Few companies, and few sales people, truly know what individual customers need.

Identifying a customer’s needs

Matching capabilities and customer potential is the essence of value creation. Value for the customer exists only in the context of the customer’s value creating system. Unfortunately, few companies, and few sales people, make a detailed evaluation of the needs of each individual customer. Instead, broad segmentation schemes suggest that an industry or a demographic group has similar needs. This is seldom true. Within industries and within socio-demographic customer segments individual needs may differ a lot. To address this challenge companies have to understand how different customers appreciate value in different ways.

The first important consideration is to remember that cost efficiency and customer focus go hand in hand. One has to, both, pursue cost efficiency, by differentiated service processes, and meet individualized customer expectations, through behavioral segmentation. Customers who want more have to pay more. Inversely, customers that want less should be able to get what they want at a competitive price. This is true customer orientation. Based on Synocus’ experiences there are four generic behavioral customer segments. Their expectations are, in order of increased capability requirements: products, applications, account management, and co-orchestration.