Bring The Clients In
– Input from Outsiders
Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.
In a Nutshell
The concept of involving customers in product development is not new. It was pioneered in the 1930s in Proctor & Gamble as part of a product management strategy, which Hewlett Packard implemented successfully to enjoy an unprecedented 20% growth between 1943 to 1993.
However, it was really with the software boom that customers started to become actively involved in product development. As consumers become more educated, the power between consumers and companies is evening out. So much so that today, it is unthinkable to ship out a product without having it tested with users and customers.
Yet, there are still many businesses which are afraid to engage with their customers. Developing physical products is an iterative process and customer insight saves valuable resources. But choosing to engage with the customer requires a mindset shift and businesses should educate themselves especially if they are concerned about confidentiality. Unlike a few decades back, customer feedback on early product concepts and prototypes is also easier to obtain.
Engaging with your customers can start with something as simple as a survey but should also transition into capturing actual behavioral data so that there is independent and objective insight. By ignoring customers in your product development process, you’re likely to miss out on valuable opinions and insights that could transform your offerings. Involving customers is ultimately about finding better solutions that work for them while being efficient with your marketing dollars.