Monday, July 18th, 2016
Customers and users are different, and have different behaviours and needs:
Customers are those who make the buying decision; Customers are the people who give us money. Customers buy our product: they find it, evaluate it, decide to purchase it, and ultimately pay for it. No customers means no business, so they matter a lot.
Customers have needs, and for many products the customers can be divided into segments based on their needs. Customers need are often concerned with purchasing factors like price, company viability, product leadership, etc, issues that are not about the usability or the user experience.
Customers are not necessarily users of the software.
Users use our product. Customers buy it.
Users use our product. They are the people who day in day out decide if they love it, hate it, or lie somewhere in between. Users have needs, and they can also be divided into segments based on their needs; but the users needs may look very different than customer needs. User needs are the software requirements specification, and they are mainly concerned with the usability and user experience of the product.
Users are people who may, or may not, give us money. Just because something has lots of users does not mean it will translate to lots of customers.
What makes customers is very different than what makes users.
It is important to consider the desires of our customers because they, not our users, are the ones who write the check to buy the software (unless, of course, our users and customers are the same people).
Summing-up: when we start a new business or product, we don’t have to aim for users. We have to aim for customers. We will have to work three times as hard. However, we will be making money instead of creating an artificial facsimile of success.