3 Ways to Meet Customers’ Needs
Setting and meeting customer expectations is a complicated, multi-step continues throughout the customer relationship and requires the “Your own experience is often a better guide than a more sophisticated analysis of the market.” Customer service strategy needs to align with actual interactions. Understanding customers is a science that takes many new business owners a while to master. At the end of the day, customers want two things from you: 1. Customer Needs Identification is the process of determining what and how a After all, it's only after identifying Customer Needs that one can begin to meet them. . DevCo, a well-established tool manufacturer (renamed for the purpose of this . Technologies Cough detection Creativity & Innovation Data Analysis Design.
Surveys generally have very little data on the environment in which the problem is occurring, and they are fairly terrible at picking up on unanticipated needs. If anything interesting is revealed from a survey it is very difficult to follow-up on that information. Surveys are cheap and easy to make, which is why they are so common, but time and money would be better spent on interviews, focus groups, and observation trips.
Having identified the most effective methods of gathering data, it makes sense to ask how much information needs to be collected.
Some companies conduct as many as 50 interviews when preparing for a new product line; just be aware that extensive interviewing yields diminishing returns.
These interviews and focus groups are the primary means of learning about customers, so make sure to conduct interviews as effectively as possible. Here are a few suggestions that will lead to successful interviews: The first is called a lead user.
These people are customers who experience needs months or even years ahead of the market. The other type of customer is called an extreme user. These people use products in unusual ways, or they have special needs.
An excellent example of an extreme user would be the wife of Sam Farber, founder of OXOwhich produces the Good Grips kitchenware product lines. Now Good Grips is an internationally successful brand that makes handles for a wide variety of tools. As a final comment on conducting interviews, note that there are several ways one can document the process. All interviews should be documented so that the information in them can be fully recovered.
Depending on what kind of information is being sought, there are several options for documentation. Some of the more well-known choices involve audio recordings and handwritten notes, but video recordings or still photography are also acceptable. Interpreting Data After the interviews it is usually necessary to translate the vague statements of the customers into a useful list of needs.
For that exact reason, it is beneficial to have multiple people work on the interpretations. So how, exactly, does one transform what the customer says into something you can work with? Here is a useful process with several helpful constraints and suggestions for expressing the data. Write the needs in terms of what the product has to do, not how it might do it.
Express the needs as specifically as the raw data Use positive phrasing Express the needs as an attribute of the product Avoid the words must and should 3. Organizing Needs After interpreting the data, organize them. Group similar needs together, prioritize them, etc. Decide what is truly important to the customer.
The essence of the Kano Method is the five Qualities that product features can have Figure 2. For example, when a backpack has a separate compartment for a laptop.
3 Ways to Meet Customers’ Needs
For example, when the shoulder straps on a backpack are padded, they provide comfort, but when not padded they are painful. Backpacks are expected to be able to hold books. The qualities cause either satisfaction or dissatisfaction when met, but it is customer dependent. For example, backpacks with a lot of compartments and pouches. Some customers really like the wealth of storage options these spaces provide, and other customers actively dislike how excessive or unmanageable those same spaces are.
Figure 1 Diagram of the Kano model. Image by Craigwbrown at Wikipedia These five qualities describe the set of customer needs and expectations that a product can meet. Customers identify needs based on dissatisfaction with a current setup or problem; a survey only contains questions about predicted or perceived problems. It can certainly find all of the one-dimensional and must-be qualities, but it will be difficult, if not impossible, to identify all of the other needs just with surveys.
Consider the statements that have been gathered and study the interpretations. Try to evaluate how the process was executed. Have all types of customers been interviewed? Do any customers require follow-up interviews? Are any of the needs surprising? Look for ways to improve or refine the Customer Needs Identification process.
Would more interviews help? How about focus groups? Could the process have been done faster? Every project will have different answers to these questions, but taking the time to consider this particular process will help to prepare for the next one.
Remember, as of now there are no product specifications! This entire process is about identifying needs, not designing solutions. Ergonomic Screwdrivers DevCo, a well-established tool manufacturer renamed for the purpose of this examplewas looking to enter the growing market of handheld power tools by developing a cordless screwdriver.
15 Ways to Set and Meet Customer Expectations
DevCo conducted 30 interviews to get a precise idea of what their customers wanted. Here are some sample responses from the customers: Here are the interpretations used to design the screwdriver: The need with the asterisk denotes a latent need, something previously unnoticed but clearly representing a problem many people would identify with.
DevCo then organized the needs according to their level of importance, frequency of appearance, etc. Thanks to an extensive Customer Needs Identification process, DevCo was able to clearly define the goals and restrictions on the screwdriver so that engineers could implement a proper design. However, it is hard to state just how important the process really is, and how dangerous it can be to neglect it. This example comes from the Harvard Business School. Inthe company Ink, Inc. It was the first electrostatic printer on the market!
It could print four times faster than the next closest competitor, and it cost one-fourth as much. You can link to them through calls to action CTAs in emails, blog posts, tweets, and on other communication channels.
Know your customers' needs
Follow-ups are a great opportunity to start conversations and get feedback. High-touch service anticipates customer needs before they arise. Pretty much everyone has received this type of communication before.
It can be anything: This type of high-touch service makes for a positive customer experience that people appreciate and remember. Getting Feedback 12—Join the Conversation Turning a deaf ear to broader discussions about your products or your market means missing out on important data about your company.
You can avoid this by making sure you monitor all of your customer service channels on a regular basis. Active engagement provides an avenue for differentiation and can be attractive to potential customers when they see your responsiveness.
With so many communication channels available websites, blogs, user forums, social media, emails, outbound IVR, etc.
You want to engage your customers at every touch point and make it easy for them to respond. If their feedback does lead to a change, telling them that can be rewarding. It also sets a baseline for accepting and responding to customer concerns going forward. Visited 2, times, 5 visits today Related Posts.