A Discovery Call (DC) is a meeting with a customer who is a recipient of your service /product. The goal of the discovery session is to understand whether or not the user is happy with your service and how better you can align your services to meet his/ her needs. With this premise in mind, I conduct discovery calls at my organization, Philanthropy University to attune our course offerings to the needs of the learners.

The mission of our organization is to increase the capacity of 5000 nonprofit organizations by 2020 to impact 100 million beneficiaries worldwide. To get there, we need to understand what’s motivating our target audience of nonprofit leaders in the Global South to take our courses. We need to understand how and why they’re struggling, and how our product on the whole or specific components of our product can better align against these struggles. In other words, we need insights into both the personal and professional circumstances around their experiences on Phil U in order to build a product specially catered to them.

The discovery call is booked via a calendar invite with instructions how to join the call. When the discovery calls starts, I make small talk for the first couple of minutes without delving into loaded questions. It helps to relax the user and also level set the proceedings. Foremost, the discovery session starts by setting the agenda by sharing what is going to happen during your time together. A session usually trimmed for about 30 to 40 minutes max. Sticking to this time frame is advisable for two reasons. Most of these participants are volunteers who signed up to give their unfiltered feedback for free, so we need to respect their time. The other factor is the attention span. A session beyond 45 minutes would not necessarily yield valuable substance. At this point, the participant is tired and would tell you things you would want to hear than obscure things that you are trying to discover.

Why Discovery Call is an important process at Philanthropy University?

  1. To understand the learner’s interaction with our courses
  2. Understand the learner’s pain points and how our services helped them or could help them
  3. To understand how they are using our product
  4. To gather success stories
  5. To create a user-centered product with elements of empathy
  6. Ways to gather feedback that could be channeled into the iterative sprints.

Below I have listed some of my go-to discovery questions.

  1. Tell me about your Organization?
  2. Tell me about your role. What do you do day-to-day?
  3. Tell me about your personal & career goals?
  4. What problem are you trying to solve in the community?
  5. What are your primary roadblocks to implementing this plan?
  6. What would a successful outcome look like?
  7. Why did you decide to take courses on Philanthropy University?
  8. Are you having problems relates to our product?
  9. Have you taken similar online courses before?
  10. How can we help make this easy?