How to identify and meet customer needs successfully

Introduction

Customer needs are defined as the influential factors that trigger them to purchase your service. They are generated when they come in contact with your business, your competitors or when they search for the solutions you provide. Identifying customer needs is important for businesses looking to create a product that truly speaks to their customers’ problems.

In order to identify customer needs, it is important to understand the reasons behind their decision making. And for that to happen, it’s very important to know who your customers are. By defining your target audience, you will find out who they are, what they buy and why they buy it.

The more you know about your customers, the more effective your sales and marketing efforts will be. If you’re selling to other businesses, you’ll need to know which individuals are responsible for the decision to buy your service. If you know the challenges that face them, it’s much easier to offer them solutions.

Being customer-focused help in understanding customers better and align services to create great value. In fact, customer-centric companies are 60% more profitable than companies that don’t focus on customers. Identifying and meeting customer needs should be the focal point of every business to build a solid customer base. Once you have a clear knowledge about the same, you can further use it to persuade your customers.

10 things you need to know about your customers

Who they are

If you sell directly to individuals, find out your customers’ gender, age, marital status and occupation. If you sell to other businesses, find out what size and kind of business they are. For example, are they a small private company or a big multinational?

What they do

If you sell to individuals, it’s worth knowing their occupations and interests. If you sell to other businesses, it helps to have an understanding of what their business is trying to achieve.

Why they buy

If you know why customers buy a service, it’s easier to match their needs to the benefits your business can offer.

When they buy

If you approach a customer just at the time they want to buy, you will massively increase your chances of success.

How they buy

For example, some people prefer to buy from a website, while others prefer a face-to-face meeting.

What makes them feel good about buying

If you know what makes them satisfied, you can serve them in the way they prefer.

What they expect of you

For example, if your customers expect reliable delivery and you don’t disappoint them, you stand to gain repeat business.

How much resources do they have

You’ll be more successful if you can match your offer to what you know your customer can afford.

What they think about you

If your customers enjoy your services, they’re likely to purchase more. And you can only explore problems that customers have if you know what they think about your service.

What they think about your competitors

If you know how your customers perceive your competition, you can stay ahead of your rivals.

Types of customer needs

Customer needs are about delivering a better experience by exceeding their expectations. When you anticipate what your customers want, you can create relevant content. Furthermore, you can expand your services to meet those needs early. Customer needs can be classified on the basis of customers of the market demographics:

Product needs

Product requirements are associated with and around the product. If your product matches your customer needs they become your potential buyers. The main attributes of product needs can be: 

Price – Customers generally set their budgets for any product purchase.

Features – Customers look for features that would solve their problem and reliability in functioning while using the product.

Effectiveness – The product should be effective in order to save time.

Service Needs

Service needs refer to the emotional needs of the customers. Being able to provide the customer service needs can give your business a competitive edge. The key attributes of good service can be:

Empathy – Customers stay loyal to brands that serve them with an empathetic attitude. 

Clarity– Customers look for transparent information from the brand related to pricing, refund policy, etc.

Information – Customers need information from the point of interaction until the end. Educate them with FAQ pages, Knowledge base, How-to videos and more.

How to Identify Customer Needs

Method 1: Create a Survey

Surveys help you find out more about your customer base and your target audience. They allow you to get into people’s minds and discover the reasons why they buy from you. Ask questions that help you see the attitude people have toward different aspects of your brand, such as:

  • Individual products
  • Customer service experiences
  • Purchase or shipping
  • Information
  • Guarantees

For example, set a list of positive and negative adjectives and ask customers to select all that they feel apply to either your individual products or your customer service. Include questions that compare your services to that of a competitor. Try to understand why your customers have chosen you over other similar products offered by other brands. 

Use surveys to understand the usage trends of customers. For example, is there a time of the year when customers purchase a certain product more? Are customers using your products in the way you were expecting or to accomplish other goals?

Method 2: Use Social Media & Review Data to Discover Sentiment

Social listening allows you to monitor online conversations about your products or brand by following certain hashtags or even searching posts by keywords. That way, even when people don’t tag you in their comments, you still see what they’re saying about you. Use a social listening tool, such as Hootsuite, in order to monitor conversations and see what people really think of you.

Furthermore, collect the data. See what adjectives people use to describe your brand, and the ratio of positive to negative comments. This will help you see where your brand is doing well and where you need to put in some extra effort.

Method 3: Keyword Research

One of the earliest ways to determine your customer’s needs is to conduct keyword research. For example, what do you do first when you have a question about a product? Probably use Google to search for the answer to your question. Therefore, your customer’s needs can be found in how they search for your company or your services online. 

For this reason, keyword research will give you the earliest insight into the needs of your customers. Understanding customer needs is at the center of every successful business, whether it sells directly to individuals or other businesses. Once you have this knowledge, use it to persuade your customers that buying from you is in their best interests.

How to meet customer needs successfully

Meeting customer needs is crucial for any business looking to retain and attract new customers. Once you have knowledge about your customer’s needs, integrate that knowledge into existing processes. Your brand can only grow if you meet your customer’s needs in all areas. This can mean updating an entire marketing campaign or modernizing existing product features. After you’ve identified what your customer needs from you, analyze the data you’ve collected. Finally, make sure to deliver what customers are asking for.

Deliver quality customer support

Customers prefer brands that offer real time support. In fact, 66% of customers believe that valuing their time is the most important thing in any online customer experience. Therefore, focus on providing exceptional customer service and resolve their problems.

How can you enhance your customer support quality?

  • Provide real time support. Connect with your customers with live chat to deliver real time assistance for sales and support queries. 
  • Use live assistance solutions. By using tools like co-browsing and video chat, you can provide faster solutions by reducing the number of touchpoints.
  • Automate your customer support. Use a chatbot template to engage with customers 24/7 and answer their simple queries promptly.

Map your customer journey

A great way to meet customer needs is by understanding the different customer touchpoints and how they interact with your business across these contact points. You can map your customer journey to get a visualization of the process they go through when engaging with your services. 

Mapping journeys include multiple phases and touchpoints the customer goes through, right from prospect to loyal customers. It helps you detect efforts and identify opportunities for improvement. Identifying and meeting customer needs in the whole journey are all about providing a delightful experience that will further cultivate loyalty. 

Measure customer satisfaction regularly

To know how happy your customers are with your overall business, measure it on a regular basis. Choosing the right communication channels and customer satisfaction metrics is crucial. The key KPIs are customer satisfaction score (CSAT), net promoter score (NPS), and customer effort score (CES) help in measuring performance, monitor, and analyze satisfaction level in the overall customer journey. 

Measuring customer satisfaction provides deep insights into your overall business performance. Based on that you can improve on the areas you are doing well and having loopholes. CSAT scores can help team leaders identify coaching opportunities to improve agent performance, give agents visibility into their individual performance to encourage self-correcting behavior. Based on the inferences, you can restructure your services in order to reduce the customer churn by boosting the satisfaction rate.

Be consistent in customer communication

Meet your customers’ requirements and make the right efforts to understand the goals and capabilities of the company. Use every possible strategy for effective customer service communication:

  • Focus on building an multichannel customer service strategy to deliver consistent support across all channels.
  • Train your support team with customer service etiquette to meet customer needs effectively.
  • Provide real time assistance to your customers with live customer engagement tools.

Develop a customer centric culture

Another way to meet your customer needs is to create a company culture that is focused on customer experience at every touchpoint. The customer experience (CX) is the major differentiator for every business. It includes visualizing interactions through every touchpoint from the customer’s perspective.

Align your company culture to focus on the customer experience first. Your employees make or break most customer touchpoints, so be clear on your brand’s values and what makes the experience delightful. Empower your support representatives to be proactive, thoughtful, and creative in making it practically happen. 

Enhance the USP of your product

Every business needs a reason for its customers to buy from them over their competitors, which is known as a Unique Selling Proposition (USP). Your USP can change depending upon the changes in your business and for different types of customers.

The USP of your product can be effective to differentiate your brand when the customers are making their buying decision. If your products are built across helping customers to resolve their issues faster, it will attract them and keep them coming back. Implement the following tips:

  • Conduct customer research on identifying customer needs and analyze them in order to improve your services.
  • Ask customer feedback and categorize it further to improve brand value to match with customer needs.

Require customer feedback

Customer feedback is a vital ingredient for the success of every business. It helps to enhance your services to better suit the needs of your customers. This will then raise the chances of the purchase of your improved services.

Choose the right time to ask for honest customer feedback. For example, after the chat session of a successful transaction. Afterwards, analyze the feedback to generate valuable insights and recreate better products as per their needs.

Essentially, once you receive customer feedback, follow certain steps that give opportunities to know your customer needs. Analyze the data according to internal & external customers’ needs and expectations and enhance it. Figure out the gaps between your business and customers. Set new plans and strategies to reduce the gaps.

How to make sure your services are meeting the needs of your customers

Price

Customers are more concerned than ever about price. Are they getting the best deal? Is this comparable to a competitor? Are they paying for convenience or getting the premium services available? In fact, 60% of customers consider price before anything else, and 81% say that it’s essential to compare prices between different sellers.

Especially if you’re competing against companies with similar products, price could be a big factor in a customer’s purchase decision. Consider offering the right kind of discount to customers who are cost-conscious could help you win more business.

Reliability and Risk Reduction

People want to know they’re not at risk of losing their money or time. They need to rely on your product’s ability to function properly for a reasonable amount of time. That’s why your product return policy and guarantees are so important. This is an essential factor that you’ll need to cover if you want to meet your customers’ needs.

Usability & Convenience

For your products to meet people’s needs, they must be useful and convenient. Find out exactly what your customers use your services for and why they like them. Once you understand the different uses that customers have for your products, you can adapt to better fit their needs.

Transparency

People need to know exactly what they’re paying up front and without hidden fees. That’s why companies need to be transparent about what customers are actually going to pay at the end.  Furthermore, transparency can result in generating conversation online and creating more brand loyal customers.

Another brands promote transparency through the voice of the customer. By enabling customer feedback through ratings and reviews, question and answers and visual content, businesses leave less room for consumers to second guess buying decisions.

Control

Another common customer need is having some control over the product. This could mean a number of different things. For example, subscription-based brands can offer control over the terms or the length of the subscription. Ecommerce brands can offer different options for delivery, especially during busy holiday seasons. Also, control could mean customization of the product itself.

Empathy & Friendliness

When it comes to customer service, people need to feel that a brand understands and cares about them. In fact, 51% of people who are faced with a bad customer service experience say they’ll never do business with that company again. On the other hand, customers in the U.S. are willing to pay 17% more for a company that offers excellent customer service. Consequently, you need to provide outstanding customer service if you want to meet your customer’s needs.

Information

Sometimes, people may be unsure of what suits their particular needs. In this case, they need further guidance. You can provide it to them by being available to answer their questions or include a live chat on your website. Next, produce informational content. Try to include knowledge bases for software, instructional blog or video content.

Conclusion

When you start prioritizing customer needs, implement them successfully in your services. Being able to deliver a great experience grows your customer base of loyal customers. Having good knowledge of customer needs and wants helps you level up overall brand recognition. Furthermore, it gives your business a competitive advantage and stays a step ahead in the market. 

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