Identifying customer needs is an ongoing process you must master if your business is to survive long term. One method for determining customer needs is to simply ask, obviously. However, most often customers themselves aren’t sure of what they need. Instead of guessing what your customers need, try the following methods for making these determinations.
Tips for Identifying Customer Needs
1) Look at Your Data (Duh!) – You likely already have some data available from Google Analytics, social media analytics, your email marketing autoresponder or other places online.
Put that data into order so that you can figure out exactly who your current customers are.
You may be surprised that they’re not who you think they are.
For example, you may have thought your audience was mostly men between the ages of 24 to 36 and you find out that over half are female of the same age.
Knowing this, how would you change your products and/or services?
How about your marketing materials?
2) Speak to Stakeholders – If you have a sales staff, customer care support, and other people working with you, talk to them about the information they’ve gathered from the customers about their needs.
Often, you’ll find a customer need in a complaint.
For example, if too many customers need to call and get directions on how to find the tutorial for their products, then you have a problem with disseminating the right information to your customers.
Perhaps with the direction of customer service you’ll create a checklist to help them avoid the problem.
Yes, that was a hint! 😉
3) Map the Customer’s Journey – From the initial trigger event until they’re a paying customer and in your product funnel, you should be able to map their journey.
This process will help you identify gaps in content needs, technology and more.
Writing down the steps your customers needs to go in order to go through your entire product funnel is an exercise that will pay off.
Why yes, that was another hint! 🙂
Back to identifying customer needs…
4) Analyze Your Competition – The competition has followers that are your audience too.
Look at what the competition does to attract this audience.
Once you know this, you can use what you know to place ads directly to the competition in order to garner some of their customers as your own.
Plus, you can see what they do that works and what doesn’t work.
In all honesty, a lot of my education is a result of reverse engineering what my competitors do — looking for areas they either under-serve or do not serve at all.
Afterwards, I simply re-engineer what they’ve done to serve those areas, along with adding my own expertise and personal style to the marketing mix.
5) Follow Your Customers – On Twitter and all social media, it’s important to follow your customers.
When you do this, you can learn a lot about them and what they stand for.
You can learn about what problems they have that you can solve, and you can promote the products you already have to them.
Identifying customer needs is mostly a matter of keeping your eyes open and studying your customers.
Personally, being former military, I look at discovering my customer’s needs as if I were gathering intelligence on “enemy movements”.
Obviously, my customers are not the enemy, but you get the gist of what I’m saying here.
The more time and effort you put into gathering data on your customers, the better you’ll become at naming three pain points, plus your solutions, without batting an eye.
But first, you must do the work to locate your customers and observe their behavior – using the analytics software that you have.
What about you?
What have you done to successfully identify your customers needs? I’d love to see your input in the comment section below.
If you’ve struggled in this area, I’d like to hear what you have to say as well.
Until next time,