The ultimate goal of business–digital or otherwise–is to serve customers.
In the grand scheme of doing business, a company must always put the needs and preferences of customers upfront. It is the ability of a business to win over customers and retain them that sustains a business.
It becomes extremely important for a business to understand the needs of a customer so that they can create products, customer relationship strategies, and customer retention policies that will help them in the long term.
However, some businesses do not actively try to understand what the customers need or cater to their requirements. These will surely hurt businesses if they do not take care of the customers as they are here to serve them. This can without a doubt jeopardize the whole meaning of the existence of the company.
As it is the customers that make everything possible for business from profit to revenue and growth, it is only through smart strategies that a business can satisfy its customers. A study published by PricewaterhouseCoopers states that customers tend to leave a company or a brand just after one instance of a bad experience.
Understanding the needs and wants of customers thus is extremely important for a business if it wants to be successful and grow. This becomes all the more significant for digital customers as there lies a slew of opportunities for them right at the tips of their fingers.
So, how can a business understand digital customers and give them exactly what they are looking for? This takes us to today’s discussion where we will try to know:
- What are customer needs?
- What are the types of customer needs?
- A few examples of digital customer needs
- How to conduct customer need analysis?
- What are the types of customer service?
- How to meet customer needs effectively?
Without further ado, let’s begin.
What Are Customer Needs?
One does not need to be an expert business or management guru to understand this. This is self-explanatory—the physical and psychological cues that motivate people to buy products and services are referred to as customer needs.
That’s a no-brainer. But a business that wants to serve customers’ needs to grow and bolster returns might have to dig a little deeper, no matter if their business pasture is a traditional market or a digital platform.
Once you do that, you will understand everything is not as simple as it seems. The more you try to make sense of and understand customer needs, you will be left more bewildered.
This amusing, and oft-changing, nature of customer needs is what makes it so complex and important for a business. In a study conducted by Statista, over 66% of respondents said that customer service is the number one element that influences their loyalty to a brand.
The most logical explanation to this is the fact that any need, whether it is to buy something or do something, is based on a myriad of elements that closely tether to each other. There are physical needs that can be identified easily—if a person is hungry, s/he would buy food. Here the need to satisfy hunger is the element.
However, psychological needs are more complex and difficult to understand because they are in our brains and we cannot quantify them. But we do know that they are there and are shaped by such needs of a customer as affordability, quality, convenience, and comfort, etc. Over the years, businesses have understood the importance of customer experience. This is underscored by the study that states more than two-thirds of businesses now focus on providing a better customer experience than in 2010 where it was just 36%.
With the kind of competition raging in the digital business spectrum, this is more apparent in the digital business vertical than in traditional business models.
Now that we have understood what customer needs are, let’s take a look at some of the most common examples of customer needs.
Examples of Digital Customer Needs
When it comes to digital customer needs, there is a range of them. We can broadly catalog them into two—product needs and service needs. Let’s get familiar with them:
These are the qualities and traits that a customer expects from a product when they consider buying it.
Customers expect the experience of using your products or services pleasant. A product must not make the customer work even more. This is the reason graphic design places extensive focus on delivering a remarkable user experience.
In a report by Globenewswire, it is stated that 49% of buyers tend to buy a new product from the same brand if they receive a more personalized customer experience.
Every customer has a unique and different budget to buy a product or service. This budgetary need must be satisfied by your product. The price of the product can both attract and repel people to your business.
Another important need that directly influences the buyer’s decision to buy a product or not is convenience. Your product or service must offer a convenient solution that can resolve a pain point that the customer faces.
The design has become an integral part of any product development process as customers have become exceedingly conscious about the designs. Customers need aesthetically superior designs and products no matter what they are.
Customers expect the products and services that they buy to perform optimally to help them meet their goals of buying the same in the first place. The performance of a product and service is an important aspect of customer retention.
When a customer buys a product or service s/he expects the same to be efficient and help her/him effectively simplify a chore that otherwise takes a lot of time.
Customers have different products and gadgets that they might use before buying your product or service. Hence, the product must be compatible with the ones that they are already using.
These are the needs that your customer service must meet when a customer reaches out to you for any purpose.
One of the major reasons that a customer may contact customer care is to get information about the services and products. They need to be given adequate details and information as they require.
Customers generally expect a business to be fair with them. Right from the price of the product, terms of service, length of the contract, and even the terms regarding customer care, customers need to be dealt with fairly.
When customers are ready to make their purchase, they expect various options that they can choose from. Hence, a business must provide them with as many options as possible. Every customer loves the freedom of choice.
As a paying customer, one expects to be in control of the conversations and interactions they have with a business’ customer support. Hence, businesses must let the customer be in the driving seat while assisting them to resolve the issue they face.
When a customer contacts a business with a problem to solve, they expect the customer service to understand and treat them with empathy. After all, they pay for your service and they must be supported to resolve their concerns with compassion.
One of the most important needs that must be fulfilled is the customer’s need for transparency. They must be informed about the service price changes, outages, and any other concerns that the business faces.
There are different types of customers and they all must be able to access your support and help channels multiple ways they need. Hence, you must have different channels to help the customers.
How to Conduct a Customer Need Analysis?
Meeting the needs of customers is exceptionally important for businesses if they want to become successful and grow. But, how does a business understand what the needs of a customer are?
Well, that is what customer need Analysis is all about. And, let’s get to know more about the same and how to do it.
In a nutshell, a customer needs analysis is a series of deep analyses carried out in both branding and product development to understand the varying needs of a customer so that the product or the service can be developed to offer the benefits, attributes, and features needed by a customer.
The entire process of customer need analysis is rather unique and you must pay close attention to drive the best results from the same.
The following must be carried out to do customer need analysis:
Conduct Customer Needs Analysis Surveys
One of the most effective and sensible ways to understand customer needs is to carry out various surveys. These surveys are conducted to understand what their position in the market is and how well they do in understanding the needs of their prospects and meeting those needs.
If you are going to conduct a customer needs analysis, these are the important things that you must focus on.
While doing the customer needs analysis, ask questions:
- Related to your own brand
- Related to your competition in the market
- Regarding the customers’ awareness of the product
- To learn about the brand attitude in general
Such surveys will provide you with all the insights that you need to know about customer needs and how your brand performs in this regard.
The next stage of the customer needs analysis is means-end analysis. This is where you work to get insights from the answers you gathered from the surveys.
These insights will help you understand why customers buy from you, why they prefer to go to another brand or not, and what makes you a better choice than your competition.
This analysis will give you comprehensive answers to what makes your brand tick while your completion lags. Combining these answers, you will understand why your customers stay with you. Most of these reasons can be broadly cataloged into three attributes:
- Features of the product or the service
- Benefits offered by the product or the service
- Values rendered by the product or the service
As you can see from here, each customer may have varying reasons for buying products and services. Most of the time, they buy a product to meet a particular need, and it can be anything.
Conducting these surveys will help you understand the needs that you are solving and the ones that you don’t. This will help you identify the areas that you must improve while updating or creating new products and services right from the ideation of the same.
Types of Customer Service
In the grand scheme of trying to understand customer needs and meeting them, the most important role played is by the customer service of a company. Regardless of the niche that you serve and the kind of clients you support, the quality and vision of customer service have a huge role in understanding the customers and retaining them.
Most of the time, the first—and the last, at times—point of contact for a customer of a business is the customer service.
Therefore, if a business wants to understand the pain points and inconveniences of customers and solve them, customer service is the perfect bridge.
So, let’s take a look at some of the most important customer service channels that can be used to understand customer needs.
- Email support
- Phone support
- Online chat support
- Social media help
- Customer self-care
- Personal interactions
- Interactive virtual assistant
- Integrated customer support
Each of these types of customer service has extreme importance in a business-customer relationship strategy.
Whether you are a graphic design company, software development, or an FMCG company concentrating on different demographics and audiences, a smart customer relationship strategy emphasizing the importance of understanding the needs of customers is extremely important.
This takes us to the next big question.
How Can You Solve Customer Needs?
Despite having seemingly the best of products and services packed with features and values, some businesses find it difficult to become successful.
In a study by Statista, over 40% of the respondents said that the lack of knowledge or ability of a customer representative to resolve this issue was the most frustrating aspect of poor customer support.
What is going on there, ever wondered?
That’s because the business has been focusing too much on creating products and services that it failed to see customers’ needs.
That’s a dangerous pitfall that a business might find itself in if it does not take adequate care.
Let’s now try to understand how a business can solve customer needs.
Create consistent product info across the business
There are times when customers contact the business, they get a piece of information from a department and totally different from another. This can really make the customer lose trust in the business with all the different things being told about a product.
- Ensure that you give easy-to-understand, clear instructions
- Get suggestions and feedback from your customers
- Create and foster a relationship with your customers
- Work to meet the right needs of your customers
When you have a strategy that takes care of all the elements given above, you are bound to develop and create products and services that will directly cater to the needs of your customers.
Always remember that it is your customers that keep your business moving forward and growing.
The moment you lose the track of the need to help them address their problems with your products or services, your business will begin to crumble down.
Hence, always keep work on understanding and meeting the clients’ needs.
Emphasizing customers and striving to understand, cater to their needs has become the most important aspect of every business. Businesses always create strategies to understand and serve their customers better. However, without understanding the needs of the customers, and trying to meet them, no business can survive.
Especially during a time like this where technology is bringing customers closer to businesses like never before and when competition is raging high.
Businesses need to place their energy and endeavors on understanding what makes a customer stick to their business and capitalize on them.
Only then can they become successful and grow in their business. No matter if you make computers or mobile phones, sell insurance, develop software, offer custom web design, or give medical and healthcare advice, everything that you do must tether back to what the customers need and want.
If you are unable to offer what the customers need or want, there is no business. Would you buy a product or service if you know it does not meet your needs? No. So why would the customer?
As a result, take the right steps to understand customer needs, leverage all the resources you have to learn what the customers need, and strive to make products that the customers need.
Then, you will see your business soaring. Isn’t that what you want, or any other business for that matter?
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