Identifying Customer Needs
The products that excel in the market and are uppermost in the mind for consumers are those that have positioned themselves to meet both the realistic and unrealistic needs of customers. You will realize that the major reason you spend on some products is because they meet a need you have (realistic or not). It is then surprising that many businesses make the mistake of creating products and services without any solid planning and research into their customers actual needs. The most viable approach to identifying customer needs is research, and the first step of customer research is identifying your customers. Your market research will help you understand your potential customers.
The safest place to begin your research is going through past records of surveys done, past reviews and trends. Here are some strategies you can deploy in researching your customer’s needs:
1. Surveys/Questionnaires: This method involves getting feedback from potential customers through a structured, multi-question survey. It can be done over the phone, through mail/email or in person. You may need to conduct several to get feedback from all possible types of customers. For in person survey, you can print the survey form. Online, you can use survey tools like Google Forms.
2. Customer feedback: You should create a system that encourages customer feedback, as this will provide you with insight into customers’ attitudes toward your products and services, helping you identify how well you are meeting their needs. You can do this at the point of sale or delivery, or simply have them give their reviews on your website or social media platforms. You can also send them feedback forms using the tool mentioned above or give them a call to find out how you did.
3. Social media: Incorporating social media into your communications strategy enables you to track discussions on your products and those of your competitors. It also adds extra insight to the information you get from regular customer feedback. Monitor social media mentions of your company and respond to comments to engage old and potential customers.
The next step after finding out what your customers needs are is to tailor your products and services to satisfy these needs. Here are a few tips to satisfying your customers:
Reward your customers with Gifts, Loyalty discounts etc.
Patronise your customers’ businesses also. There is no better way to build loyalty.
Return phone calls promptly, many businesses don’t return calls, you automatically gain an advantage when you do