As a supplier, do you understand or appreciate what it is that your customers are really buying?
Have you identified your market segment and have you profiled your ideal customer?
It's so important to focus on what it is that you are delivering to your customers. What is the need that you are satisfying? Have you asked them? When was the last time you conducted an impartial survey of your customers? Have you ever surveyed your customers?
Customers today are more informed about products and services than at any time in the past. As such, it is most likely that they understand more about you and your product or service than you do about what their requirements are. As suppliers, we need to reach beyond fulfilling the obvious and aim to satisfy their real requirements.
The hospitality industry has generally been more adaptive in this area. They understand that in providing that meal to you, they need to match it with quality of service, ambiance of the environment, etc. Extending beyond this, they may provide access to entertainment, accommodation, or even transport services to and from your home. In this scenario, they are offering to provide a good night out, not just a nice meal.
When a customer purchases a new car, finance is invariably available at the point of sale, and it is not unusual to be provided with roadside assistance for the term of the warranty period. How about a mobile service van to come to you for the regular servicing? You are not just buying a car on the day, you are purchasing comfort and practical, reliable, personal transport for some years.
It's easy to ignore the true motivations as to why customers purchase from us. If we can understand this, then we can be more effective in satisfying their needs. Widening our view to provide a more comprehensive solution for our customers is essential in today's environment. In the cycle of continuous improvement, this is the next step in "raising the bar", but to really achieve this, we need to place ourselves in our customer's shoes.
What do you think?