Customer Needs. Understanding and Identifying Customer Needs. Considering the customers’ desires is essential in the product’s success and it will pull product development into a better and more focused direction.
Considering the customers’ desires is essential in the product’s success and it will pull product development into a better and more focused direction.
Technologist’s Problem – product development undertaken with no basis for market acceptance, very common in engineering community.
Akia Morita (1986), founder of Sony Corp., “our plan is to lead the public to new products rather than ask them what they want. The public does not know what is possible, we do”
The customer is a statistical concept.
The design team should define the customer population using the product.Customer Expectations
Customer expectations increase over time, it is very important to stay in touch with customers and to understand their preferences. The more customer expects, the harder it is to keep delighting the customer.
Example, automobile: cup holder, antilock brake system,
CD player, airbags, GPS, ….
Example, Bicycle; racing bike, mountain bike, recreational bike
General categories based on how easy the customer can express them and how rapidly they change.
Example: Digital Camera
Cost, good pictures, ease of operation
Obtaining prints, easy viewing on PC, deleting pictures, viewing pictures
Nighttime picture taking, number of digital images, …..
Under water application, rapid picture taking
The idea is to create a high-quality information channel between the customers in the target market and the developers of the product.
– Discuss the needs with a single customer, one at a time in the customer’s environment where the customer uses the product and feels comfortable
Guideline for interviewing
Select the actual users of the product to interview and introduce
yourself and state the purpose of the interview.
Bring models of new product, competitor’s products.
do not bias the customer with any concept or technology. Uncovering a need that is independent from the solution used helps in concept engineering.
Gathering Customer NeedsGuideline for interviewing
Wherever the customer takes you, follow along, and ask why and how questions
– pursue any
surprise answer with a question.
– look for facial
and body language.
Gathering Customer NeedsGuideline for interviewing
– don’t just ask about the product, observing the customer in action provides helpful information.
– a moderator facilitates a session with a group of customers in the product developer’s environment. The design team may observe the session behind a two-way mirror. Very common in food industry. Look for facial and body expressions.Gathering Customers needs
Questionnaires –use the same guideline as for the interview to develop a list of questions. Prepare the questions carefully. Then organize the responses provided. Make the list short.
are more to attain the same amount of information.
Conducting is the way of gathering quality information. Hauser (1993), reports that interviewing nine customers for one hour each will obtain over 90% of the customer needs that would be uncovered when interviewing 60 customers in a focus group.
interviewsComments on Gathering Customers needs
provide the of information. The responses only pertain to the questions asked, not necessarily what the customer wants to tell the design team. Low percentage of returns.
An electric wok redesign is desired. Current electric woks are inadequate and do not satisfy the demands of customers to conveniently cook authentic Chinese food. The original wok is a six-quart electric wok. A competitive wok is a traditional wok, used over a gas flame.
In addition to the activities of a product, it is also important to capture the desired “feel” of a product. Industrial designers emphasizes the important human qualities of comfort, safety , and aesthetic appeal.
The design team reviews the interpreted needs and sort them into a list - Affinity DiagramMethod
(performed by the design team) The subjective importance ratings (Must, Good, …) are converted into numerical equivalents. Then the importance is calculated using the average equation.
(based on customer surveys) A questionnaire is sent to customers asking for the importance of each need. Costly but more accurate.Determining Need Importance
There are two basic approaches to determining the relative importance of the needs.
Interview Data Method(performed by the design team) The subjective importance ratings (Must, Good, Should, and Nice) are converted into numerical equivalents.
Must (9) – used when a customer absolutely must have this feature, should be used very sparingly.
Good (7) – a very important customer need should have a Good importance rating.
Should (5) – If the customer feels the product should satisfy this requirement, its important for the design team to consider it.
Nice (3) – this is for the needs that would be nice if the product satisfied them but are not critical (added product functions)
Turn in all your raw data.
In previous methods the importance ranking of each customer need resulted in a constant weight. This assumes that the needs have statistically independent importance.
It may be desirable to obtain a correlation between needs.
Large button: 5 (39)
Small button: 14 (64)
Cluster Analysis Method Blender Face
Best: 1(23), 5 (39), 12 (39)
Worst: 17 (147), 4 (126), 7 (108)