How to Really Know What Customers Want

Know What Customer Want
8 min read

Learn How to Discover What Customers Really Want With These Tips

Ever wonder what makes retail giants like Apple, Amazon, Google, and Samsung, such business powerhouses?

If you have, you’re not alone.

Many retail owners and managers wonder what the key is to these retail entities’ success. It’s simple. They put customers first. That’s right. They put customers first.

In other words, they make sure the customer is at the center of everything they do in their organizations. From creating new products and improving existing services to delivering epic customer support and providing superior added value.

Focusing on the customer helps companies large and small flourish.

But becoming customer-centric is challenging. Numerous obstacles stand in your way as a modern business—especially if you’ve been around for a while, including:

  • Failing to get senior executive buy-in
  • Rejecting the change to your culture
  • Resorting to old ways because it’s faster and more convenient

These are three critical obstacles to customer centricity.

Step one in becoming customer-centric, however, is determining what customers want. Knowing what they want is critical to succeeding in business regardless of your industry.

The article below discusses how you can tell what customers want. We will cover the following topics:

Know your customers needs main topics

Putting customers at your company’s core makes not only sound business sense but also a great financial strategy.

Importance of Providing Customers What They Want

Thanks to the Internet, today’s customers are more demanding than ever. They want what they want when they want it and how they want it.

If you don’t provide it, they’ll bolt. Can you relate?

Today’s customers will stop being your customer in a heartbeat if you don’t treat them right. More than likely, they’ll never be back—no matter what you do.

Business, then, must provide customers what they want no questions asked. Doing so, however, is worth it. In addition to enhancing profitability, providing customers what they want separates you from competitors and builds strong customer relationships.

Put another way, providing customers what they want makes an impact, as the statistics below show:

  • More than 80% of satisfied customers are more likely to do business with you again if they have a positive experience.
  • More than 90% of customers will “take action” after a negative experience – like sharing concerns with friends and family, or churning.
  • It is 6-7 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to keep a current one.
  • Loyal customers are worth up to ten times more than a first purchase
The value of loyal customers

The key for businesses is determining what customers want and then making sure they get it.

But first, you need to find out what customers need are. Customer needs drive customer wants, which help determine a purchase.

What is a “Customer Need”?

A customer need is a reason a person buys your product or service.

When people get hungry, for example, they start looking around for a restaurant to have lunch. Hunger, then, is a customer need. Provide that customer with a hearty meal, and he or she will return another time.

Often, multiple customer needs must work together to drive a significant purchase decision.

Customer needs can be broken up into product needs and service needs. Product needs include the following:

Functionality

This need is often how the product functions to solve customer problems. Does the product do what it says it will?

Product price

Customers have limited budgets with which to buy things. The cost of your product must be within a customer’s budget.

Convenience

The product must be a convenient solution to the problem the buyer is trying to solve. It can’t create more work for customers.

Experience

Using your product needs to be simple and straight forward. That way it doesn’t take more effort for the buyers to use it and have a poor customer experience.

Design

Your product’s design must lend itself to making things intuitive and easy to use, not complicated and hard to use.

Reliability

The product must work as promoted, or as close to promoted as possible, every time you use it. If it does, it’s reliable.

Performance

The product must work up the level it was advertised to do. If the product’s performance is subpar, word will get around, and customers won’t buy it.

Efficiency

The item purchased must accomplish the work it was bought for in as efficient a manner as possible.

Compatibility

The product bought must work with the other products. That way customers can use it at their company, at home, or on the road.

Service needs, on the other hand, work on a different level. But satisfying them is just as critical as meeting a customer’s product needs.

Service needs include the following:

Understanding and empathy

What do customers want from you when they contact customer service? They want compassion and understanding. Provide those things, and they will come back.

Educational Information

Provide information to customers from the moment they start with you and as long as they stay with you. Use informative content like blogs, knowledge bases, white papers, technical articles, and so on.

Fairness in everything

No one likes to feel gouged when it comes to pricing or anything else. Customers want a good product or service at a fair price. They also want fair contract terms and so on.

Empowerment/Control

Customers want to feel in control—especially when it comes to business transactions. Empower customers when you can. Make it easy for them to bring back products, change subscriptions, adjust terms.

Transparency on issues

Product changes. Service mishaps. Things are breaking. These things happen. When they do, customers want you to be transparent about what happened.

Options

Customers want options. They love options like product variety, subscriptions, payment choices, and so on. Provide as much freedom of choice as possible for customers.

Be proactive in meeting customer needs—whether product or service—and you’ll do well. That’s because they serve as the basis for what customers want. Below are some tools and best practices to help you pinpoint exactly what customers want.

Know What Customers Want: Five Critical Tools

Companies have a wide variety of tools at their disposal to tell what customers want. Below are five proven tools you can use to unearth customer wants:

  1. Customer needs analysis surveys — These surveys can tell you where you stand with customers. That can help you figure out if you’re meeting their needs, especially when it comes to their products. These tools also tell you how you stack up with competitors.
  2. Means-ends analysis surveys — These usually follow customer needs analysis surveys. They give you a clearer picture of why a customer buys from you. But also why they buy that particular product or service. The reasons often revolve around features, benefits, and value.
  3. Mapping the customer journey — This tool is ideal for finding out what process the customer goes through when buying your product. The journey may include multiple touchpoints and several phases. Mapping also helps identify points of friction and chances for improvement.
  4. Customer interviews — Interviews can provide valuable information. But sometimes customers can’t always say what they want. Using the five “Whys” technique helps. It assists you in finding the root causes of problems, and not the symptoms.
  5. Voice of customer surveys — These surveys differ from the studies we mentioned above. They collect data from emails and pop-up windows on websites. They also tell you the attitudes and expectations of existing and prospective customers. Using open- and close-ended questions produce the best data.

These are just a handful of tools available to you that can help you pinpoint what customers want. Following are five best practices that can help you do the same.

What Customers Really Want: Five Best Practices

The critical question you want to answer here is what ultimate value are they looking for from your products and services.

  • Provide feedback mechanisms — No company likes to hear criticism of their products and services. But getting that feedback provides opportunities to find out exactly what it is your customers want from your product and service.
  • Follow up after buying — When customers buy a new product or service, they want to use it right away. Follow up with customers shortly after they buy from you to determine if you’ve met their needs. That’s called nurturing a relationship.
  • Create customer personas — Creating customer personas—detailed descriptions of who your customers are. They can uncover a lot of things, including current buying trends and long-term customer patterns. Plus, it can help you understand customer needs.
  • “Follow me home” research — This method has you follow a customer to home or work. For example, you follow a customer to her workplace, watch her do her job, and see what her pain points are. Then you decide where there are chances of improving the situation using your product or service.
  • Conduct keyword research — This is often an overlooked approach to determining what customers want. But it’s highly effective. Looking at how a customer searches for a product or service can reveal secret wants and needs.
World Class Service

Use the methods and best practices above to pinpoint what your customers want. That’s the proven first step in becoming a customer-centric company, like Apple, Amazon, Samsung, and Google. Knowing what customers want can you boost customer satisfaction through epic customer service. Providing 24/7 live answering service or other communication channels is one way to provide exceptional service.

Conclusion

Becoming customer-centric as those retail powerhouses have done pays off. It enhances brand value, drives repeat business, promotes word-of-mouth advertising, and increases customer loyalty. More importantly, it boosts profitability.

Research by Deloitte and Touché, for example, found that customer-centric companies were 60% more profitable. Isn’t making a profit the number one goal of your business?