Understanding and fulfilling each individual customer's needs has been recognized as a great challenge for companies across industries. Customer needs management, which is essentially concerned with the relationship between customer needs in the customer domain and product specifications or function requirements in the product domain, needs to be well addressed in the product development process. However, there is a lack of effective knowledge-based techniques supporting the implementation of a customer needs management system to obtain accurate customer needs statements. In this paper, a customer needs management system (CNMS) that combines the ontology customer needs representation (OCNR) system with the Involvement/Thinking/Feeling (ITF) customer segmentation model is presented to obtain accurate customer needs statements. Through classifying different types of customers based on innovative characteristics, acquiring customer needs by involving the identified innovative customers and using the obtained customer needs to generate more accurate needs statements. The detailed process of overall system implementation was presented. System evaluations, including terminology evaluation and high level needs statements evaluation, were conducted. Results and findings from the customer needs management system implementation were also discussed and summarized.
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