In today’s business environment, product features and service benefits alone won’t sell. Customers need to know precisely how your company’s offering will help them solve their needs. It has become increasingly important for businesses to know and understand their customer needs. Fortunately, there are several ways your business can accomplish this.
Why Understanding Customer Needs is Vital
Every business wants to be successful. When it comes to marketing, you can track clicks and look at analytics, but your success comes down to what your customers think about your brand.
Companies that take a customer-centric approach to their business put the customer’s needs first, meaning building relationships and solving problems comes before bottom-line results. The ones that do this get rewarded with loyal customers, more sales, and incredible growth.
The simplest example is Southwest Airlines, which is a company that has given customers what they want and reaped the rewards in market share.
Another excellent example of understanding how to know your customer is e.l.f. Cosmetics. Launched in 2004 as a 100% eCommerce model, the company sells on-trend products to consumers affordably and quickly. The formula helped the company get to know its customers so well that it now has 37 million social media followers and partnerships with retail giants like Walmart and Target.
What You Need to Know About Your Customers
Your customers might need something from your company, but it may not be quite what you’re offering. If you can better tailor your products and services to meet their needs, you can drastically improve your results.
This starts with understanding your customers on as many levels as possible. Some of the things you should know about your typical customers include:
- Who they are – For B2C sales, you should know a typical customer’s age, gender, and marital status. For B2B sales, create a profile of the types of businesses and stakeholders you’ll deal with.
- What they do – It’s useful to know people’s occupations, educational backgrounds, and interests.
- Why they buy – You can tailor your product, service, and message if you know why people are looking for help solving a problem.
- How they buy – Will you be selling face-to-face or online? What method do your customers prefer?
- When they buy – If your timing is off in your approach, your sales won’t reach their potential.
- How much they can afford – You’ll have a greater chance of success if your offering matches the financial expectations of consumers.
- Their service expectations – What’s important to customers before, during, and after the sale? Is it personalization? Free or fast shipping? Product support? Find out what it is and make this your priority.
How Businesses Can Better Understand Their Customers
When you started your business, you undoubtedly had at least a mental sketch of who your target audience might be. Most business leaders go a bit further and create a detailed profile of their target market. This is an excellent starting point to understand your customers, but you’ll need to dig deeper.
In today’s digital age, businesses have access to more data than ever. By leveraging the right tools, you can turn that data into valuable insights into your customer’s needs, desires, preferences, and motivation for each action they take. Some of the ways you can learn more about your customers include:
- Gathering data relative to customer interactions on your company website
- Searching for patterns in the data that can predict customer behavior
- Further segmenting your audience to create one or several customer personas
- Researching the needs, common pain points, and social presence of each persona
- Interviewing past and current customers for further behavioral insights
By collecting and analyzing this data, you can build a 360-degree view of each customer, which is beyond powerful. With this view, your customers will tell you what they want and when they want it. In turn, your business can provide personalized solutions, increase conversions, and boost customer retention rates.
The most successful businesses today are those that provide a superior customer experience. It’s going to be tough to do this if you don’t understand your customer’s pain points and desires. When you make leveraging this information a priority, you will begin to anticipate the needs of your customers, exceed their expectations, and improve your business results.