This week’s blog will continue to discuss the Customer Discovery Process and how it applies to Sam’s Medical Lab. As we know from prior blogs, Sam’s Medical Lab is a service provider and does not have specifically designed and engineered products, at least not yet. The laboratory testing which Sam’s Medical Lab offers is created, tested, and verified by respective vendors and approved by the FDA. The calibrators and quality controls come from the analyzer vendors as well. The medical technologists responsible for producing the laboratory results follow the industry standards, vendor-specific quality assurance programs, and internal SOP’s to determine which results are impacted by certain factors and not applicable or occasionally incompatible with human life.
As such, the Customer Discovery Process may not apply thoroughly to our organization. The author of The Four Steps to the Epiphany splits the process into five major phases:
- Phase 0 – Getting the buy-in from the board and executive staff.
- Phase 1 – Defining the assumptions about your product, customer, pricing, demand, market, and competition.
- Phase 2 – Testing the assumptions in front of potential customers and understanding customers’ problems.
- Phase 3 – Validate the Phase1 hypotheses.
- Phase 4 – Verify your understanding of customer’s problems, assess whether the product you have will solve the customer’s issues and whether the revenue will result in a profitable business model.
Starting at Phase 0 through Phase 4, hiring the right people and educating them on the product development process is critical. Equally important is securing the funding for two or three passes through the Customer Discovery and Customer Validation steps.
During the startup process, Sam’s Medical Lab was successful with Phase 0. We hired a small team, secure enough funds, and define the mission, vision, and core values. Since we were a new laboratory in town, we spend a lot of time speaking with the local physicians and conducting virtual visits to understand their primary concerns over the existing labs in the market. Since we do not have a new product to offer, our discussions were based on the advantages a local lab could bring. Our services were widely accepted, and the customers saw value in faster turnaround times, lower prices, and a walk-in process.
In the following weeks, I will discuss the remaining phases of the customer discovery process and how we implemented them in our environment.
Blank, Steven G. The Four Steps to the Epiphany: Successful Strategies for Products That Win. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2020, Amazon Kindle.