Author: Dr. Richard Mayr
If we want to understand what customers expect from product manufacturers in IT in the future, it is of course crucial and revealing to ask the customers in the first place. This was done in great detail in a Gartner study that deals exclusively with the topic of “What customers really want”. Three main points were analyzed:
1) how important is the product strategy and roadmap to customers
2) how decisively do customer feedbacks flow into the product
3) which pricing models do customers prefer
Let’s address the first point first: the study found that for 89% of customers, the product manufacturer’s roadmap is a decisive factor in the purchasing decision. Compared to other purchasing factors, this is rated above average. This is surprising, because many product manufacturers often completely neglect the presentation of the planned roadmap or do not have a far-reaching product strategy.
The second question regarding the importance of influencing customer feedback in the product development strategy was answered even more clearly. 91% consider it absolutely crucial that their feedback reaches the open ears of product manufacturers. Customers often feel that they are not taken seriously, or they shy away from the effort or do not want to jeopardize the relationship with their manufacturer by providing customer feedback too directly. Every manufacturer is probably aware of this problem in some way, but it is often considered a nuisance to have to deal with customer problems instead of coming up with great new functionalities in their own lab.
The third point deals with pricing models. More and more customers don’t just want to be told a price, they want to work with the manufacturer to come up with a pricing model that suits the customer. 90% of the customers surveyed see this as quite decisive when selecting a new supplier. Particularly today, when more and more rental models are coming into play, runtimes or even a consideration of consumption criteria are becoming more and more decisive in flexibly adapting costs to customer needs. Transparency, flexibility and predictability of costs play a major role in deciding which supplier to use.
The bottom line is that customers want to know how their chosen product will develop in the future. They also want to share their experience in the process. Expectation does not only refer to the present, but also to the planned or expected functionalities! All this coupled with a cost model that is not off the shelf but fits like a tailor-made suit!
Now that we know what customers expect from vendors, the question remains how to best meet those needs. Find out in our next blog post which methods have proven themselves in everyday life.