How do I add Customer Gains to my Value Proposition Canvas?

Gains describe the outcomes and benefits your customers require, expect, desire or would be surprised by. This includes functional utility, social gains, positive emotions, and cost savings.

Types of Outcomes & Benefits

Required gains

These are gains without which a solution wouldn’t work. For example, the most basic expectation that we have of a smartphone is that we can make a call with it.

Expected gains

These are relatively basic gains that we expect from a solution, even if it could work without them. For example, since Apple launched the iPhone, we expect phones to be well designed and look good.

Desired gains

These are gains that go beyond what we expect from a solution but would love to have if we could. These are usually gains that customers would come up with if you asked them. For example, we desire smartphones to be seamlessly integrated with our other devices.

Unexpected gains

These are gains that go beyond customer expectations and desires. They wouldn’t even come up with them if you asked them. Before Apple brought touch screens and the app store to the mainstream, nobody really expected them to be part of a phone.

Relevance

A customer gain can be more or less relevant to customers, just like pains can feel more or less intense to them.

Questions to ask

The following list of trigger questions can help you think of different potential customer gains:

  • Which savings would make your customers happy? E.g. which savings in terms of time, money and effort would they value?
  • What outcomes do your customers expect and what would go beyond their expectations? E.g. What quality levels do they expect and what could you offer more or less of?
  • How do current solutions delight your customers? E.g. Which specific features do they enjoy, what performance and quality do they expect?
  • What would make your customers’ jobs or life easier? E.g. Could there be a flatter learning curve, more services, or lower costs of ownership?
  • What positive social consequences do your customers desire? E.g. what makes them look good, increase their power or their status?
  • What are customers looking for most? Are they searching for good design, guarantees, specific or more features?
  • What do customers dream about? E.g. What do they aspire to achieve or what would be a big relief to them?
  • How do your customers measure success and failure? E.g. How do they measure performance or cost?
  • What would increase your customers’ likelihood of adopting a solution? E.g. do they desire lower cost, fewer investments, lower risk, or better quality?

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