16.5. Selecting Customers for Interaction

NOTE

A firm may obtain input from the customers with whom they have a close relationship because confidentiality can be a major issue, especially for business-to-business products and services.

What types of customers should be selected for interaction? There are three criteria that should be considered for customer selection. First, a firm may obtain input from the customers with whom they have a close relationship because confidentiality can be a major issue, especially for business-to-business products and services. A product manager can trust close customers to keep sensitive information confidential. A close customer may also display his/her commitment in conducting NPD activities efficiently. For instance, while developing the 777 aircraft, Boeing initially obtained input from eight different airlines from North America, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific region, but actively interacted only with its close customers such as United Airlines, British Airways, and All Nippon Airlines (Betts, 1994).

Table 16.1. CUSTOMER ACTIVITIES AT KEY STAGES OF THE DEVELOPMENT PROCESS.
Development StagesActivities Performed by the Customers
Idea generationDescribe needs and wants; suggest desired features, benefits, attributes and preferences via brainstorming sessions; identify problems not solved by existing products; evaluate existing products by suggesting likes and dislikes; identify gaps in the market; provide a wish list (product requirements).
Idea ...

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