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Eckhart Boehme from Unipro Solutions talks about ‘Jobs to Be Done’ & his Original Framework
Episode 2312th January 2022 • Be Customer Led • Bill Staikos
00:00:00 00:28:06

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Jobs to Be Done, aka JTBD, is a concept of consumer action that describes the mechanisms that cause a consumer to adopt innovation. Our guest today has done some fascinating innovations based on this concept, developing his own framework to make this concept more clear and straightforward. Eckhart Boehme, the founder and managing director of Unipro Solutions, joins us today to talk about what this concept is all about and how organizations can improve themselves using this concept. 

[01:00] Career Journey – Eckhart shares with us his professional journey in several roles, including his long tenure at Microsoft as well as starting his own company.

[02:29] Jobs To Be Done – Eckhart explains what the JTBD concept is about and how his framework makes this concept clear and straightforward.

[06:20] Solving Problems – We dive into the tools that come with Eckhart’s framework and the problems these tools were able to solve for his clients.

[07:57] Customer Progress Design – The five steps of customer progress design and what’s involved in implementing each step.

[12:15] Customer Interviews – Eckhart shares with us some of the interesting learnings from interviewing customers and what they think of the process.

[15:00] Selecting the Right Team – How to select the ideal people to have the most impact and to be able to create the best outcome.

[20:15] Customer Experience and Strategy – How businesses can connect the customer experience to their business strategy.

[25:39] Inspiration – We asked Eckhart about what inspires him, and he shares numerous streams of inspiration he has in his life that our listeners can make use of as well.


Connect with Eckhart:




Be Customer Led - Eckhart Boehme

Welcome to be customer led where we'll explore how leading experts in customer and employee experience are navigating organizations through their own journey to be customer led and the actions and behaviors of lawyers and businesses exhibit to get there. And now your host of Bill's stay ghosts.


Very very new twist on things. And we're going to talk about his framework today, as well as other things, Eckert, welcome to the show. I'm really excited to have you on.


[00:01:06] Bill Staikos: Yeah. It's going to be a fun show, a lot of learning going to happen today. So as we start off every show and be customer led, tell our listeners about your journey.

how you got to where you are and sort of how you started with jobs to be done, to


I really loved all the concepts that are heard from kind of the thought leaders. And it took like, I think. Until then I stumbled into, a concept called troughs. We done at the business model canvas workshop. That was, 2016. And I was really intrigued by this new way of thinking. That really explained to me why.

in the first place. And since:

[00:02:20] Bill Staikos: I love that you actually started a company around this, given your passion. And that's really, I mean, that's such an important thing to do at any way, but so you're an expert in jobs to be done or JTBD as it also might be called in the industry. Not everyone is familiar with jobs to be done. Can you just tell, just describe the method or approach for our listeners.


This could be functional jobs like getting from a to B. That could be an emotional job, like getting piece of mind or could be a social job, getting recognized by others. So trusts would, and really helps to explain why people. Pull new products into their lives in a certain circumstance, and really helps us to focus on outcomes rather than the product, and also helps to explain the need for innovations.

So that's how I would describe shops. We've done in a


But what is the outcome from a customer's perspective and how do you work backwards from that? So we're going to talk a little bit about now sort of how maybe, you've transitioned a little bit. You used the customer progress design that. so describe the framework that you created in the wheel of progress and how it's related to jobs to be done.

cause this is where it really gets interesting folks, and where Eckhart has just brought in completely new thinking, and an approach, and framework to help jobs to be done. Actually become more clear in many


We done practitioners, we realized we still had two issues. One was in the first place explaining what drops were done is, and people are still confused these days. Top three done is kind of how to describe it. So that was one of the challenges we face with our cloud customers. I spent a lot of time, like hours and hours trying to explain it.

And we felt this is not a very productive use of our client's time. The second issue was with the tools. So although there were some great tools available, like the timeline or fosters of progress or top story, we still felt that they were fragmented, that there were like, kind of all over the place and we have to put it together.

So. In:

Document a customer drop on one page, like a big poster, if you will, on a wall. And based on that tool, we, we use it in projects and learnt about how to create a process and a, and a whole method around it. That's how we came up with a thing that we call the customer progress design.

with the Willow progress, outside of sort of some of these tools being fragmented, how our clients measure, what, what problem were you ultimately trying to solve?


I didn't think that it would solve that of even surprised you yeah.


So. Deal with like a million variables when you talk to customers. And, we said, no, let's, let's focus on trust the set. So we came up with 12 elements or you can also call them variables that we look at, and we don't look at anything outside. And this focus set of variables really helps to change the whole.

Process and make it much more efficient and really focused on these things that help us understand how customers make progress in life, which also enables us to extrapolate what they made. I want to kind of use or how they're going to move in the future to make that progress.


So, where do you start?


So we, it needs to be a very conscious process thinking about who we want to invite. So when we invite people to interviews and we do qualitative interviews in person or online, then we capture. The outcome and the statements from the customer on the wheel of progress. So one customer, one wheel of progress, and then we can structure what we've heard on that canvas.

And that helps us to move to the next step, which is an console consolidating all the, of the data. So all of the 12 elements that we are looking for, we collapse and paraphrase all the items, which then turn them into. Valid data because you don't rely on just one or two people saying something. So that's a kind of more statistical transit.

We have discovered something. Of course, when we have found for map of the customer drops from constant, very, let's say very nitty gritty. Technical. We can go up to like the 30, 40, 50,000 feet level and see what all the customers are at a very high altitude. And, in the next step, then we use the customer drops, to create a rank order.

We evaluate them according to four, four criteria, and then we have like a stack rank of customer drops. So, the customer shops that are more was the most worthwhile for you. And the last step we transfer. The data, not all of the data, but the data that is kind of more, most useful in a transition canvas.

So in that canvas, we use the data to inform our socials around value propositions, around messaging, around customer support, buying aid, objection, handling, things like that. But the key data source, so to speak are these customer interviews. Goal and get a few people about a buying experience when they tried to make progress in life and they bought something new that they've never used before.

And we capture that whole story on, on, on that canvas.


and be able to populate the canvas.


But if you don't feel the data is kind of stable and showing some patterns and you can, of course you can add more like probably three. 12 something around that. And then you, you can decide, do we still need more interfuse or do we get a good picture? It's kind of a solid data set that we get is, are there really patterns that you can can also,


Obviously there's a place for that. But if you think about this work and even I would relate it to almost a usable. Right where you can get 80 to 90% of all of your usability issues and six to eight, usability sessions. Right? If you get to 20, you've probably done too much, perhaps by then. I mean, you've kind of heard everything, it's it diminishing returns, even.

I love that because oftentimes in business you hear. Well, I don't have time for research, but you're saying, Hey, let's just go talk to six, maybe eight on the high end, maybe 10 customers. Right. And then spend a little time in a, in a conference room, kind of building this out. Have you ever experienced customers?

Just like, just surprised by how little actually it takes to, to be able to do this work and to start identify, or is it, it must be some relief on some level. Right. But like, I'm curious just to hear your perspective, maybe even a story


I had like a set of three interviews. And when you interview customers in a very conscious manner, when you look when you know what you're looking for, instead of let's do some research and see what we find. So it's exactly the opposite. So we know exactly what we are looking for because we are looking for these 12 items.

We use these 12 elements, then, it becomes very, very efficient and it becomes very clear because, Because we can sort these items that you get. And then you can see on the map on the, on the, on the, on the wheel of progress, where you, where you got a lot of good input, where there may be some white spaces we need to follow up in the next interview to go kind of deeper.

And, and, and clients are usually surprised how little. Effort in, I mean, using this method, it takes to, to get some meaningful results, but the key I really want, wanna, highlight this is, it's the last step, because it's really not about creating data. It's not about market research. It's not even about trops.

We done. it is really about using that data as insights as input to make better. And because I cannot show here in the podcast, people how we work with our last canvas, but you can imagine that we have like four phases that the customer goes through becoming aware that there's a deficiency or a problem, or that they want to desperate.

And the second phase, it's about finding, looking for solutions. What is the problem? What was the solution space? The third quarter is about comparing solutions, making trade off decisions, buying the best solution in the fourth, fourth quarter is actually using the product or the solution or the. So we cover all of these four phases and help try to come up with concepts to help customers make progress in each of these phases.

So it has also kind of a unifying function. And this is really what the whole process is about, is about what you get out at the end.


Right. That's a really important part of this. When you're working with your clients, Eckhart, what is your advice? Even for listeners. What is your advice for who you want in the room? So when you're working on a project, I mean, obviously you might have like a head of CX or their team, but like who else do you want in that, in that room to have the most impact and to be able to create the best outcome?


They're kind of, sometimes they are in silos. so first of all, I, I would say, it makes sense to have someone or maybe a small group of people who orchestrate the whole process because, with our method. You can look at the big picture of like 360, how the customer wants to make progress. And in every group that's involved would own their own kind of their own decision day.

They should use the data that was produced during the process to make kind of better decisions. And there are different skills also necessary. So you need to have a team. That is good in interviewing it's good in listening is good in analyzing the data. These are different, sometimes different, skill sets.

Also the skill set to abstract, right? To go like from the. Almost like task oriented jobs to be done to something it's a, it's a very high altitude, because that's really, what do, what you want to get at is like, not, not okay. I want to put this from, from a to B, I want maybe something bigger in life to accomplish something.

And so you need to kind of. The two, this con the seven take some times a day or two days to think about our sleep about it, and to realize what the actual customer drop is at this high level. And then you need someone who can orchestrate like moderate the whole process, because sometimes when you do this in a collaborative fashion, which is great, and it's very visual, you need.

Who can kind of manage the process of evaluating the data, because sometimes there is a little bit kind of dispute what to say about, what kind of item was, what was the fast what's this,constrained. And, and so we need someone who's kind of educated and very good at kind of managing that. So there are different skills.

So you should look at, do I have a diverse team with the skills? We always do the interviews also in teams and we are, that was trained and educated people able to do real time, quantitative interview evaluation. So while the interviews going on, there are people in the background filling out the wheel of.

Which is nice because after the interview, maybe 80% done with evaluation. So it doesn't take like days or weeks or month to coat the data and so on. So, yeah, you need to have a steam. Think about the skills, think about the functions that should be involved often. People who are the customer advocates in the companies, or typically drop like product managers, chief customer officers, and things like that


Have you ever brought customers into that development process to start filling up the wheel of progress? Or have you always kept the interview separate from that? A lot of people talk about, treating customers as co-developers and I'm personally not a fan of focus groups and I'm not advocating.

I personally wouldn't advocate for it. I'm curious, have you ever brought a customer into that process to fill it out too?


Template or in this bot, I mean, we're using a, kind of an electronic whiteboard and it's open and they can, they can see where the data came from. They can see what the original kind of the source data was, how we are, we, massage it and so on. with clients, with customers and customers, we have not involved them as deeply, probably that would be the next step, but we, we have, we have told them about the results.

So there was, there was one interview that we do. Yeah. With a Greek in Germany who was drinking Cotabato, which was a special coffee drink. And so we interviewed him, we analyzed in a few and then we went back and told him, yeah, w we believe you go to this Greek bar order in Greek by a various. Kind of a special barista who can, we can create this drink, otherwise it's ruined and get like a cure your Palm sickness to Greece.

And he just looked at us with big eyes and say, oh my God. This is exactly why I do this. And he didn't realize before. So we told him that what we found out, what we thought was his truck to be done and validated that. So, yeah, that, that's, that's most common that we go back with, not the other results, but conflict with the results and try to validate that it said what's a truly.


But like, this individual leaves, their home goes to the coffee shop. The barista makes the coffee, they sit down, they're being served, they drink the coffee, they pay and they leave and they go back home versus understanding that this individual is there to satisfy a very deep. Need for themselves to satisfy that homesickness and make them give them a little piece of home in the middle of Germany.

That's such an important lesson for us to just always think about when you're thinking about it. Just if you're doing journey mapping, it's not just about how people feel through that journey. It's just, what need are you solving for? And I think that's, where, where the work you're doing really is important.

I'm curious. So like, if you think about customer experience, So many people have sort of the break fix stuff down, right? Like that, that from a customer experience perspective feels like we've matured broadly, where there is a little bit of, still learning to do for a lot of companies is making that connection between customer experience and strategy.

A lot of companies and BCG created the inner loop and the outer loop. This feels like a frame. Your framework really does connect the outer loop or being able to connect this work to strategy for a business. Do you find that, is that your goal or how, how do you kind of think about that? The process when you're working with


I mean, what, what you just touched on, I think is a potential issue is that we are sometimes choose to focus on the, kind of the transaction. Thinking about the transactional relationships, talking about a customer journey without all the underlying things that are going on in the customer's head, how they think, how they feel, what their aspirations are, what their obstacles are, what their constraints are in making progress, what the customer job is, what the pains and gains are.

These are all things. That a very meaningful, and to me, it customer journey, without those elements or understanding these elements from Casa. So it's a, it's like, wow, what's the point? Right? It's all about how the customer feels. So we need to, we need to take the place of the customer. And of course, when we.

No, when we have fully understood what the customer dropped is, we can really think about our what's our purpose as an organization. And we can sharpen that or we can create it when we are like a startup where you don't have a clear organizational purpose. And I think this purpose really can serve as a Nazi.

For, for everybody in the organization to understand their role because they understand how the customer wants to make progress in life on. And so that's the relationship to strategy. So how do we strategically help customers? Make progress. What other levers we need to pull? What are the next things the customer ne may need?

Because when you ask customers what they want, they will tell you something, but it's not necessarily what they need because we know others. This is quote from Henry Ford is if I had asked people what they want, they, they would have told me faster horses. So it's kind of preventing. Issue. Cause it's not the customer job really to think about what is the next vehicle, what's the next tool that's going to help me make processors our job.

So, I think we can more intelligently create solutions and it's not only the product. It's the whole experience from. Becoming aware that that's an issue to buying, to servicing the need and get an understanding that we, as an, as an organization, we always, we are a service to the customer. We are not a product company.

That's kind of from the customer point of view. I want to say, it's, it's more like a service,


But at the end of the day, we're moving through life as customers, right? It's the product that is we're bringing into our lives to. Solve something that we need. Right. What that, that job to be done to centrally such a powerful,


And, the wheel of progress shows us like the micro cycle. Of course, when you look at the lifetime, Yeah, we go through many cycles, and then we can even build our portfolio in a way that we can serve a client or a customer over many cycles. I think that's a, that's another aspect that helps us become more meaningful.

not like a one time thing for the customer, but like, building, a long-term relationship with


Thank you one for doing that. I'm curious. What inspires



It's like when you get older, you don't sleep that well. And at night, Four or five o'clock in the morning. you wake up and your mind is super clear. And then you start thinking about what you're working on during the daytime. And that really kind of during the, my cycle, developing the wheel of progress made, made a big difference that I, when I woke up in the, in the night, I could kind of get up and write down my thoughts, and then I could go back to sleep.

And that was kind of this phase. The night that made a big difference and helping me, to kind of re-energize and come up with some, some, special ideas I

want to say. So, so we're on the same age Eckhart, so I know I can read what you're what's happening to you is resonating very well, very much with me, I'm the same way.

So I, I record, at different hours, depending on where the guest is, obviously, but I always find myself waking up the next day after recording. Early in the morning, 4:00 AM as well. And thinking about the show and like what that person said and how that has had an impact on me, my life and the work that I do.

So I'm sure that I'll be waking up tomorrow morning and doing the same thing so accurate. Where can people find you the work that you're doing? Like, why don't you give us your website and where they can find you?

Just go to uni pro. Dash that's my site. it's both in trauma and in English, I have, I have a blog.

I have, videos. I have all kinds of stuff. So when people are interested in this process, go to the site also, that's the documentation about the method? Just get in touch. If you want to know.

so I, I really encourage listeners to go check out the site. there's a lot there to even get you started thinking about it, but definitely get in touch with Eckhart great stuff.


[00:27:22] Eckhart Boehme: Thanks for having me bill.


You will not regret it. Folks.

Thanks for listening to be customer led with bill staikos. We are grateful to our audience for the gift of their time. Be sure to visit for more episodes. Leave us feedback on how we're doing or tell us what you want to hear more about until next time we're out.



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