“A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”— Steve Jobs
This statement by Steve Jobs is true not only in the consumer goods industry but is also true in the high tech business consumable products domain. In fact, this can’t be truer in the high-tech industries than in any other, as the products & services in the high-tech industries can get very complex technologically. At times, even the customer-owned operations personnel are not able to identify the need.
Therefore, in such a scenario, it becomes imperative that the customer relationship manager/account manager/sales person’s expertise is solicited by the customers in getting the right solution for their issues.
The conclusion above is further vetted by the companies such as Siemens, Johnson Controls, Schneider Electric, etc., who have focused on identifying what is required by their customers and have tried to package their products & services to cater to those specific requirements. Within Schneider Electric, there is a considerable focus on packaging the products/services in the manner that the customers would draw maximum advantage out of, and, at the same time; there is an equal focus on including enough flexibility so as the customers in different parts of the world can pick and choose as per the facility, budget, environment, and KPIs.
For example, only the manufacturing companies can understand that a particular device in the building management system in a facility requires regular maintenance at the device level and that the customer must have its spare parts as well else it may very well be a welcome to disaster. Therefore, the company would combine device inspection and repair service with spare parts inventory management, and offer to the customers as a bundle.
A very simple analogy of this dilemma can be seen in the form of hair shampoo and conditioner. There are many consumers who wash their hair using a shampoo but do not apply conditioner during or after washing. If an FMCG company bundles shampoo and conditioner together, then this does not necessarily mean that the FMCG company is trying to sell another product to the consumer, but it means that the FMCG company believes that the hair quality can be maintained or improved many folds by applying a conditioner, and hence, wants its customer to have this experience. Obviously, which conditioner is to be bought will be entirely dependent on the customer, as per the texture & length of hair, and the climate.
A good company makes products to satisfy its customer’s needs, a very good company makes products to satisfy unmet needs and an outstanding company makes products to satisfy the unknown, unidentified and unmet but relevant needs of its customers.