4 Strategies For Satisfying Customer Needs

Nicolaj SiggelkowDecember 19, 20192 min

When we ask managers to list the drivers of willingness-to-pay of their customers, their main focus is usually on tangible and intangible aspects of their products or services, such as quality attributes and brand. Obviously, these are important factors, but the willingness-to-pay of a customer can be influenced by a much broader set of drivers.

Every transaction your customer has with you is actually an entire journey, and at every step of this journey there is an opportunity to either delight your customer or have your customer suffer a pain point. We find it helpful to distinguish three phases of the customer journey: Recognize—the part of the journey where a latent need of the customer arises and either the customer or the firm is made aware of it; Request—the part of the journey where the need is translated into a request for a solution to the particular need; and finally Respond—the part of the journey where the customer receives and experiences the solution.

Our research into connected strategies has revealed four distinct approaches that firms use to reduce the friction of this customer journey—in other words, four different connected customer experiences. These customer experiences are distinguished by what part of the customer journey they affect.

1. The respond-to-desire connected customer experience starts at the point in the journey when a customer knows precisely what he or she wants. The firm’s goal is to make it as easy as possible for the customer to order, pay for, and receive the desired product in the desired quantity.

2. The curated offering customer experience acts further upstream in the journey by helping the customer find the best possible option that would fulfill his or her needs. Both respond-to-desire and curated offering can only work if customers are aware of their needs.

3. Firms creating a coach behavior customer experience help their customers at exactly that part of their journey: they raise awareness of needs and nudge the customer into action.

4. Lastly, when the firm is able to be aware of a customer need even before the customer is aware of it, it is possible to create an automatic execution customer experience, where the firm solves the need of the customer proactively.

It is important to note that automatic execution should not be seen as the most desirable customer experience for every transaction. Customers differ in how much agency they prefer, and for some transactions the risk of getting it wrong with automatic execution outweighs the benefits. While technologists might see automatic execution as nirvana, good old-fashioned customer understanding is necessary to offer the most relevant experience to your customers, which may require you to create a range of connected customer experiences.

Contributed to Branding Strategy Insider by: Nicolaj Siggelkow and Christian Terweisch. Excerpted from Connected Strategy: Building Continuous Customer Relationships For Competitive Advantage, (Harvard Business Review Press, May 21, 2019] Copyright 2019 by Harvard Business School Publishing Corporation. All rights reserved.

The Blake Project Can Help: The Customer Experience Workshop

Branding Strategy Insider is a service of The Blake Project: A strategic brand consultancy specializing in Brand Research, Brand Strategy, Brand Growth and Brand Education

FREE Publications And Resources For Marketers

Nicolaj Siggelkow

Connect With Us