Do we really know what our customers want?

asachristiander's picture

If there is anything I have learned since I started working with customer understanding, it’s that it’s risky to assume you know what other people might like. It is so easy to place oneself as a spokesperson for others, thinking that everyone should prefer one solution over another.

More than once, though, I have been completely surprised about what the customer prefers. At the end of the day, it is the customer who chooses to buy or not to buy.

As director of the product development process, I am responsible for the Product Innovation Process on a Group level at ASSA ABLOY, parent company of HID Global, I have the privilege of working with all our companies to develop the way we work with innovation.. The process is designed to help us reach our vision of becoming leaders in innovation and providing solutions that give true added value to our customers.

At ASSA ABLOY, we often sell to integrators, wholesalers or installers. Their views and needs are very important to us, but we also need to complement this with a view of what our end users want. End users provide us feedback as to how they use our products, what they are trying to achieve, how they want them to work or look and what makes them unsatisfied with today’s solutions.

To get our hands, or rather our eyes and ears, on this information, visiting our customers in their daily environment is very good as you get an understanding of their entire situation. We also get the opportunity to observe what they do and ask questions like: ‘show me what you mean’?

Meeting online on the Internet can be useful too - particularly if customers are spread across the world, which is often the case for ASSA ABLOY and for HID Global.

In our online meeting place, (we call this the Future Lab) we can interact with our customers and our customers can meet each other.

Here, influential decision makers and end users in the security industry can find in depth articles on security topics, such as encryption, airport security, power harvesting and much more. But more importantly, we use the Future Lab to consult with the Lab members on trends, problems and opportunities they see in the industry. In addition we interact with the Lab members to test new product concepts.

We find that the more we learn about the problems our customers and end users face on a daily basis, the easier it gets to come up with innovative solutions.

Do you also wish to influence future products of the ASSA ABLOY Group? Make them fit your specific needs better? Visit the Future Lab at to have a look or sign up for your free membership.

I look forward to interacting more with you in the future.