Products and services are created to fulfil the customers’ needs, whether those needs are implicit or explicit. Yet, very few organizations actually take the time to understand this before they delve into product design and product development. And some organizations that do invest in it, may restrict research to focus groups and market surveys that barely touch on the pivotal points crucial to the discussion.
We sometimes hear of organizations that draw (sometimes) inaccurate and dramatic conclusions on the back of focus group data alone,
which could potentially endanger their future and survival – to be fair, this doesn’t necessarily only happen in product innovation and development, but that’s a story for another day.
Given that product development is cyclic, the involvement of the customer perspective in all stages produces a product that is more attractive, well-received and simply viable. This is a win-win for everyone involved – from those doing the research to those developing and delivering the product, as well as the customers, who are ultimately happy with their purchase!
Conducting a piece of market research to understand the market and competitor landscape is absolutely essential before deciding on what and how new products or services are to be developed.
Consider involving customers early
To pitch the idea to them and gauge their reaction or verify the company’s internal hypotheses. Focus groups and surveys are both helpful, we can help you determine the best ways to reach your audience, and then when the inputs are available, to collate and analyse them for patterns – yeas and nays, outstanding comments and even deep sentiments on product aspects. Critical data – such as a feature many customers deem unnecessary, or a product function that sounds flawed, or effect of the product that you missed in your description – can be traced and mined from such a research study. The applications of the research are ample, beginning with improving product design or enhancing its scope.
There are numerous avenues for involving the customer during product development. Many methodologies that are inherently collaborative have been brought forth and successfully implemented. For example, in support driven development, each and every member of the organization is involved in customer support. Since everyone faces the customer at some point in time, they keep to a customer centric approach and resolve problems that way. In another example, customers are involved in pain-point analysis and honing the finer details of the products by working with prototypes. And there are examples of approaches where we can help you fine tune your offer with customers without being invasive.
It is the age of information, and the one challenge organizations are still learning to conquer is to draw insights from the humongous and growing load of data that is available to them, aka Big Data. Customer data is a large part of this bulk. As a research organization, we have the resources, a hands-on industry oriented experience, and the skills to convert data to insights. We can uncover the voice of your customer, and help you develop compelling products that consumers are looking for.
We often succumb to the pitfall that we know our customers as well as we think we do.
Customers’ wants and preferences continually change and evolve. Technology has disrupted the way customers obtain information about you and the impact your messages leave on them. Buying behaviours are changing dramatically each year. Even the economy dictates priorities. Our research can help you uncover the intricacies of your customers’ preferences, buying behaviours and appeal levels so you have the assurance you need to deliver the products that will always be sought out. Let us know how we can help!