw. angehengone about finding out what your customers want or need?
    I think what surprised me is in how structured a manner you can go about it. Steve Blank’s book The Startup Owner’s Manual offers a framework that takes you through the process step by step, and it’s always got a feedback loopSchleifeloop. As long as you take feedback to take sth. on boardhier: etw. einbeziehenon board, what you build is a little bit better every time. One of the biggest mistakes is to think that you know what customers want. So, Blank says you need to do two things. First of all, find a real problem: Are you actually solving a problem that matters to enough people to make a differenceetw. bewirkenmake a difference? Once you understand the problem, you need to ask: What is a solution that actually solves that problem effectively? It sounds simple, but any business to come down to sth.auf etw. hinauslaufencomes down to this, and too often, entrepreneurUnternehmer(in)entrepreneurs to assume sth.etw. annehmenassume they know the answer to both questions. The first part is to understand that everything you put down is a hypothesis — and then you need to go out and talk to people.


    Pieter Venter is a co-founderMitgründer(in)co-founder of Ctrl, South Africa’s first independent car and household insuranceWohngebäude- und Hausratversicherunghousehold insurance advice app.

    Pieter Venter


    How do you find the right people to talk to?
    We started with people we knew, but every time we interviewed someone, we asked them if they knew someone else who fit these criteria, until we had put together a list of about 50 people we thought made up a representative sampleProbe; hier: Auswahlsample. Then we started having interviews with them. We started off with our own hypotheses, and then we tried to to validate sth.etw. bestätigenvalidate or to refute sth.etw. widerlegenrefute them.

    Can you give an example?
    One of the hypotheses we had was that claimhier: Versicherungsfallclaims are a real problem. But when we spoke to people, they said, “Yeah, it’s a bad process, but what really makes me angry is when I make a claim and an insurerVersicherungsgesellschaftinsurer turns around and says, ‘No, you’re not covered for that event.’ Because it means I paid for a year or two without being fully covered.” The real problem, therefore, was advice: The customer didn’t really know what they had bought. So our hypothesis was wrong. Claims aren’t the issueProblem, Themaissue; advice is the issue.

    How have you used customer feedback to develop your product?
    We worked toward creating an MVP, a minimum viablemachbar; hier: marktfähigviable product — the smallest version possible of the complete product — so we could quickly get it out to more people to get more feedback. In this test phase, we opened up the app to the public, and we continue to get feedback. We are beginning to understand how people use the app. For example, we see quoteAngebotquotes coming at eight to nine o’clock at night, so the people are using the app after hoursnach Geschäftsschlussafter hours, not when people normally see a brokerMakler(in)broker.
    Now, we are in this classic sales funnelVerkaufstrichtersales funnel phase. Many people have downloaded our app, yet only some of those people have accepted that first mandate screen, so there’s a bit of a drop-offAbfall, Rückgangdrop-off there. Only so many people have requested a quote, and only some of those people have converted the quote into livehier: tatsächlichlive policyPolicepolicies. We need to understand each drop — and that’s a nice problem to have because we’ve got data, and we can start working with it. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing complete strangers using our app and finding it useful.

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