Concierge is a technique to test the solution of a customer problem by manually performing tasks as a service.
Concierge is a technique to test the solution of a customer problem by manually performing tasks as a service. It is typically not very cost-effective, but it can provide detailed information about how a solution can be created and what minimum viable feature set should be included in an automated and optimized product.
In a concierge test, the value proposition is delivered as a service. Like a hotel concierge, the focus is on a highly customized, customer-facing service. For this method you need to perform the tasks manually, usually for only a few customers as it is not cost-efficient to scale. That said, the heavy customer touch gives you quality feedback from the targeted segment, allowing you to adjust services instantly at a very low cost. Hence iterations based on insights from customer feedback are easily accomplished.
To conduct a successful concierge test, you need a clear and well-formulated value proposition. As an evolution of problem-solution interview techniques, the goal is to test the solution and figure out if it matches your customer’s expectations. Design your value proposition as a service with the leap-of-faith assumptions in mind. When using the service, your customers should go through the same steps as they would later with your actual product.
Deliver your service manually in a customized and personal way. To avoid being overwhelmed, start with just a small batch of customers. At this point, you do not need a single line of code or automation. Even though it is inefficient and time-consuming, keep in mind that the direct customer touch is a valuable learning tool. While delivering your service, keep collecting customer feedback and adjust your service accordingly.
After some time, you learn about your customers' expectations and what is really valuable to them. Gradually automate the parts of your service that work. Be careful not to run your concierge test forever! Keep automating and expanding your service until you are not getting new major insights.
Concierge tests can be the most time-consuming method as they require manually solving the customer problem. For a complex B2B IT solution, a concierge test can be a complete consulting engagement lasting many months. For a consumer, it might be as simple as personally going shopping with a customer.
Similarly, the method can require substantial resources or nothing but a pen and paper. In the case of a B2B concierge service, it is often possible to charge for the solution up-front, which eliminates resource constraints.