Uncovering the real needs of customers

Evelien Klasens, Mieke Oostra

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperAcademic

25 Downloads (Pure)


In this paper an inventory will be given of methods and tools currently available in the construction industry and other sectors to make the needs and wishes of clients explicit, in order to incorporate them into the design, engineering and building process. In order to be able to create value from a client’s point of perspective, it is necessary to find out what really matters to clients and what their real needs are. However, professionals in the construction sector with a genuine interest in making needs and wishes from clients and customer organisations explicit, know this is not an easy task. In contrast with the field of construction, it is more common practice in most industries to involve all different stakeholders in order to make requirements explicit. There are also different methods and tools available, which leads to the question what tools are most effective and reliable to discover requirements? Research in the domains of marketing, cognitive linguistics and psychology shows that customer needs can’t be clarified by expression in words alone. A lot of choices are made unconsciously, without the use of language. Important associations people have can be made visible by using metaphors or pictures. These insights from other sectors can be of advantage to professionals in the construction industry. Based on this insight evaluation criteria are formulated to assess the available methods to uncover requirements. Based on the outcomes of this evaluation an improved tool is proposed, in which pictures are used to unravel customer needs.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes
Event20th CIB World Building Congress (WBC) 2016: Intelligent built environment for life - Tampere University of Technology (TUT), Tampere, Finland
Duration: 31 May 20163 Jun 2016
Conference number: 20th


Conference20th CIB World Building Congress (WBC) 2016
Abbreviated titleWBC16
Internet address


  • requirement engineering
  • photo elicitation
  • stakeholder requirements
  • MCDM+


Dive into the research topics of 'Uncovering the real needs of customers'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this