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HOW TO UNDERSTAND YOUR CUSTOMERS NEEDS

January 17, 2023by Michael Ezeadichie0
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HOW TO UNDERSTAND YOUR CUSTOMERS NEEDS

 

Do you know how to ascertain and understand your customers’ needs?

As the new year starts, this is an important question that every entrepreneur needs to understand. The entrepreneurship journey goes beyond wishing for new customers. Customer acquisition might be an essential aspect of the journey. However, it would help if you also strive for customer satisfaction and retention. And you can only achieve all these if you understand your customers’ needs.

Some entrepreneurs often need to avoid assuming the needs of their customers. It is one of the biggest mistakes you can make as a business owner, as it would affect the entire business.

We have found it essential to talk about customers’ needs. This article would be exploring how to understand the needs of your customers and also how to treat your customers better.

HOW TO UNDERSTAND YOUR CUSTOMERS NEEDS
HOW TO UNDERSTAND YOUR CUSTOMERS NEEDS

Ways to Understand Customer Needs

So, check out the various ways to understand customers’ needs below. In no particular order, they are:

 

  • Create a user persona

Do you have a product or service you’re offering to your target audience?

If yes, you first need to create a user persona before trying to sell to them. You have to be a customer before you can sell to customers.

Creating a personality type for your audience is best. In creating the persona, you need to answer questions like the gender of your target audience. What age range are you looking at?

When you get the answer to these questions, you can get a feel of their personality. You can even interview people who fall within the age grade or category.

Creating a user persona gives you something to remember when dialoguing with your customers. You need to understand them better and know the best channels to use in communicating with them.

For example, it could be that the best way to get through to your customers is by radio or newspaper. So, you know that social media would be the wrong channel, and you should refrain from investing in it.

The first point of failure starts when you do not work with a user persona when interacting with your customers.

 

  • Provide room for getting feedback

Asides from creating a user persona, you also need to provide room for regular communication with your customers. It is the only way to know their needs better and hear from them.

Feedback is always important when providing services for people. It lets you know if you’re serving them right and if they are satisfied. It is common for business owners to assume that their customers are satisfied. However, it could be that your customers want more, or they want things to be done differently.

You would only know about it if your business provided room for feedback. You can always reach out to your customers via calls to get feedback. Ask them if they are happy with your business and the services you are providing.

You can also create a form that you send to your customers regularly to hear what they think about your brand. Or, you can reach out to them via email.

One of the best ways of getting customer feedback is by having a social media profile. Here, your customers can reach out to you directly. You can also get a feel of what they think about your brand from the feedback they drop in your comment section.

 

  • Carry out competitor analysis

 

What are your competitors doing?

First, it would be unwise to think that there are no other players in the market. You are not the only one providing the product and services. For example, you sell electronics. There are other electronics vendors across various cities in the country. So, you are sure to have various vendors competing for the same target audience.

Since there are many players in the industry, you need to be strategic about reaching out to your customers. Therefore, it would be in the right place to carry out competitor analysis. For example, you can check to see what your competitors are doing and how they satisfy their customers.

If people keep patronizing them, they are doing something right. And it would be best to emulate what they are doing as it shows that it is what customers love.

A smart business owner would take pointers from what competitors are doing and also add more to it to ensure that they boost their business. If you do not have the time to carry out this research, ensure that you have a handy team. This way, you can be sure that you wouldn’t miss out on anything.

 

  • Put aside your assumptions.

 

Some business owners use their persona when relating with customers. However, it is always best to remember that you are not your customer. The fact that you like something does not mean that your customers would also like it. It is why we advised earlier that you should create a user persona.

It would be wrong to work with assumptions when relating with customers, as your assumptions could be damaging. Instead, when you think about something, talk it out with the research team. They would cross-check your assumptions with the target audience’s persona and see if it would work.

The fact that you are the business owner doesn’t mean that all strategies should be based on your bias. Unfortunately, some business owners are usually self-absorbed, leading to their downfall and that of the business.

Understandably, you are the boss and owner of the business. But the needs of your business should be the priority and not your personal needs. It is also why you need to work with business experts as an entrepreneur. These business experts would give you the best advice and help you navigate handling your assumptions versus the reality on the ground so that your business would succeed.

 

  • Invest in studying customer data

 

What are the buying habits of your customers? How often do they patronize your business? These questions form the behavior of your target audience, and you need to get the answers. It is what we call customer data.

You would be chasing the wind without your customer data when running a business. When are your peak sales periods? If you do not know the answer to this question, how would you know when to restock a product or channel your best marketing strategies?

From your customer data, you can analyze and ascertain many things that would help in the better running of your business.

It could be that you offer many products and services to your customers. So, which is the most preferred of these products and services?

Entrepreneurs who invest time studying customer data are sure to excel more than those who ignore data. The importance of data analysis cannot be overemphasized. If you cannot do the work yourself, you can employ the services of a data analyst.

You should have a special team that gets you the desired data and helps with its interpretation if you’re looking to better and boost your business.

 

 

WAYS ENTREPRENEURS CAN TREAT THEIR CUSTOMERS BETTER

 

Now that you understand your customer’s needs, the next goal should be treating these customers better. As the new year commences, you need to prioritize your customers.

Using the 5As in customer service can help you serve your customers better.

 

They are:

  • Acknowledge

Suppose your customer approaches you and expresses displeasure with your products and services. How would you react?

Understandably, some of you may feel defensive, and there could be the urge to start defending without listening to the complaint. However, it is a habit you must work on and drop if you want to treat your customers better.

The fact that the customer approached you shows that they value your brand and they want you to do better. So, the best thing is to listen attentively to the complaint. It is always best to view complaints as feedback that helps you grow your brand.

After hearing from the customer, you must acknowledge that you’ve heard the complaint. It would be best if you made the customer know that their feelings are valid and that you appreciate the fact that they could air out their displeasure.

This way, the customer sees you as a business owner who is always ready to listen and improve. Such a customer would always be ready to spread positive news about your brand to others. Acknowledging their complaints would go a long way in earning this customer as a brand, and you’ve got an advertiser in them.

 

  • Apologize

The next thing you need to do after acknowledging the complaint is to apologize. You can’t say that you’ve heard what the customer has to say and dismiss the customer abruptly.

If you did not know, customers are like babies, and you must coddle them appropriately. So, it would be best if you thought of ways and strategies to deploy to appease your customers in cases of displeasure.

Once you’ve made the customer know that you hear their complaints, you need to apologize. First, make them know that it wasn’t your intention or that of your brand to cause them any inconvenience. Then, on the spot, ask the customer how you can make it up to them.

Assure the customer that such would not happen again, and you can even offer them a mini discount to compensate for the inconvenience. A little ‘sorry’ can go a long way in melting the heart of an angry customer.

No matter how angry a customer might be, how you approach the issue goes a long way. It can determine if that customer stays retained or not. So, ensure that your ego doesn’t get in the way and be generous with apologies to displeased customers.

 

  • Act

Serving your customers better shouldn’t stop with apologizing. Apologizing without action means nothing. So, you need to get to the root of the problem and ensure that you get it fixed.

It could be that the customer complained about poor customer service. It means you need to do a review of your customer service team. You can even go the extra mile and enroll your customer service team members in courses that would improve them.

It would be best if you were proactive as a business owner. It is like noticing a weed amongst your crops as a farmer. Then, of course, you would swing into action and want the weed out so that you can have a bountiful harvest.

It also applies to your business. Once your customers have drawn your attention to an issue, ensure that you act on it and get it resolved immediately.

  • Appreciate

So, your customers have been loyal to you all year round. They see your competitors but have chosen to stick with your brand. Irrespective of the hiccups and hitches, they believe in your brand and keep buying from you.

It isn’t easy to get to such a high level of customer retention. So, you need to appreciate these customers for always sticking with your brand. It could be by remembering their birthdays and always sending birthday messages or giving out coupons.

Appreciation doesn’t always have to be elaborate. Even little gestures can go a long way, showing that you have your customers at heart.

As a business owner, you must learn always to appreciate your customers to serve them better. After all, they could have taken their money elsewhere to patronize others, but they’ve stuck with you.

  • Audit

 

Lastly, you must regularly audit the strategies you deploy when it concerns customer interfacing. For example, is it enough to only send out birthday messages? What if you go the extra mile and give a specific discount amount to customers on their birthdays?

You can also audit by checking the problems that people complained about. Then, after you’ve resolved the problem, you can send out forms and questionnaires to check if your customers are satisfied. You should always find a way to audit your business, as that is the only way to improve.

Running a business can be draining, but 2023 isn’t the year to give up. Instead, use all we’ve discussed to ensure that you retain your customers and serve them better!


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