Do your customers know what they want or not?

As a business, there are many questions you ask yourself and your employees. Some include: What are customers looking for? What do we have to offer them? Where is the best place to target potential customers, etc…however, one question that you probably haven’t thought much about is “Do your customers know what they want or not?”

This might seem like a silly question, but it’s an important one, because most likely customers don’t really know until they’ve seen it. Customers may know technical wants, such as longer shopping hours at a store, more for-sale items, more variety, but most don’t know the product they’re looking for until it’s been advertised on TV, radio, magazines, or online.

How do companies come up with product ideas?

Here are a few questions to get you thinking:

  1. Was the IPod, IPad or IPhone developed from customer feedback on surveys?
  2. Did the Wii come about because of customer feedback cards or by cold-calling individuals?
  3. Were scooters the idea of a bunch of kids needing more exercise?

Your answers should be a resounding NO! Customers cannot do your thinking for you; they like what they see, when they see it. So, how do companies come up with their products? The role of creation belongs to you and you alone; however, you can go by trends. What things do people need? What will make their lives more convenient? What is something they will enjoy? What is something they can do with their families?

How to differentiate between needs and wants

When assessing the needs of your customer, it’s always important to understand how to tell the difference between their needs and wants, but eventually developing something they can’t live without. Let me explain. It’s a given that individuals need clothes, but will just any style of clothing suffice? Fads come and go; an individual’s style usually stays the same; and because we are all unique, we look for something that goes with our own personality.

Most people don’t want to be wearing the same thing as their co-workers or friends, so companies have to develop a variety of products, a product that sets a customer apart, one that customers will come back to again and again, resulting in the product they need, not just want. It’s easy to say “I need a new car;” nevertheless, you don’t just want a lemon, you want the pie with the whipped cream on top.

So, do your customers know what they want? Probably not, but you can develop a product that they never knew they needed and now can’t live without.

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