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What is Unmet Needs Identification?

The primary goal of product and service innovation is to create solutions that address unmet customer needs. Unmet need identification is the process of determining technical and non-technical customer requirements that are unfulfilled by current products or services available in the market.

 When to Use Unmet Needs Identification?

Unmet needs identification is used in multiple product and service development stages, including the exploratory phase, maturity, or post-launch phases of a product life cycle.

  • 1. In the exploratory phase: By understanding unmet needs, the company can focus its efforts on developing a new product or service to address these needs. It also helps in identifying needs that are most important to address and which have an impact on a larger group or target segment.
  • 2. At the maturity or post-launch phase: Identifying unmet needs allows the company to modify its offering by adding additional features during a product or service’s maturity phase, allowing the company to keep current and new customers satisfied by meeting their evolving requirements.

 Why use Unmet Needs Identification

  • Companies spend a significant amount of time and money when developing and introducing new features in current offerings or launching new products. In order for these new solutions to be successful in the market, they need to ensure the new offerings address the current market needs and resonate with current and new customers.
  • Conducting unmet needs identification also ensures that companies don’t spend time and resources developing features or products that are not required by the market. 

How is Unmet Needs Identification done

There are multiple approaches to identifying unmet needs:

  • 1. Using existing customer data à leveraging existing customer data is an efficient way of identifying unmet needs if it is available. Purchase history, reviews, customer support chat logs, and past surveys can prove to be a gold mine of information that provides insigyhts into common challenges and pain points faced by customers
  • 2. Stakeholder and customer interviews à Company stakeholders who are directly in contact with customers, like sales representatives and support staff, can provide rich insights on customer unmet needs and identification of product and solution capability gaps. Additionally, in-depth interviews with customers help in identifying the unmet needs and determining what can be done to enhance the customer experience
  • 3. Mapping customer journey à A customer journey map provides a comprehensive view of each step in the process that customers go through while interacting with a product or service. Understanding these touchpoints is critical in identifying opportunities for customer retention and acquisition
  • 4. Ethnographic research à This involves observing a customer’s habits and interaction with a product or service, which enables the identification of unmet needs.
  • 5. Competitive Analysis à In-depth knowledge of competitor solutions available in the market and how they meet customer need requirements is essential to identifying unmet needs and solution gaps in the market.

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