Technological advances have led to a complete transformation in the way businesses are conducted, and more so in case of programming. Conventionally, programming was product-centric and programmers focused more on product launches and new prototypes. Invariably, the trend has changed. With greater competition in software development, programmers tend to give greater importance to the demand side than the supply side. This simply means that programming is becoming customer-centric.
What is customer centric software development?
A customer-centric framework places the customer at the centre of all operations. The objective is to build and adapt any product or services, keeping in mind the needs of the consumer. Customer-centric development solely focuses on addressing consumer demands. Various approaches can drive a customer-centric framework. To begin with, basic prototyping can be a result of customer-centrism, where the idea originates from within a customer base. More often than not, a different approach is observed. Programmers generally tend to indulge in customer-centric development after the initial stages, adapting their ideas based on consumer behaviour. This results in software that drives customer satisfaction and loyalty. Therefore, customer-centric software development is-
- Flexible- Adapts to the changing customer behaviour and needs
- Fast paced- Provides continuous updates and incremental changes
- Engaging- Involves customer base expertise at multiple levels
Why do programmers need to focus on customer-centric development?
While it is a no-brainer why any business should be customer-centric, there are a few reasons that programmers should consider to make their products customer centric-
- With the rapid technological changes, customers prefer software that can adapt to their changing behaviour. It is important for programmers to understand that not all of their customers will be tech-savvy and therefore, incorporating all new technologies without considering the consequences for the customer base can be detrimental.
- With so many competitors offering similar technologies and products, it would be a self-defeating move to not create a product that keeps customers at the centre
- Finally, a customer-centric product addresses the existing and projected needs of the customer base that becomes a precursor for customer satisfaction. Invariably, in today’s world of cutthroat competition, customer-centric development is the only way to loyalty and sustainability.
How can programmers create a customer-centric framework?
The need for a customer-centric framework is uniform across all industries; however, the journey to develop such a framework differs significantly. For instance, a customer-centric approach designed for a manufacturing plant will be very different from the one for software development. Following is a list of measures programmers can undertake for customer-centric development-
Start young- It is never too early for customer engagement
One of the mistakes that programmers often make is to not involve a customer-driven strategy from the very beginning. For many, customer-centric development is a later stage development. However, if you incorporate a customer-driven framework from the inception, adapting to customer needs is easier. This simply points to the fact that any framework that seeks to promote a consumer outlook reaps maximum benefits when applied young. The earlier the adoption, the greater the return. Therefore, programmers aspiring to undertake customer centric software development must do so from the initial stages of production, maybe start as early as in the phase of prototyping. This will give them a chance to grow with customer behaviour, making adaption natural rather than forced.
Communication is the key
Communication is definitely the backbone of any customer-centric framework. Unless you communicate with your audience, your understanding of market demand will be far from accurate. This is especially true for programmers. Most developers crunch codes from behind their computer screens and often have little idea of how the real users are or will react to their software. Thus, communication kicks in. the more programmers converse and communicate with their potential customers, the greater understanding they will have of how to position their product before its big market release. Constant communication with a solid customer base will also allow programmers to stay in touch with the ground reality and understand why consumers prefer the software they use. Therefore, communication can be an effective means of customer-centric market research for a programmer.
Feedback is the best source to improve and grow
While communication will give you a fair idea about the needs of your potential audience, misses and glitches will always be a part of a programmer’s journey. To reverse these misses, feedback becomes instrumental. Programmers must drive feedback at every stage of development from different target and open groups. This will help them gain a greater perspective about their product from a consumer’s standpoint. Once programmers are armed with enough feedback data, they can work through it to enhance customer experience and satisfaction. Therefore, a customer-centric framework becomes the means as well as the end.
The best ideas most often come from unexpected sources
Many programmers may club this strategy as a part of the feedback intervention. However, we believe that it deserves a special mention. While feedback should concentrate more on understanding a consumer’s view of the software that a programmer presents, seeking ideas takes it a step further. For instance, during feedback, a customer might mention what particularly didn’t work for him or her in the software. Seeking ideas would mean taking this conversation forward and understanding what could replace that particular misfit. At times, programmers tend to underestimate the technical acumen of customers and wave off their suggestions. However, some of the most brilliant ideas can actually originate from such suggestions. Therefore, programmers must take a step beyond feedback and seek new ideas to ensure customer-centric development.
Early adopters are the new trend- Follow it
Testing is an important step in the software development and testing cycle. Often software testers invest heftily in the testing phase by hiring professionals test groups to use the product and provide their point of view. However, this trend is also seeing a transformative shift. Increasingly, programmers are onboarding real clients as early adopters to test the beta version of their product. The onboarding of early adopters directly translates to a customer-centric framework as real customers are involved in testing. Early adopters become the primary link for programmers to test the relevance and utility of their product with a diverse demographic group. Therefore, customer-centric development inevitably becomes the byproduct of onboarding early adopters and seeking their feedback and new ideas to continuously improve and upgrade your program components and well as programming skills.
Customer Centric Development- The way to go
In a nutshell, it is evident that today, more than ever; it is a business imperative for programmers to have a customer-centric framework. Any strategy that places customer behaviour and needs at the centre of attention is most likely to be successful. While most programmers acknowledge this imperative, customer-centric software development still has a long way to cover. At Recro, as a software development company, we keep customers at the centre of all our operations. From prototyping to testing, each element of development is customer driven. If you are a programmer that believes in customer-centric development, we are just the place for you, join us today.