When a business understands the needs of their customers, they are better able to provide products or services that benefit the customer. Customers are the lifeblood of business, and what good is a product or service if it does not benefit the customer?
Being able to identify the needs of customers is a vital skill for anyone involved in business, as it will allow them to create better products and services that will benefit their customers, allowing them to create long-lasting business relationships. In fact, according to Accenture, customers expect special and personalized attention from the brands and rapid response to inquiries and complaints.
With companies being able to measure so much of their business, it can be hard to determine the customers’ needs, but certain things can be done to find out. Imagine a great product, reasonable prices, and fast shipping times, but customers aren’t connecting with you. Horrible, isn’t it? Most probably, there is a gap between what customers expect and what you offer.
You need to identify your customers’ unmet needs and start working on them. Of course, identifying customers’ unmet needs isn’t as simple as it might seem. It all comes down to some basic tools and knowledge, but understanding what needs your customers have is a process that demands time and effort.
Not focusing on customer needs could lead to a loss in sales and a loss of customers. For instance, remember when Ford Edsel launched a Gas Guzzler at a time when customers were following the trend of small, efficient, and inexpensive cars. As a result of all those mistakes, Ford lost more than $350 in three years.
Where did it go wrong for them when they had powerful engines, a reputation, and great looks but failed to identify customers’ needs? They were unable to align with the current needs of customers.
Ford Edsel is just one of the many companies that failed to focus on customer needs and paid for them. In order to avoid situations like these, you have to understand what needs your potential customers have and how they want to be treated by your company.
Following are the needs that customers have and how to identify them. According to psychology, there are five customer needs, but only 3 needs are used in business. What do customers need? What do customers want?
1) Social Needs:
Social needs are things that customers want to fit in with others. Social media, trends, etc., mostly influence these. For example, a customer may think, “I need this bag because all my friends have it and look good in it” That is a social need.
2) Emotional Needs:
Emotional needs are what customers want to feel through the product, service, or brand. For example, a customer may think, “I need this jacket because it gives me confidence and feels like I am doing well.” That is an emotional need. Another example is, “I need this watch because it makes me feel like I am a successful person.” That is an emotional need, too. The point is that customers want to feel.
3) Functional Needs:
Functional needs are things that customers want in order to get the job done. These are mostly influenced by culture, time, etc. These are the most common needs customers have, but they are also the easiest to figure out. Most customers will be able to tell you what their main functional needs are because they are usually related to everyday life. For example, a customer may think, “I need this item because it will help me clean the house.” That is a functional need.
But the point is that customers’ needs overlap.
For instance, what would you want if you invest in a Yamaha bike?
- A fast and reliable bike is your functional need.
- It will create thrill and excitement in your daily life. So, it is your emotional need.
- It’s a stylish bike, so personality-wise, it will help you fit in, so it’s your social need.
Now let’s understand the top 8 customer needs that every significant brand focuses on and how you can identify them in the market.
There is a saying that in order to gain a customer, one has to go the extra mile. Customers don’t want you to go the extra mile for them; they want you to make their life easier. This is what convenience is all about.
Make it as easy as possible for your customers to do business with you. For example, either you need to increase the functionality of your product, or you need to provide your customers with an alternative that is more convenient.
For instance, Amazon Prime has the world’s best shipping, delivery, and return policies. They even use drones to send items to customers. That means they removed the friction to even wait for a few hours to receive your product.
Since Amazon removed this friction, customers prefer Amazon Prime when they need to buy on a deadline. That’s how convenience works. You remove the friction for your customers; they are more likely to choose you over the others.
Now think about how you can make it more convenient for your customers? For instance, you can give your customers the opportunity to buy anytime they want by providing 24/7 service. They can reach out to your social media any time of the day, and they will receive a response.
That’s where companies are creating convenience for customers because they utilize AI chatbots that answer customers’ questions 24/7. It’s a simple yet effective way to provide convenience.
When you use Ai-chatbots such as messenger bots, you are doing the following:
- Customers get satisfied because they get an answer immediately.
- You have time to prepare for more complicated questions not covered in the Ai chatbot.
- You can scale your business by being available for more customers 24/7 cost-effectively.
Quality is an important consideration for many customers. Customers want the product they are buying to be worth the money they invest in them. That means your product needs to deliver what it promises. It needs to stand up to the level of quality that customers expect.
Today, no brand can scale if they compromise on quality. Remember, your competitors just need one chance to prove themselves better than you. In order to have a product that customers love, it needs to be high-quality. Even if your product is a bit more expensive, you will be able to build loyalty since customers know what to expect from your product.
When you think of the best sports brands in the world, what names come to your mind? Most probably Nike and Adidas. Why? Because they create high-quality products that people love. That’s why they can sell expensive premium products at a high price.
Quality is one of the most important customers’ needs because customers know that they are investing in it. It’s their money!
When you think of the best smartphone brands in the world, what names come to your mind? Most probably iPhone and Samsung.
Though there are many competitors in the smartphone business, you will always see the competition between Samsung and iPhone. That’s why they can sell expensive premium products at a high price. Quality will make your product more valuable for the customers.
How can you make your product more valuable to customers?
- Focus on benefits.
- Showcase all the features of your product.
- Keep your product competitive.
- Make your product stand out from the competitors’ products.
Price is an important consideration for many customers. Customers want to get value for their money. That means your product needs to have a fair price that provides them with good returns on investment.
A high-quality product will deliver what it promises and provide great value when you have a high-quality product. If your product is not high-quality, you will need to find a way to make it worth the price. You have to provide a reason why customers should choose your product. You need to show that it will change their lives and solve a problem or improve their lives.
Price is a consideration because it needs to provide a good value for the money. Up to 60% of the customers say the price is the most important factor in their purchase decision.
If you are a business that needs messenger bots for Instagram and Messenger, wouldn’t you be just WOW with Clever Messenger pricing? Offers for every scale of business.
How can you price your product that provides a good value for the money?
- Show that your product will solve a problem or somehow improve their lives.
- Take into consideration how much it costs you to produce, market, and distribute your product.
- Analyze your competitors’ prices.
Transparency is the biggest concern for customers. Customers want to know what they are buying, where the product came from, and how it works. Customers will use your website and social media channels for information. Customers need to know how your product will benefit them, what it does, and how it works.
If you are not transparent about these things, they won’t be able to trust you or see the value of your product. They will look for other brands that provide this information readily and willingly. Be transparent about who you are, your values, and how you work.
For instance, TOMS is a good brand that brings transparency into fashion. They are transparent about their working policies, what they are doing in their work communities, and more.
They are one of the biggest sustainable brands that take responsibility for their work. “We are in business to improve life. That is our mission. That is something that is never going to change. Creating an impact is in our DNA; it is core to who we are. For this, we are now moving from our one-for-one give a shoe model to giving one-third of our profits for grassroots goods,” Said Amy Smith, chief strategy and impact officer, Toms.
When a brand has minimal transparency, the customers will lose trust. They will move to other brands that are transparent about their ethics and values.
How can you provide transparency about your product?
- Introduce yourself and what you do.
- Tell your customers how your product works.
- Be transparent about the manufacturing of your product.
- Show customers what is the story behind your product.
Customers are looking for personalized products. It creates a better connection with them. From their point of view, an individualized product is worth more than a mass-produced item.
Customers like to feel special and unique. They like personalized products because it is not the same as what others are using. Everything they need is right there at their fingertips with personalized products. Your product can be personalized in various ways, for instance, the design, name, or even the packaging.
Customers will recognize your brand when you offer personalized products. They can buy mass-produced items anywhere, but they will recognize that custom product you offer.
For instance, when we talk about stellar customer service, people want to feel appreciated. They want to know you are genuinely thankful for their business and that they are not just another customer number or sale.
You need to provide your customers with the opportunity to personalize your products. Make their experience more memorable. A personalized response is always well received. It shows you take their concerns seriously and that their business matters to you.
For instance, messenger bots from Clever Messenger deliver quick, accurate customer service and provide personalized and customized support.
Consider a scenario where your customer has a negative experience with a brand and reaches out to customer care. Their response is robotic, and there is no effort to personalize the interaction. This will make customers think that you don’t care about their experience. They will be more attracted to the brands that provide personalized support and services.
Be personal, be genuine, and add a little bit of yourself to everything you do. Keep in mind that technology is advancing every day, and anything can be personalized to meet various needs. That’s what Clever Messenger is doing to help brands provide personalized customer service.
You need a secured payment system for transactions to ensure your customers that they will receive their product. Customers don’t want to share their financial details because identity theft is a risk. They prefer purchasing from brands with secure payment systems.
A lack of security can also influence customers’ decision-making process because they are not sure if you are trustworthy. For instance, when customers make an online payment with their bank details, they want to know that the money will not end in anyone else’s hands. They want to be sure that their financial information is safe.
Companies need to ensure safety and security in every sector of their business. This includes delivery services, customer relations, and transactions. If you want to be a trustworthy brand, you need to have a secure payment system. This will help customers trust you and your products.
You need to educate your customers about the security standards to make sure they feel comfortable when making a purchase. Think about how Amazon discloses its security policy to customers in detail. Customers are confident that their data is safe with Amazon because of the way they market their security procedures.
Customers want to be recognized and appreciated. Everyone likes recognition, but some customers value it more than others. For instance, Millennials love brands that provide them with individualized experiences. They like personalized communication and leave a brand if they don’t get it.
Even though you might not be able to meet each customer’s needs, you can at least acknowledge their presence and appreciation. Try to communicate and show your customers that you value them on social media channels or email.
Customers may have a few suggestions on how to improve your products or services. You can also ask them for advice and feedback that will help you in the long run. Keep in mind that you should always be aware of what customers say about your brand online, whether positive or negative reviews.
If you talk about loyalty with a business, why do some customers only stick with one brand no matter what? Why are there loyal customers willing to go the extra mile just to promote or purchase your product? It’s because they have a real connection with your brand.
For instance, why do people are obsessed with iPhones? Apple is not the only smartphone brand globally, so why do some people carry an iPhone? It’s because they feel a real connection with the brand. That’s what Recognition is! The iPhone has become an expression of who they are and what’s important to them.
Apple fans line up to get their hands on the latest device whenever a new model is released. They want to be the first ones to connect with the new generation of their favorite phone.
Customers want brands to understand the problems they are facing and act accordingly. They want to know that you care about their needs, whether they are happy or not. Empathy is closely related to Recognition because customers want brands to understand where they’re coming from. Not only do they expect you to care about them, but also to take the next step and help them achieve what they want.
For instance, take a look at Jasper – An AI Writing Assitant. The company changed its brand name from Jarvis to jasper to avoid using the same name as Iron Man’s AI assistant.
When they announced the new brand name, they reached out to customers and offered 50,000 words of free credits. They offered the credits because they believe their customers deserve them after their support and loyalty.
Check out the screenshot from Jasper’s official Facebook group:
They won their customers with empathy. Another strategy they utilized was to give a 75% discount on their other products. This shows how important it was to them to make their customers happy. You can consistently market your brand as trustworthy and caring by giving.
This is an example of Empathy, which is connected to Recognition. You can offer special discounts and freebies to your customers in order to appeal to their emotions and make them feel appreciated and valued. The point is that customers want a brand to understand them and their needs. They want you to listen carefully so you can provide the best possible product or service and get in touch with their emotions.
These are the 8 primary customer needs. You cannot expect to be able to satisfy everyone, but you can at least give it your best shot. Businesses can grow by identifying their most valuable customers and catering to their needs. While there isn’t a right or wrong way of dealing with customers, some strategies can help you appeal to them and boost your brand in the long run.
How Can You Analyze Customer Needs?
Evaluating customer needs can be done in a number of ways. But even if you are not doing any formal research, all the information you need to understand their needs is already out there.
You can survey customers to understand their goals, priority, and expectations. You will learn something new. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes for a minute and see the world from their perspective.
You can use an online survey tool like Survey Monkey or make a simple spreadsheet to keep track of what you find out.
If you choose to create a spreadsheet, you can use the following headings:
- What are the customer’s goals?
- What are the customer’s expectations?
- How does your product or service help them achieve their goals?
- How does your product or service compare to the competitors?
- Where exactly is there a gap between what you offer and what they need?
Another good way to get valuable customer insights is by conducting focus groups. Ask your customers about their goals, how they choose a product or service, what they expect from you, and how your product or service helps them. You can also conduct focus groups online to save time and money.
Social Media Information:
If you want to get valuable customer insights without conducting research, you can actively participate in social conversations and monitor what’s going on. You can then use this information to build on your existing strategy.
For example, if you offer a service that helps people make online purchases, you can follow online shopping trends on social media. When you see that people are talking about Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or any other upcoming sale, reach out to your customer base and offer them additional information.
Customer Discussion Forums:
Another great source of valuable customer insights are online discussions. You can easily find relevant information by browsing customer discussion forums like Reddit and Quora. You can also search for “customer needs” on any search engine, and you are bound to find some really valuable information.
If your website is already up, you should look at your Google Analytics. You can monitor which pages are visited most often, which phrases are used in the search engines to get to your site, which sources bring the most traffic, etc. All of this information is very valuable for understanding customer needs.
Customer needs are different for every company, but there are 8 main customer needs that you need to take into consideration if you want your customers to keep coming back.
Key Takeaways from the Article:
- It is important to understand your customer needs to provide a better service.
- To identify what customers need, you should use surveys, focus groups, social media information, and Google Analytics.
- The eight main customer needs are convenience, quality, price information, personalization, security, and recognition empathy.
Finally, while there’s no right or wrong way of dealing with customers, the strategies mentioned in this article may be beneficial to your business.