Not all customer needs are created equal. Some are ‘nice to have’, while others are really ‘showstoppers’ that can make all the difference between brand loyalty and a customer looking for a new provider. Do you know what matters most to your customers? Do your products and services meet that need? If not, how are you gathering the customer insights that will make the difference?

When it comes to business shirts there is one need I have that seems to be particularly hard to find. I prefer cotton as I inherited my father’s sensitive skin, and it breathes better in Brisbane’s warmer climate. It has to look half decent and be in a colour that isn’t completely over-the-top.

So far I still have a pretty good range of choices available. It’s when I add my most pressing need that I come up short.

I want a business shirt that doesn’t crease when you take it off the hanger, let alone when you trudge all over town with a backpack or carry bag and a laptop. One I can wear to a 4pm meeting with a key client after a day of workshops, meetings and travel that doesn’t have me looking like I’ve been rolling around on the ground for hours!

I have tried a number of brands in my search, but have regularly been disappointed. I have shirts from Country Road and Industrie that look amazing until you wear them for 5 minutes and then they look like you’ve slept in them for 3 days!

So this year when I went on my annual birthday shopping trip I had one thing on my mind. I headed to Herringbone and Mitchell Ogilvie in a bit of a Sydney vs. Brisbane stouch and ended up with 3 shirts from each. I’m please to report one Aberlard shirt in particular does an amazing job of staying crease-free under serious duress. The other day I wore it from 7am to 9pm and it still looked amazing.

It makes you wonder whether these companies ever wear their own shirts for 5 minutes or actually ask customers what they value. I can’t imagine anyone being happy with a shirt that creases after 30 seconds, so why dilute your brand reputation by letting a product like that make it onto the racks?

Is there something about your product or service that customers are desperate for that you’re not even aware of, or even worse that your offering does very poorly? What are you doing to gather true customer insights, and make sure this doesn’t happen to you?