Navigating Uncertainty: Understanding Customer Sentiment and Market Dynamics

1080x10809811 Prime46


Equipment manufacturers experienced a variety of pressures affecting their businesses. Global supply chain issues hampered the operation of almost every industry, and the slow startup has many manufacturers needing to better understand the current landscape in which they operate. In addition, increasing discussion regarding zero-emission vehicles has manufacturing executives wondering what to plan for.

The client is a global designer and manufacturer of cooling systems for trucks, buses, motor coaches, and agriculture equipment of all sizes. As a key supplier, the client must meet OEM quality system requirements and is subject to quality system audits. One of the requirements is a systematic approach to collecting voice of customer (VoC) feedback. In addition to meeting its VoC requirement, the executive team needed fundamental information from its customer base regarding the uncertain adoption of zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) as well as customer reactions to price increases due to supply chain interruptions (price elasticity).


Prime46 outlined three different approaches as options to meet the client’s needs. Discussions with the executive team determined that an initial quantitative survey be fielded to capture key VoC metrics of satisfaction, value, performance within customer touchpoints, and comparisons to competitive alternatives. The integration of ZEV questions focused on the maturity of ZEV development, the anticipated offering of a ZEV, and the estimated time to a critical manufacturing level. Price elasticity questions focused on areas of value, spend, and comparison of the client’s price increases to primary competitors and suppliers in general.


Programmed display logic ensured only relevant questions were presented to respondents based on their specific business type, job function, and product category. Questions regarding ZEVs were asked only of OEMs. In total, 713 responses were collected within 10 days through email invites with unique survey links.

The analysis compared response data across business types and product segments. Attitudes and opinions pulled from open-ended responses were coded and summarized. An executive summary reported key VoC metrics and detailed results regarding customer sentiment and ZEV adoption and development. It will be used to inform other executives and the board of directors. In addition, an online dashboard was created in Microsoft Power BI to facilitate stakeholder use of the data for ongoing planning and data sharing.


The process itself helped the client organize customer data and focus their understanding of what they need to know about their customer base. Some of the results confirmed their hunches, while others surprised them but provided clarity and confidence for the planning they needed to go through. And because the best research is built on the results of earlier research, the client is properly informed to conduct a second phase of qualitative interviews they are considering with OEM engineers to detail their ZEV design needs.

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