Understanding Customer Requirements

Posted by on Apr 18, 2012 in Design for Lean Six Sigma, Lean Six Sigma | 0 comments

Understanding what your customers really want is sometimes frustrating for a new group of Lean Six Sigma students to grasp.  Customers may not fully understand what they want, or they can be awfully vague.  In addition, their attitudes may change over time.  It is usually easier for organizations that already have an effective system for translating the Voice of the Customer (VOC) into measurable customer requirements for teams to validate customer specifications and start to gather data immediately.  Without this data, getting the relevant customer input will take some time and effort.

Teams should be on the lookout for two critical categories of customer requirements, output requirements and service requirements.

  • Output requirements are the features of the final product and service delivered to the customer.
  • Service requirements are more subjective ways in which the customer expects to be treated and served during the process and answer questions concerning “How should we interact with the and treat customers during our transactions?”  These requirements usually surface during “moments of truth” when customers come in contact with your organization’s products, services, and employees.

A clear understanding and attention to the needs of customers is mandatory and will require a combination of discipline, persistence, creativity, and sensitivity.

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