In the course of Product Development, customers are the one who we want to be purchasers of the product, so their needs might be different, and their expectations might be different so, it is necessary to understand the customer needs for any type of the Product Development Process.
Why Identifying customer needs is important?
- Every Organization need to Ensure the product is focused on customer needs.
- Identify latent or hidden needs as well as explicit needs.
- Provide a fact base for justifying the product specifications.
- Create an archival record of the needs activity of the development process.
- Ensure that no critical customer need is missed or forgotten.
- Develop a common understanding of customer needs among members of the development team.
Identifying the customer Needs
Identifying customer needs is itself a process, for which we present a five-step method. We believe that a little structure goes a long way in facilitating effective product development practices, and we hope and expect that this method will be viewed by those who employ it not as a rigid process but rather as a starting point for continuous improvement and refinement. The five steps are
- Gather raw data from customers.
- Interpret the raw data in terms of customer needs.
- Organize the needs into a hierarchy of primary, secondary, and (if necessary) tertiary needs.
- Establish the relative importance of the needs.
- Reflect on the results and the process.
Types of Customer Needs
Direct Needs: Customers have no trouble declaring them clearly when asked. (Example: Watch should show the right time, Water bottle must be easy to hold etc.)
Latent Needs: Not directly expressed by customers; needs probing. (Example: Hidden needs (High-end mobile phones should never be broken no matter how abusive the drop or fall is!)
Constant Needs: Intrinsic to the task of the product, and will always be there. (Example: Intrinsic to the product – Data storage space in servers/computers)
Variable Needs: Not constant, may go away if a suitable techno-solution is available. (Example: Digital photography eliminates a customer need for long film storage life)
General Needs: Applies to all customers, i.e., heating facility in cars in the entire USA. (Example: Compliance to National standards, safety etc.)
Niche Needs: Apply only to a selected customer. (Example: A/C in the car in the UK because it is a cold country for the most part of the year, The car should have bulletproof feature)
We have discussed the importance of understanding customer needs. If you still have any further thoughts on this topic, please let us know in the comment section below.