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The Importance of Understanding Your Customer's Requirements - to Build the Right Solutions

Industry Developments
Do you understand your Customers?
15/09/14

The Importance of Understanding Your Customer's Requirements - to Build the Right Solutions

If you strive for perfect delivery in today's economic conditions, you need client focused execution. Thanks to tough competition, profit margins have become thinner. Take a few wrong steps and you could land in failure.

Many businesses do not understand the true requirements of their customers. In most cases, the success of a product or service depends upon finding this most basic piece of information. Many businesses believe that they know what their customers want. However, the same organisations sometimes launch products that fail to reach their true potential. If they knew what their customers actually wanted, this would not happen.

To understand what the customers need, a company must take the time to observe and interact with them. Field experts should understand the problems customers face. A thorough understanding of the environment where they work, live and play is required to design successful client solutions. The experts also need an understanding and address the customer’s specific issues and concerns. Once they know what these requirements and concerns are, they can then apply their creative efforts to build a compelling solution.

It is essential for the company to spend some time understanding the way its client business model operates. To build a successful solution, the team should know how the client workspace is utilised and find the right channel to communicate with them. For example: Do they insist on face-to-face interactions? Or are they comfortable with communication via the internet and email? Has video conferencing replaced across the table meetings? Do they work in small teams or large groups? 

Understanding the Clients' Aspirations

People are driven by aspirations. The problem with aspirations is that they are hard to interpret. The first step to building a product or service that will meet the client's requirements and aspirations is to understand what they are. Playing back this understanding will also help the client figure out what benefit they will gain. The next step is to develop a scalable, flexible solution that will cater to the clients’ present as well as future aspirations.

The planned solution should match the aims of the occupier. It should be able to fulfill their dreams, hopes, and aspirations. Generally, clients are not fully aware of their aspirations, but their marketing department should be. Every partnership has to be mutually beneficial. In a commercial transaction, both the buyer and the seller have to benefit, otherwise the interaction will not be sustainable. Both the parties have to win.

Delivering Client Solutions

A property and construction company should try to understand their client's opportunity and focus on providing a successful solution tailor-made for them. It must provide solutions which mirror the challenges.

The approach for this has to be collaborative and open, and the company should make the recommendations only after carefully considering and analysing the specific needs of their clients.

Understanding Clients' Vision and Their Requirements

When defining the requirements and aspirations of clients, the engineers, architects and technologists must have the answers to a huge array of questions. They should know what the client expects from them and how they will respond to any variation. They should also figure out the aspects of the project that can be changed without affecting the satisfaction levels of their customers. They should not compromise on the things that are necessary to fulfill the requirements of the customer. Not investing in new ‘back of house’ equipment or altering the methods of installation with the objective of saving money will be counter-productive. If the quality of the product suffers, the construction company will be in serious trouble, but ultimately it is the client who will be left with a sub-standard asset.

Putting the Expertise to Use

A business needs to customise its messages to appeal to a range of clients. Since different clients have different requirements, a solution must be able to accommodate most of these requirements. The business should have a bespoke approach when it interacts with each of these clients to understand what truly motivates them, what they are trying to achieve, and what benefits them.

Initial Project Phase Matters a lot

If there is a chance that the initial design might not work for the customer, the team should not push on to the next stages in the process.

It is no secret that understanding the requirements and aspirations of the customer is essential to running a successful business. If the business is accommodating and capable of paying attention to detail, they will be able to go a long way. In order to realise the initial vision, the business should be able to visualise every stage in the process from concept and design to delivery, handover and operations. If they get the concept right, by understanding the client and the initial design is perfect, they are unlikely to encounter many problems along the journey.

If the decision makers can precisely quantify and calculate the most important elements of customer satisfaction, they will be able to ensure that best quality is delivered.

Understanding and consistency from start to finish is crucial for delivery of the vision.