How to Recognise Customer Needs More Effectively | Chatomiser
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How to Recognise Customer Needs More Effectively

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Understanding customers is a key to business success. But it can be difficult to know what customers want, and if you don't have a strong handle on their needs, then you might not be able to deliver products or services they'll enjoy. The better your product or service is aligned with customer needs, the more likely it's going to be purchased by a satisfied customer who may also recommend it to others.

What are Customer Needs?

Customer needs are all the reasons that motivate potential clients to purchase a product or service. In other words, they're the drivers behind customer decisions. They describe the outcomes and benefits customers are looking to achieve. Some needs are expected or desired by consumers, while others can surprise them, and it's the unexpected that can make the biggest difference.

What are The Types of Customer Needs?

Functional Utilities

These are the simplest needs that describe the basic expectations customers have about your products or services. Without satisfying them your solution either wouldn't solve the problem they have or the outcome wouldn't meet the minimal industry standards. In other words, your solution simply wouldn't work as expected.

Social Gains

While these needs are less tangible satisfying them can be crucial in some industries. They're all about improving how your customers are perceived by others and include needs to acquire signs of power or status. Helping your customers develop a favourable vision of themselves can be a powerful differentiating factor.

Positive Emotions

These are some of the most advanced needs. No matter if they're rational or irrational they can make a huge difference. Satisfying deeply held emotional needs is about making your clients feel good and can lead to an emotional attachment to your brand, which can result in an unprecedented growth of your business.

Cost Savings

These needs describe how much benefit an individual is looking to gain from buying a product or service. They include things like time savings, money-saving opportunities, and quality benefits that influence spending decisions. Satisfying economic utilises will help them feel more satisfied with their purchase.

How to Identify Customer Needs?

While there's a large variety of potential approaches you can take to identify customer needs, some of them might sound too scientific, difficult, or time-consuming for you to perform. To simplify the process we've distilled them into a small set of simple, yet powerful methods. Although they're easy to implement they'll help you to uncover and understand the needs of your customers.

To get a fuller picture of customer needs it's best to combine all of the results, but if you're just starting, you can follow the order in which they're presented because it reflects the steps each person takes on their journey to become your customer. This will not only help you to gather enough information before getting into the next step but will also ensure a smoother transition for your customers.

Desk Research

This type of research is focused on analysing existing data collected for other projects or purposes. It should be the starting point of all your customer understanding activities because it gives you a head start, letting you start building on the shoulders of giants and avoid reinventing the wheel. A good example of desk research is search engine analysis.

Autoethnography

It's all about putting yourself into the customer's shoes to obtain a more visceral understanding of your client's perspective. To do that you can imagine having the same need, budget, and time constraints as your clients have. You can also try limiting yourself in one or more of these areas.Immersing yourself in empathy will help you to better relate to others who might see things differently.

Participant Observation

Your focus here should be to observe your customers during their normal day-to-day interactions with your business. In this type of research, it's important to track things like what people trying to do, where they come from, and at what time they perform these activities. Luckily all of this information and more can be collected by chatbots in the form of conversation engagement metrics.

Customer Interview

There's no better way to learn more about customer expectations, experiences, perceived quality of services, processes, doubts, concerns, or ideas for improvement than asking your customers directly after performing a relevant activity. This kind of interview can be done automatically by a chatbot after accomplishing a given task in a form of a customer feedback survey.

How to Prioritise Customer Needs?

Although we've just talked about what customer needs include if your goal is to create a repeatable process for improvement it might be more beneficial to look at them from a different perspective. This can help you to gain a better understanding of the underlying motives and in turn, result in an improved decision-making process. We suggest prioritising customer needs in the following order:

Expectations

This type of consumer needs sets the baseline for customer expectations and contains all the basic needs that have to be fulfilled by your solution for it to even be considered as a viable option. In other words, without clearly showing your ability to satisfy basic expectations your chances for acquiring a new customer are slim to none. That's whysatisfying expectations should be your primary focus.

Desires

These needs exceed the basic expectations, they're all about the nice-to-haves, that while not essential for your solution to work, can make a substantial difference in customers' perception of the quality of services your company delivers. These are usually the gains that customers will be able to come up with if you ask them, but you need to ask the right questions and listen to their answers.

Surprises

It's all about going above and beyond the basic needs and desires. Unfortunately, your clients won't provide you with this type of need explicitly. This is because they either can't recall any potential options from their past, or don't consider them as a possible outcome, or just don't want to sound absurd, but make no mistake, delivering them has the highest potential to improve their satisfaction.

Why is it Important to Identify Customer Needs?

Your business existence depends on delivering products or services to its customers, so their needs are the ultimate source of direction in which your company should evolve. It's like a battery powering continuous improvement process that enables constant adaptation of your offerings to better suit their expectations, and that's going to improve customer acquisition and retention.

How to Anticipate Customer Needs and Why You Should?

While assuming all your consumer needs based solely on previous clients can drive them away, there's a common overlap between them that you can leverage not only to create content or expand your product or service features to meet those needs early but also offer them proactive support by delivering the right information at the exact time they need it most to dramatically improve their customer experience.

How do Customer Needs Change Over Time?

Customer needs evolve differently over time. While some of them might form daily, weekly, monthly or yearly patterns, others will constantly rise or gradually fall. That's why it's important to start collecting all the necessary information as soon as possible because you'll only be able to spot the difference and notice emerging patterns if you have a historical reference at your fingertips.

Conclusion

Customer needs are sometimes an overlooked source of direction that can boost your business performance by triggering successful change, growth, and innovation processes. By pinpointing them early on and adapting to changing customer demands, you'll be able to deliver products or services better aligned with their expectations what will result in higher conversion rates while also increasing their loyalty and retention.

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