You can’t please all of the people all of the time. But when it comes to unhappy customers most problems can generally be traced back to audience misalignment.

Here, we’re going to take a look at the three most common misalignments:

1. The problem your product claims to solve

2. How you claim to solve it

3. How your product works

Solving a problem

If potential customers aren't converting or showing very little interest in your product, you might be throwing a solution at the wrong problem.

Have you correctly identified that the problem you’re solving is critical to your customers? Are you targeting the right customers? Could you have asked different customers? Could you have asked more customers? Are your prospects even aware that they have a problem?

It might be a case of educating your customers before you can show your product’s value and adjusting your messaging and marketing efforts accordingly.

If you're absolutely positive you're solving the right problem, maybe you're targeting the wrong people. In which case, look to adjacent markets and figure out who exactly it is that needs your product and market to them accordingly.

Solving half a problem?

If you ran an art store and only sold paints, are customers going to come back knowing they can’t purchase a paint brush or an easel? Of course not! The same goes for your product, if you only offer half a solution, customers will look elsewhere for the full service version. A fully realised vision that works with inputs and outputs you're sure your customer will already have is best.

Overcomplicating things?

This is usually related to the work you put in before or after making your solution compatible with your customers’ workflows. Are you expecting too much of your customers? Are there too many steps? Do your customers actually have the knowledge or the permission to take the steps you are asking of them? Call and ask them! It’s the only way to make sure your intended customers can actually use your product effectively.

Are you playing to the right audience?

If your problem and solution are fine maybe your audience is misaligned? Are you sending emails when your customers would prefer push notifications? Is your tutorial a pdf when it would work better as a video? Are you offering real-time support when your customers need a paper trial?

Is your messaging too technical?

Are your customers as tech literate as you? Take a step back and look at your messaging, is it so elaborate it would scare off someone without the same amount of technical know-how as you? Is your interface needlessly complicated?

If it takes a lot of handholding to onboard your existing customers chances are they’ll jump ship to a more straightforward, easier to navigate product.

Your messaging could also be an issue, technical jargon can be overwhelming, it’s also really unnecessary, we’re not telling you to dumb it down, just be as concise as possible.

Are you confusing customers?

No one likes to be confused, or surprised by a product they put time and effort into researching. Few people have the time to learn everything about a new product in order to use it, and if they already have something they know well, that provides a solution, there’s little incentive for them to make the move. Your product should be more efficient than what they’re using, easier to operate and faster than whatever is already out there.

Your product just isn't for some people and that’s fine. They need a different solution. Of course if most of your customers have the same complaint you have a legitimate problem and the means to solve it.

Talk to your customers, the happy ones and the unhappy ones, find out why they’re happy and what you can do to keep it that way. Validate your assumptions and use the information you’ve gathered to push forward and make the best version of your product possible.