The possible impact of a poor customer design process on customer relationships and requirements
When a client requests a product for a company to design and manufacture for them, the company’s designer needs to communicate with the client to ensure that they know what is being requested, make suggestions, and generally make a successful product to be put on the market for selling. When designing a product for a specified target audience within the public rather than for a singular person or business, the company needs to be able to complete the project with perhaps less communication to guide them, and so more attention may need to be paid to the design process. The design process has a huge impact on the final outcome, and hence plays an important role in whether the product is a success on the market or not. It is therefore vital that – to increase the chances of succession – the requirements for the target audience are taken into account.
The design process usually starts with some research and some form of a design brief. During these stages, the company may use surveys and questionnaires to communicate with members of the targeted audience to understand what would make them want to buy a product, and what they would want it to be able to do. There are two different categories to take into account when identifying the customer’s needs: articulated and latent needs. Articulated needs include the most important factors that the product must meet, whereas latent needs are features that the customer may not realise they could need until they actually have that option in front of them. For example if you were to design a kettle, the imperative needs would be features such as making the product so that it boils water to 100°C and being able to see how much water is in the kettle, whereas latent needs would include features like having a cordless product and making the body of the kettle change colour when it has boiled. The company would also have to think about who their target audience actually is to get the most succession out of the product. For example, if the iPhone was targeted at elderly people, chances are the product wouldn’t have sold very well since that’s not what that particular group of people are interested in. Choosing the right target audience can therefore be the difference between succession and failure for a product.
One of – if not the – most important parts of the design process is the technical specification. A technical specification contains all the specific robust details that the product must conform to, and can therefore be used as a guide for when the product is being designed and manufactured. It can help the company get a better idea and understanding of what the customer wants of the product, and the concepts included are sorted in order of importance using a robust ranking system so that it is clear what notions are more essential for the product to become a success. Without a technical specification, or all the required information, the outcome would not meet the specific needs and demands of the target audience, and would therefore affect the product’s succession.
In the hierarchy of concepts which a product needs to conform to, regulations and standards are of the upmost importance, the main one being British Standards. British Standards are the legislation that all products need to meet to be allowed to be sold in the UK. This protects the customer by ensuring that the product meets expectations and is safe to use before it is put on the market to be sold. Products that meet British Standards will have the BS kite on either the packaging, the product itself, or both. If a product does not conform to British Standards, it will not be considered to be safe for the public, and therefore couldn’t be sold in the UK.
Without these stages in the design process, it would be highly unlikely for the product to meet the target audience’s requirements, and therefore wouldn’t be successful. This could affect a company’s succession in future products, as the audience would be sceptical due to its previous ‘failures’ in products, therefore affecting the relationship with customers as a result.
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