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The Impact of a Poor Customer Design Process

Claire Miller is studying a degree in Aerospace Engineering and is currently battling with MATLAB for her dissertation. Snacks are welcome.

If you were to design a kettle, the imperative needs would be features such as making the product so that it boils water to 100°C and being able to see how much water is in the kettle.

If you were to design a kettle, the imperative needs would be features such as making the product so that it boils water to 100°C and being able to see how much water is in the kettle.

When a client asks a company to design and manufacture a product for them, the company’s designer needs to communicate with the client to ensure that they know what is being requested, make suggestions, and generally make a successful product to be put on the market for selling.

When designing a product for a specified target audience within the public, rather than for a single person or business, the company needs to be able to complete the project with perhaps less communication to guide them, and so more attention may need to be paid to the design process.

The design process has a huge impact on the final outcome and hence plays an important role in whether the product is a success on the market or not. It is therefore vital, to increase the chances of success, to take into account the requirements of the target audience.

Stage One: Research and Design Brief

The design process usually starts with some research and some form of a design brief. During these stages, the company may use surveys and questionnaires to communicate with members of the targeted audience to understand what would make them want to buy a product, and what they would want it to be able to do.

There are two different categories to take into account when identifying the customer’s needs: articulated and latent needs. Articulated or imperative needs include the most important factors that the product must meet, whereas latent needs are features that the customer may not realise they could need until they actually have that option in front of them.

For example, if you were to design a kettle, the imperative needs would be features, such as making the product so that it boils water to 100°C and being able to see how much water is in the kettle, whereas latent needs would include features like having a cordless product and making the body of the kettle change colour when it has boiled.

Stage Two: Define Target Audience

The company would also have to think about who their target audience actually is to get the most succession out of the product. For example, if the iPhone was targeted at elderly people, chances are the product wouldn’t have sold very well since that’s not what that particular group of people are interested in.

Choosing the right target audience can, therefore, be the difference between succession and failure for a product.

Stage Three: Include a Detailed Technical Specification

One of the most important parts of the design process, if not the most important part, is the technical specification. A technical specification contains all the specific robust details that the product must conform to, and can, therefore, be used as a guide for when the product is being designed and manufactured. It can help the company get a better idea and understanding of what the customer wants of the product, and the concepts included are sorted in order of importance using a robust ranking system so that it is clear what notions are more essential for the product to become a success.

Without a technical specification or all the required information, the outcome would not meet the specific needs and demands of the target audience, and would, therefore, affect the product’s succession.

Stage Four: Adhere to Regulation and Standards

In the hierarchy of concepts which a product needs to conform to, regulations and standards are of the utmost importance, the main one being British Standards. British Standards are the legislation that all products need to meet to be allowed to be sold in the UK. This protects the customer by ensuring that the product meets expectations and is safe to use before it is put on the market to be sold.

Products that meet British Standards will have the BS kite on either the packaging, the product itself, or both. If a product does not conform to British Standards, it will not be considered to be safe for the public, and therefore couldn’t be sold in the UK.


Without these stages in the design process, it would be highly unlikely for the product to meet the target audience’s requirements, and therefore wouldn’t be successful. This could affect a company’s succession in future products, as the audience would be sceptical due to its previous ‘failures’ in products, therefore affecting the relationship with customers as a result.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.


Petrina Nakalemo on May 23, 2019:

Thanks very much

sadam on October 09, 2018:

thank you , this is very helpful

Bernard Cribbins on February 05, 2018:

I wonder how many assignments this has made its way into

Arthur Plumb on October 03, 2016:

Just used this for my engineering assignment thanks shag

ali on January 28, 2016:

thank you

Stuart Carroll on January 12, 2016:

Please do not hesitate to do a presentation on the whole unit.

Stuart C on December 02, 2015:


Celia on December 02, 2015:

Come on guys give them a brake!

Ndimisu Nsingo on November 16, 2015:

Yes Mahesh! Hows life?

Ajay on December 11, 2014:

Jan, just use synonym feature

PolishJanMac on December 11, 2014:

god damn it how did you know sir

Mr Chavda on December 09, 2014:

I know what you're up to, you better not be plagiarising this.

Ash on October 18, 2013:

YOU MY FRIEND ARE A LEGEND! Thankyou soooooo much!!

superpipoy on June 27, 2012:

Sure. No problem. If you want to know more about customer service careers, you can find it on my hubs.


Claire Miller (author) from UK on June 27, 2012:

I'm glad to be of some use :)

superpipoy on June 27, 2012:

With this kind of customer service, the manufacturer or company representative should directly communicate with the client. This is to ensure that the client's requirements should be meet. Other companies hire or outsource customer service to save costs and headaches on their part. What they don't know is that there are some negative issues that could ruin their credibility to their clients.

Very helpful hub. Thanks for sharing. It gave me an idea on my next article to write.