Friday, July 17, 2015

The Customer as a Co-Creator

Businesses often forget that the customer is the end user and they determine the success of any product, service or organization. Designing products with the customer in mind is important but using customer’s feedback in innovating those products can create higher income streams. Reaching out and asking customers for their feedback can take different forms in today’s world. 

The product development process includes ideas generation, screening of ideas, development and testing, business analysis, marketing testing and commercialization (Finch, 2012). New ideas are reviewed for feasibility and then then tested to ensure they work. A thorough analysis of the profitability and marketability of the product is conducted before mass production. 

Great ideas can come from many different locations. An often untapped source is the customer themselves. Product reviews, focus groups, and questionnaires were some of the tools to gain insight into products. As Internet technology develops new ways of collecting and evaluating customer information is beneficial. 

The process of evaluating customer preferences can be as easy as reading online and asking customers directly or as complex as conducting living labs and designing in-depth psychological experiments to understand latent factors. Collecting that information and using the feedback loop to improve products/services over time is beneficial. 

Product and service development takes time. Listening to customer needs helps to develop higher levels of understanding of consumer needs that should be funneled through product/service design to increase customer satisfaction rates. Without this input significant resources are invested into items that don’t appeal to customers and won’t generate significant returns on investment.

Finch, J. (2012). Managerial marketing. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.

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