Types Of Customer Needs And How To Address Them

Building a customer-oriented business that truly listens to your needs can be overwhelming, and if you haven’t paid close attention to your customers before, the learning curve will be steep.

Customer-oriented companies know that meeting customer needs and exceeding expectations in the process and the way to promote healthy business growth and build good relationships with the people they serve.

Here is a beginner’s guide that will steer you in the right direction and which defines the types of customer needs to look for, unloads normal obstructions that keep organizations from satisfying their clients’ necessities, and uncovers answers to begin further developing client support.

What are the Needs of a Customer?

A customer’s need is a motive that drives the customer to purchase a product or service. In the end, the need is the driving force behind customers’ purchasing decisions. In many cases, businesses view customer needs as an opportunity to address surplus-value or return to original motivation.

The following are the most common types of customer needs, and most of them work together to drive purchasing decisions.

Product Needs

  • Functionality
    • Customers need a product or service to function the proper way to solve their problems and desires.
  • Price
    • Customers have a unique budgets that can be used to purchase products or services.
  • Convenience
    • Your product or service should be a convenient solution for the functions that customers want to fulfill.
  • Experience
    • The experience when utilizing your product or service should be simple, or at least clear, so it does not generate more work for your clients.
  • Design
    • In accordance with experience, the product or service needs a smooth design to make it generally simple and natural to utilize.
  • Reliability
    • Every time a customer wants to use a product or service, the product or service must reliably play the role of advertising.
  • Performance
    • The product or service needs to perform accurately so the client can accomplish their objectives.
  • Efficiency
    • The product or service should be effective for the client by smoothing out a generally tedious cycle.
  • Compatibility
    • The product or service must be compatible with other products your customers are already using.

Service Needs

  • Empathy
    • At the point when your customers reach out to customer assistance, they need compassion and comprehension from the individuals helping them.
  • Fairness
    • Customers expect fairness from the company, from price to service terms and contract period.
  • Transparency
    • Customers expect transparency from a company they do business with. Service failures, price changes, and glitches happen, and customers deserve candour from the companies they give money to.
  • Control
    • Customers must feel that they are in control of the interactions from start to finish, and beyond, empowering customers does not need to end with sales. Make it easier for them to return products, change subscriptions, adjust conditions, and more.
  • Options
    • Customers need options when they decide to buy from a company. Offer a variety of product, subscription, and payment options to provide that freedom of choice.
  • Information
    • Customers need information from the moment they interact with your brand to days and months after they purchase a product. Businesses should invest in educational blog content, educational knowledge base content, and regular communications to ensure customers have the information they need to successfully use a product or service.
  • Accessibility
    • Customers need to be able to reach your service and support teams. This means you need to provide multiple channels for customer service. 

How to Identify Customer Needs

The first step in determining customer needs is to conduct a customer needs analysis that considers all of the following factors: Product-market fit, customer feedback, input from your service team, and any customer service data you can gather. Based on this, you can determine customer needs as well as any friction in your process.

Whether you’re selling technology or some other product or service, the underlying message he conveys here rings true.

It means understanding where customers are coming from when they decide to buy, what expectations they’ll bring with them, and what obstacles they’ll encounter along the way.

By designing your process with these aspects in mind, you’ll be able to identify your customers’ needs at every stage of their lifecycle.

What is a Customer Needs Analysis?

A customer needs analysis is used in product development and branding to thoroughly analyze the customer and ensure that the product or message offers the benefits, features, and characteristics necessary to provide value to the customer.

Customer needs analysis is usually done through surveys that help companies determine their position in their respective competitive markets and the extent to which they can meet the needs of their target customers.

The survey should primarily ask questions about your brand and your competitors, as well as about customers’ product awareness and attitudes towards the brand in general.

Questions may include:

  • Questions about positive and negative word associations with your brand.
  • Questions that ask customers to rank your brand in a group with similar and/or competing brands
  • Questions comparing and sorting brands by their preferred uses

Once you have completed the Customer Needs Analysis Survey, you can use the responses to build a more complete picture of why your customers buy from you and what differentiates your product or service from those of your competitors.

In a means analysis, these responses are analyzed to determine the main reasons why a customer would buy your product. These reasons for buying can be divided into three main groups:

  • Features: A customer buys a product or service because of the features associated with the purchase. For example, if the customer is buying a computer, they might buy it because it is smaller and lighter than other options.
  • Utility: A customer buys a product or service because of an actual or perceived benefit they expect to receive from it. The customer might also buy the computer because it easily syncs wirelessly with their other devices.
  • Values: a customer buys a product or service because of unique, individual, real, or perceived values that he or she believes it will help fulfill. The customer may believe that the computer will help them be more creative or artistic and open up other personal or professional artistic opportunities.

As you can imagine, these reasons for buying can vary from customer to customer. That’s why it’s important to conduct these customer surveys, collect the responses, and classify them into these three categories. This way, you can find out which of these motivators you meet and which ones you can improve to make your product or service even more competitive in the marketplace.

If you want to know what your customers think about their experience with your company, ask them. Asking your customers and members of your service team can help analyze customer needs and make improvements in your customer lifecycle.

When collecting data from your customer needs analysis, it’s important to identify the friction points that your customers experience and the moments in their journey that bring unexpected joy.

What can your business change?
What elements can you expand upon?
What parts of the experience need work?

Asking yourself these questions can provide valuable insights as you work to find solutions for your customers.

How to Solve for Customer Needs

The first step to finding solutions for your customers is to put yourself in their shoes: If you were the customer buying your goods, using your technology, or using your services, what would prevent you from achieving ultimate value?

Customer needs analysis is a great starting point for getting into your customer’s mind, especially when it comes to identifying common pain points. Based on this, you can create a proactive plan to implement your customer-centric values throughout the customer lifecycle. Below are some tips on how to do this:

Provide consistent company-wide communication

Too often, customers get caught up in the “he said, she said” game when they’re told by sales that one product can do one thing and by support or product something else. Ultimately, customers are left confused and with the impression that the company is disorganized.

Consistent internal communication across all departments is one of the best steps on the path to a customer-centric mindset. When the entire company knows its goals, values, products, and services, it’s easy to translate messages to customers’ needs.

To get everyone on the same page, organize sales and customer service meetings, send emails about new products, thoroughly train new employees, mandate quarterly training and seminars, or host webinars for employees to present important projects.

Provide instructions for easy onboarding

Customers buy a product because they believe it’ll meet their needs and solve their problems. However, the steps to adoption aren’t always clear. If best practices aren’t stated upfront and customers don’t immediately see a benefit, it’s an uphill battle to regain their trust and break bad habits.

A well-thought-out post-purchase strategy will ensure that your products or services are usable and useful.

One way businesses can capture the attention of their customers is to provide in-product instructions and guidance via email as soon as the customer receives a payment confirmation. This avoids confusion, technical questions, and distractions from the immediate euphoria after purchase.

A customer education guide or knowledge base is essential to drive customer adoption and avoid the “floundering effect” when customers get stuck. Other companies offer onboarding services for new customers, host live demos and webinars, and include events and promotions in their email signatures.

Incorporate feedback loops into every stage of the process

Engaging with customer complaints and suggestions will change the way you do business. Criticism often has a negative connotation. However, if you turn problems into opportunities, you can easily improve your business and adapt it to the needs of customers.

Just as you gathered customer feedback in your needs analysis, you can keep an eye on the pulse of your customers with customer satisfaction ratings, customer surveys, customer interviews, social media polls, or personal customer feedback emails.

If you can tie this into a repeatable process, you’ll never be in the dark about the state of your company’s customer experience and can continue to improve it.

Take customer suggestions seriously and act on them to improve design, product, and system failures. Most customer support success metrics are paramount to the customer experience, and this mentality should carry over to all areas of the business.

Nurture customer relationships

When a customer buys a product or service, they want to use it immediately and meet their immediate needs. Whether they’re delighted within the first hour, week, or month, it’s important to constantly think about their future needs.

Proactive relationship building is essential to prevent customers from losing their enthusiasm after purchase and eventually turning away from you. If customers stop hearing from you and you don’t hear from them, it can be a bad sign that their lifespan is in jeopardy.

Businesses can improve their customer relationships through a combination of customer service structure and communication strategies. Assemble a customer service team to handle customer care and retention, show your appreciation by offering rewards and gifts for loyal customers, host local events, highlight employees who go the extra mile and communicate product updates and new features.

Address the right customer needs

It may seem counterintuitive to meet your customers’ needs if you exclude customers from your business circle. However, understanding whose needs you can and can’t meet is an important step in solving the right problems. All customers’ needs can’t be treated equally, and a business needs to identify which problems it can solve and which don’t fit its vision.

To find the right customer priorities, create buyer personas and uncover consumer trends, look at long-term customer loyalty patterns, establish a clear company vision, provide top-notch customer service to valuable customers, and communicate with your ideal customers in their preferred social media space to capture questions, comments, and suggestions.

Provide excellent customer service

When a problem arises, your customers want to get it resolved and feel heard. This starts with being able to meet their needs with empathy, but also the process to get support should be simple and done through a channel that’s convenient for them.

Some customer needs are time-sensitive and require immediate interaction via phone or chat. Others are less critical and can be resolved at their leisure. Let’s take a look at the different types of customer service and explain how each optimizes your team’s ability to meet customer needs.