I am going to share some of the lessons I learnt by not understanding my customers well. I will share them with jokes analogous to the situation faced by the customers.
A town was flooded and a guy from an area of the town called the emergency helpline. He said that water entered his apartment and he is standing in a water that is 2 feet deep. The member of emergency helpline replied that there are other areas of town that are 10 feet deep in water and they will be given priority over his area. The guy finally shouted “But I am living in fourth floor of the apartment complex”.
The reason why I posted this joke is that sometimes customers are unable to say clearly how big the problem they are facing is. I supported internal users of the companies that I worked for. Once one of the end-users called me to his desk and showed me that it is taking long time to load the data in a screen in the application. Immediately I jumped to the conclusion that database or API must be having a problem and started checking it and after sometime realized that the user’s computer was attacked by a virus and that it is running lot of other programs in background and draining the resources.The moral is don’t expect your customers to dig deeper to find out where the problem is. We need to be asking right questions and dig the problem and find the root cause.