As Clients' Needs Change, So Does Your Business

4 min read

A company’s customers and their problems and needs are the very source of its business potential. Providing products and services that cater to their requirements and preferences, however, is just one part of the story.Developing lasting relationships that transcend a potential business transformation is a completely different challenge. Considering the entire business organization ecosystem can help get your clients to join you on your transformation journey.

In the context of the Trexcelerator Transformation Board, the building block Clients refers to customers who purchase and pay for the solutions you offer, as well as to users who interact with your products and services. Clients can be individual consumers or representatives of a business or non-profit organization. Moreover, they can be members of your company, or part of an external target audience that may or may not yet be active customers. Regardless of which specific characteristics apply, in most of the cases, clients are human beings.

Business Transformations Regularly Impact Client Relationships

As such, their purchasing decisions are regularly driven by both rational and emotional decision factors. Often, customers cannot explicitly express their imminent needs or preferences, or why they chose one product over alternatives.

Identifying relevant clients’ problems, needs, and preferences is a crucial, yet very difficult part of a comprehensive business design. This is even more true for a business in transformation, as the organization is about to enter new grounds where the company’s current understanding of client characteristics may not yet be fully developed. Hence, generating a deep and thorough vision about how to design the client relationship in the context of the transformation is a key area of action.

Three Factors Drive Client Attraction: Value, Usability, and Emotional Appeal

A client’s perspective regarding the products and services offered by an enterprise is mainly driven by three different factors.

ValuePerspective – First and foremost, in order to be an attractive and valuable solution for clients, products and services must eliminate customers’ imminent problems, support them in completing tasks at hand (or completing them in an improved fashion), or provide other benefits like cost savings or pleasure and plain diversion.Recognizing and addressing core benefits and related value creators for an enterprise’s audience enables companies to successfully re-design solutions and transform their business.

PracticalPerspective – Next, the solutions a company offers to customers must work in practice from a client perspective. Besides providing effective features and functionalities, this includes product usability and service quality. Quite often, a solution’s basic value proposition is hampered in practice by bad user experience, forcing customers to turn their backs on a product that indeed could prove beneficial in one or more other ways.

The EmotionalPerspective – Third, the attractiveness of a solution is influenced by clients’ “What does me using the product tell about me?” consideration and the subsequent emotional perception of the product. Flight shaming is only the most recent relevant example.Essentially, an airline offers a cheap flight across the Atlantic to spend a shopping weekend in a vibrant metropolis. This may be an attractive and easy-to-realize value proposition, and, therefore, can constitute a nearly irresistible offer. However, as air travel has become socially inadmissible in your personal environment, you may feel better rejecting the offer, considering the impression it leaves on your kids, friends, and colleagues.

Consider Clients as a Crucial Area of Action in Your Transformation Journey

It is therefore crucial for companies to develop a comprehensive transformation approach that thoroughly integrates your future clients’ engagement with your solutions and organization. The key to successfully designing the future client relationships is to understand how the enterprise interacts (i.e., “communicates”)as a whole with its clients, and vice versa.

In the context of a business transformation, it is especially important to understand that all aspects of your business speak in some form to clients and impact their perceptions about your solution portfolio and brand:

The way you use technology in product design (i.e., “Alexa…”) may either be perceived as innovative in a beneficial sense or intrusive in a threatening manner.  Your employees’ displays of motivation, competence, and commitment in customer service may be a valuable asset in practically enabling your customers to easily use services offered (e.g., “I’m happy to help”), or can be the source of disappointment and frustration (e.g.,“Sorry, there is nothing I can do.”).  In the eyes of your clients, your corporate culture may support your branding as a socially responsible enterprise (e.g., “Ben & Jerry’s”) or may represent alack of true purpose.

Design Future Client Relationships in Line With Other Areas of Action

OurTransformation Board can help you reflect on the dependencies between the Clients and other Areas of Action of your transformation. It provides a comprehensive structure to develop, elaborate, assess, and improve your client relationship design in the context of your transformation strategy. When using it to evaluate the Area of Action Clients, consider the following questions:

  • Which external developments—whether market driven, triggered by competition, or resulting from changes in the social environment—influence and change clients’ needs and preferences?
  • Are there hidden customer problems that can be uncovered and addressed in the context of the business transformation?
  • How do transformational changes in other areas of action reflect on the client relationships? Will the adjusted solution portfolio cause a change in the target audience? Will a change in technology impact customers perception of our products and services?
  • What does our client base say about us?

To learn more about the building blocks of the Transformation Board, check out the blog on our website, or participate in one of our training seminars.

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