#Listening to Create #Customer and #Business Value with Teresa Torres

How can you get more value through team collaboration and understanding what your customer really needs?

Teresa Torres is an internationally acclaimed author, speaker, and coach who helps teams gain valuable insights from their customer interviews, run effective product experiments, and drive product outcomes that create value for their customers and their businesses. She teaches teams how to connect the dots between their research activities and their product decisions, inspiring confidence that they are on the right track. 

In this episode, Teresa shares her experience about how listening is filtered by what we hear based on our past experience and knowledge. If you are working on a team to listen to customer needs, it’s only natural that we have different perceptions of what happened in a customer interview. Instead of discussing who is right and who is wrong, what if everyone saw one piece of the puzzle. Instead, how can we listen to and synthesize information in a structured way to create products the customers will really use?

Teresa discusses the importance of listening in the context of business as she relates it to the work she does at Product Talk, where she helps teams uncover their customers’ underlying needs through story-based interviewing.

Teresa is the author of Continuous Discovery Habits, the product trio’s guide to a structured and sustainable approach to continuous discovery. This book shows teams how to start with a clear outcome, interview to discover opportunities, and test assumptions to quickly evaluate solutions.

“It’s that detail that uncovers needs and pain points, but it really requires the structured mindset to have that patience and to do that work to uncover the full story.”

Teresa Torres

Listen IN Notes:

00:00 – Listening as a superpower: Teresa shares the story on how she first became awarene on the power of listening, especially in the context of business

05:12 – Freeing oneself from the curse of knowledge: The inspiration behind her book, Continuous Discovery Habits

09:01 – How to create value: Teresa discusses the importance of conducting regular interviews with both the companies’ customers and executives as she explains the concept behind story-based interviewing

16:39 – Learn from Teresa: How does Teresa interview a customer? How can you know that you’re interviewing people well?

20:17 – “Participant and interviewer fatigue are real things”: How much time should one spend to get all the details and uncover pain points?

22:53 – Get more value through collaboration: The benefits of having the product trio work on an interview altogether

25:00 – Visualize your thinking: Teresa explains the concept behind her visual, the Opportunity Solution Tree

28:57 – Where the synthesis happens: Individually mapping out then sharing things within the team to find commonalities afterwards to avoid group-thinking

31:54 – Learn from Teresa: How do you get someone to keep wanting to be interviewed?

35:04 – I think the core reason why we don’t listen very well in business contexts is because we’re doing too much”

39:48 – Then and Now: Skills Teresa developed through the time she’s spent in her craft

43:24 – It’s hard but it’s worth it: “We rarely think this hard in business, but critical thinking is absolutely required to really understand what we heard.”

Key Takeaways:

“Listening is a big part of (product development)…visualizing helps us verify that we heard the right thing.” – Teresa Torres

“If you actually focus on collecting a story and your interview is all about your customer and not about your product, not about how great your solution is, most of the time, your customer will ask you at the end of that interview when they can do it again. And it’s because we’re so rarely listened to.” – Teresa Torres

“It turns out humans love talking about themselves, so interviewing actually ends up being this really positive experience for the customer and inevitably they want to do it again.” – Teresa Torres

“Get really good at story-based interviewing, because then it’s not a favor; customers actually feel like it’s a treat.” – Teresa Torres

“It’s not about I heard something right and you heard something wrong. It’s about we heard two different things. How do we get as close as possible to what the other person intended, and recognizing we may not ever get 100% there.” – Teresa Torres


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