Understanding Customer Needs

Product and service companies alike know the importance of staying connected to their customers and prospects. Highly effective organizations are aware that markets change, needs during economic cycles shift, and competitors continue to innovate and release new offerings. While wanting to know what their customers and prospects are thinking, many companies do not have a formal process to receive ongoing and unfiltered feedback from their buying segments. They view the work associated with acquiring the information as important, but either too difficult to acquire, too expensive to get, or too far down the list of priorities to focus on.

Traditionally product or brand managers were tasked with the responsibility to acquire customer input at the start of a design cycle. However, at many companies the product development cycle takes nine to eighteen months. What a prospective buyer wanted a year ago can and almost certainly will have shifted before the new product is rolled out. The ability to stay in close proximity to customers today is not something that would be nice to do but is an absolute requirement for a business's success. Understanding customers better combined with the ability to quickly spot trends allows for fine-tuning in development priorities. In addition it establishes requirements for the broader set of needs relative to pricing, packaging, and service throughout the life cycle. This applies equally to new product development as well as refreshing existing products.

MainStream understands that many organizations are resource constrained. We know you want and need to stay close to your customers and prospects as well as to focus investments on activities that will sustain your company long term. Let us help you develop an in-house or outsourced program that provides you with the ability to develop products and services built around your customer needs and their intended future purchases.