Three Solutions for Customer-Centric Product Development

Key Takeaways

To ensure a successful product launch, place customer-centricity as the focal point of the product development process:

  1. Enable customers to provide honest, and recurring feedback, on their customer experiences
  2. Develop value propositions alongside customers.
  3. Refine the value propositions with customer feedback. Use the feedback to measure success, and rebuild with customer feedback when needed.

Executive Summary

 

95% of new products fail. Why do most products fail? It boils down to not engaging with and listening to customer feedback. Successful product development depends on customer engagement throughout the process. Customer obsessed product development leads to high quality products, lower customer churn, and efficient use of resources, all leading to a faster time-to-market and increased ROI.

This blog post explains the three stages of product development that most often are the root cause of product failure when done wrong, and lists the solutions needed to solve these problems. Throughout the product development process, it’s important to be open-minded to customer feedback, to follow the customers as a guide when developing the value proposition, and to use customer feedback as a measure of success, continuously listening to the customer feedback.

Executive Summary

 

95% of new products fail. Why do most products fail? It boils down to not engaging with and listening to customer feedback. Successful product development depends on customer engagement throughout the process. Customer obsessed product development leads to high quality products, lower customer churn, and efficient use of resources, all leading to a faster time-to-market and increased ROI.

This blog post explains the three stages of product development that most often are the root cause of product failure when done wrong, and lists the solutions needed to solve these problems. Throughout the product development process, it’s important to be open-minded to customer feedback, to follow the customers as a guide when developing the value proposition, and to use customer feedback as a measure of success, continuously listening to the customer feedback.

Be exploratory and open-minded to meet customer needs

 

The first phase of product development is the exploratory phase. This is the phase where companies seek to understand customer needs in order to eventually develop a product concept that has a place in the market. During this phase companies must remain open-minded and exploratory to best identify customer needs.

The problem is that most firms assume they already understand their customers. Organizations are not willing to challenge their existing line of thought and therefore they are not open to an objective realization of customer needs. They 1) ignore customer feedback 2) miss out on understanding customer experience pains and 3) interpret input based on their existing product thinking. In conclusion, they don’t get a holistic picture of gaps or opportunities in the market.

It’s important to enable customers to provide honest feedback on their experiences, their frustrations, what they’re missing, and what they need. Focus on functional and emotional needs. Address functional needs with customer feedback to ensure the product will tackle the right problems. Connect with customers to create a positive emotional association with the product. Solving customer emotional and functional needs prevents customer churn.

An openness to customer feedback in the early stages of product development will make all the difference in creating valuable products and experiences.

Be exploratory and open-minded to meet customer needs

 

The first phase of product development is the exploratory phase. This is the phase where companies seek to understand customer needs in order to eventually develop a product concept that has a place in the market. During this phase companies must remain open-minded and exploratory to best identify customer needs.

The problem is that most firms assume they already understand their customers. Organizations are not willing to challenge their existing line of thought and therefore they are not open to an objective realization of customer needs. They 1) ignore customer feedback 2) miss out on understanding customer experience pains and 3) interpret input based on their existing product thinking. In conclusion, they don’t get a holistic picture of gaps or opportunities in the market.

It’s important to enable customers to provide honest feedback on their experiences, their frustrations, what they’re missing, and what they need. Focus on functional and emotional needs. Address functional needs with customer feedback to ensure the product will tackle the right problems. Connect with customers to create a positive emotional association with the product. Solving customer emotional and functional needs prevents customer churn.

An openness to customer feedback in the early stages of product development will make all the difference in creating valuable products and experiences.

Follow customer guidance to create a clear value proposition

 

Once a company has completed the exploratory phase of product development, it is on to the strategic phase. In this phase, companies seek to develop tangible value propositions to align with customer value understanding.

Companies fail in this phase because they follow too many ideas. They identify customer needs, but fail to distinguish which of their value propositions align with these needs and which do not. They don’t kill off the bad ideas. They assume their concepts as true and don’t test them against the market. Because they don’t test their ideas against the market, companies can’t discern which value proposition actually connects with customer needs and which don’t.

Too many ideas drag out the strategic phase and increase time-to-market. Slow time-to-market leaves organizations behind the competitors.

To avoid this, it is necessary to develop a clear value proposition alongside the customers. Involve customers in proposition trade-offs to find the perfect value alignment. Examine the learnings about the market so far – what are the customer values, where are the market gaps, the needs that have been identified, and the proposed benefits the organization offers? Then, along with customer insights, convert these learnings into value propositions. Continuously test different ideas against the market, and use customer feedback as a guide to formulating the value proposition in a way that differentiates from the competition (see example, Zwipe case).

Aligning the customer’s vision for a product with the organization’s capabilities makes certain that fewer resources will be wasted on failed prototypes and irrelevant product features. The entire process will be more efficient. More focus, less waste and faster time-to-market .

Follow customer guidance to create a clear value proposition

 

Once a company has completed the exploratory phase of product development, it is on to the strategic phase. In this phase, companies seek to develop tangible value propositions to align with customer value understanding.

Companies fail in this phase because they follow too many ideas. They identify customer needs, but fail to distinguish which of their value propositions align with these needs and which do not. They don’t kill off the bad ideas. They assume their concepts as true and don’t test them against the market. Because they don’t test their ideas against the market, companies can’t discern which value proposition actually connects with customer needs and which don’t.

Too many ideas drag out the strategic phase and increase time-to-market. Slow time-to-market leaves organizations behind the competitors.

To avoid this, it is necessary to develop a clear value proposition alongside the customers. Involve customers in proposition trade-offs to find the perfect value alignment. Examine the learnings about the market so far – what are the customer values, where are the market gaps, the needs that have been identified, and the proposed benefits the organization offers? Then, along with customer insights, convert these learnings into value propositions. Continuously test different ideas against the market, and use customer feedback as a guide to formulating the value proposition in a way that differentiates from the competition (see example, Zwipe case).

Aligning the customer’s vision for a product with the organization’s capabilities makes certain that fewer resources will be wasted on failed prototypes and irrelevant product features. The entire process will be more efficient. More focus, less waste and faster time-to-market .

Constantly improve and refine the product concept with customer feedback

 

The third and final phase of the product development process is the tactical phase. Products fail in this phase because the product concept does not deliver on the identified customer needs, and because companies attempt to copy their competitors rather than rely on their own market research.

Often products don’t meet customer needs because, while companies might have identified the needs in the earlier stages of product development, they don’t continuously get customer input, developing and proofing the solution in the next stages of the process. They don’t engage with their customers.

Companies must have customers help establish and prioritize potential concepts for products or services. Do this by continuously getting customer feedback on important features of the product, and stay focused on only developing products that create value. Be open to consistently improving the product concepts. Use the feedback to measure success, rebuild and improve when necessary. It’s critical that organizations focus on their customers as a guide, rather than look to what their competitors are doing. Following competitors rather than the customer will lead to missed opportunities and failed products.

Constantly improve and refine the product concept with customer feedback

 

The third and final phase of the product development process is the tactical phase. Products fail in this phase because the product concept does not deliver on the identified customer needs, and because companies attempt to copy their competitors rather than rely on their own market research.

Often products don’t meet customer needs because, while companies might have identified the needs in the earlier stages of product development, they don’t continuously get customer input, developing and proofing the solution in the next stages of the process. They don’t engage with their customers.

Companies must have customers help establish and prioritize potential concepts for products or services. Do this by continuously getting customer feedback on important features of the product, and stay focused on only developing products that create value. Be open to consistently improving the product concepts. Use the feedback to measure success, rebuild and improve when necessary. It’s critical that organizations focus on their customers as a guide, rather than look to what their competitors are doing. Following competitors rather than the customer will lead to missed opportunities and failed products.

Conclusion

Incorporating customer experience into the product development process paves the way for high quality products and loyal customers that value the product solution. Customer feedback allows organizations to identify customer needs, develop value propositions that customers connect with, and to refine their product concepts and deliver the value they promised. It’s the key to effective use of resources and efficient time-to-market.

 

Want to implement a customer-centric approach to your organization? We’re here for you. See more about how our Insights Hub platform can help you uplift your user experience.

 

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Conclusion

Incorporating customer experience into the product development process paves the way for high quality products and loyal customers that value the product solution. Customer feedback allows organizations to identify customer needs, develop value propositions that customers connect with, and to refine their product concepts and deliver the value they promised. It’s the key to effective use of resources and efficient time-to-market.

 

Want to implement a customer-centric approach to your organization? We’re here for you. See more about how our Insights Hub platform can help you uplift your user experience.

 

< Go to blog overview

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