Identifying Customer Needs
Identifying customer needs is mission-critical for businesses looking to create a product that truly speaks to their customers’ problems. Not to mention, the easiest way to position your brand smartly in the market is to unite your internal teams behind the specific needs of your customers.
What are customer needs?
Customer needs are the named and unnamed needs your customer has when they come in contact with your business, your competitors, or when they search for the solutions you provide.
To identify the needs of your customers, solicit feedback from your customers at every step of your process. You can identify customer needs in a number of ways, for example, by conducting focus groups, listening to your customers or social media, or doing keyword research.
However, identifying the needs of your customers is easier said than done. In our experience, there are a couple easy ways to gain insight into what your customers need from you.
Methods to Identify Customer Needs:
- Focus Groups
- Social Listening
- Keyword Research
For more resources to help you identify and understand the needs of your customers, check out our guide: Understanding Your Customer's Needs and Wants in 3 Easy Steps.
Anticipating Customer Needs
Customers don’t part ways with brands that meet their every need. By anticipating customer needs, you can ensure that your product lines up with their expectations before they even have to ask for a new feature, service, or solution from you.
One of the earliest ways to determine your customer’s needs is to conduct keyword research. Think about how you function as a consumer. When you have a question about a product you’re using, is your first step to call the company and ask? Or is your first step to open Google and search for the answer to your question? Most consumers would choose the latter.
That means the secret needs of your customers actually reside in how they search for your product, your company, or your services online. For this reason, keyword research will give you the earliest insight into the needs of your customers.
Meeting Customer Needs
This is where the going gets tough. Because, once you have knowledge and data around what your customer needs from you, the next step is integrating that knowledge into already existing processes. Often this can mean revamping an entire marketing campaign. You may even need to plan, build and execute on a brand new facet of your product. Each business will have to approach this step differently, but we've created a framework for how you can identify, understand and meet customer needs.
How to Meet the Needs of Customers:
You can follow a simple, four-step procedure to meet the needs of customers.
- Identify what your customers need from you through keyword research, focus groups, or social listening.
- Distribute the information to relevant stakeholders in your organization.
- Craft product features or create content that speaks to your customer’s needs.
- Collect customer feedback on how your efforts meet their expectations.
After you've identified what your customer needs from you, take the data you've collected seriously. If customers (or potential customers) are asking for something, big or small, make sure you deliver. Businesses that have a developed methodology for how they collect and share customer insights within their org will have the best luck at meeting customer needs quickly.
For some businesses, that could mean assigning a dedicated team to collect customer insights. Other businesses may be able to roll it into the responsibilities of existing departments. If you develop a strong system for how you discover, analyze and address customer needs, your organization will be set up for long-term success. So take the time and put in the legwork.
Why is it important to meet customer needs?
All of today's most successful businesses take steps to meet customer needs early and often. For the modern marketer, taking strides to make sure your customers needs are met will help you align with other internal teams at your organization, like your sales team, customer support team, and your product team. With your whole organization operating under a cyclical process of anticipating, identifying and meeting customer needs, you'll see results in no time.
Looking for more resources? If you’re looking to understand, identify and meet your customer's needs, you’re already practicing customer-first marketing. What’s customer-first marketing? We're glad you asked.
Check out Your Guide to Customer-First Marketing.