Understanding Customer Needs

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Understanding Customer Needs

One of the primary objectives of customer immersion activities is to generate new customer insights. Insights are different from just observations in that they identify the underlying behavior and thinking process of the customer. It is important to keep on finding new customer insights because over time, customer behaviors, needs and thinking patterns change, old insights become common knowledge, and the company which responds to new insights the fastest is the one that gains tremendously.

Therefore, during customer immersion we must watch out for and highlight what doesn’t make sense. Is the customer saying something that: - You haven’t heard before?
- Seems counter-intuitive?
- Is the opposite of what you believe?
- Only comes out after lots of probing?
These kinds of feedback are especially valuable and should be highlighted.
Here’s a small anecdote about an insight that changed the way the world did something – take photos – and how the insight continues to be relevant today:
One day, the 3 year old daughter of physicist Dr. Edwin Land asked him a simple question when he took her photo – “Why can’t I see them now?”. The question intrigued Dr. Land and set him on the quest to ‘solve’ the problem of instant photography. The resultant line of Polaroid cameras were wildly popular for many decades. I think the insight is clear.

In more recent times, the same question was answered differently by Kodak to create the first digital camera solutions, that enabled customers to not only see their photos instantly but also discard or retake poor pictures without any cost to them. Thus the digital camera is taking over the world, and film is slowly dwindling away. Can you imagine which insight will drive the next wave of...
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