Law of Steady Increase of Degree of Satisfaction of Need
Since it is a joy to have the benefit of what is good, it is a greater one to experience what is better.
The Law of Steady Increase of Degree of Satisfaction of Need says that
Customer’s degree of satisfaction is never satiated, customer always anticipates better satisfaction.
Customers expect new product or service to satisfy their need better than products and services currently available in the marketplace. They are continuously seeking for means for better satisfaction. This silent expectation together with competition in every market is the major driving force of innovation.
The insatiability of customers’ degree of satisfaction is rooted in the nature of biological life. Living organisms differ from lifeless systems by ability to reproduce, to adapt and to control the flow of energy via metabolism. These features are realized through complicated system that controls both stability and growth, homeostasis and its deviation:
According to Vladimir Dilman [Big Biological Clock: Introduction to the Integral Medicine, by Vladimir Dilman. Published by Publishing House “Knowledge” (“Znanie”), Moscow, 1982], reduction of sensitivity of living organism’s internal sensors provide for conditions of organism growth. This mechanism controls the deepest level of satisfaction of the fundamental needs of living organism: keeping the internal stability (homeostasis) and supporting the orchestrated growth of organism. One could assume that satisfaction of other needs of living organism follows the same principles. Basic needs of growing organism should grow accordingly: an adult needs more air, food and water than a child. Accordingly, the more complicated needs of growing organism, such as need in shelter, security or safety, change while individual grows.
Since sensitivity of feedback on satisfaction steadily reduces, an individual should continuously seek for better and better means to satisfy his needs.
Abraham Maslow discovered another explanation of insatiability of human satisfaction. While developing the hierarchy of needs, he stated that when the needs of previous levels are satisfied, needs of the higher level are activated.
Hence, customers in any market are permanently seeking for solutions that improve satisfaction of their needs. However, they are not looking for better satisfaction of one need. They are rather interested in improved satisfaction of multiple needs, which is not a simple task. Very few customers can satisfy all their needs “at any cost,” because satisfaction of every need comes at a price, and people usually have limited resources to pay all these prices. The price here is not monetary only; it is closer to the broad notion of Total Cost of Ownership: both direct and indirect cost of possessing and using a product. Since the better satisfaction of a need usually comes at a larger price, improvement in one area inevitably causes reduced satisfaction of other needs. Every customer has her / his own balance of satisfaction, and hardly would destroy this balance. Customers are rather looking for new products that meet two “opposite” requirements: provide better satisfaction of need at reduced Total Cost of Ownership. This conclusion could be formulated as follows:
Customers satisfied today expect tomorrow more, better, for less, with less hassle.
Of course, this formulation is rather a slogan than scientific definition of directions in which the customers’ expectations grow. I would “translate” the wording used in this slogan as follows:
In new products, customers expect to find more capabilities in satisfying the needs and capabilities to satisfy more needs, capabilities to provide better quality of satisfaction, better reliability and better convenience while satisfying the needs; they expect that these products would cost less, their use would consume less resources and effort and produce less intolerable side effects; they also expect that use of these products would incur less hassle, i.e. less aggravated problems and inconveniences.
Now, it sounds more reasonable and familiar, doesn’t it?
Christensen [Clayton M. Christensen, The Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail. Harvard Business Press, 1997] explains that customers don’t look for all these improvements simultaneously, rather in a very specific sequence: first, they are interested in better functioning; as soon as functioning is good enough, they start looking for better reliability; then, for better convenience; and finally, for better (lower) price.