In the part one of this series about understanding your customer’s needs, we have identified two negative effects from unsatisfied customer’s needs: losing your own business potential energy from customers and marketing activities and losing potential energy stored into your cash.
So, understanding your customer’s needs is an important part of your day-to-day job as an entrepreneur.
These negative effects are fatal to every company and especially for startups that have lack of cash and business experience. One of the reasons why a small business fails is misunderstanding customer’s needs.
How can you better understand your customer’s needs?
1. Understand your market niche.
If you decide to sell on that market niche, you must ask yourself who, what, why, when and where some person from that niche buying something. This means that you must know who are your customers. If you know who are your buyers you will know something about their needs. If it is a senior citizen, they will have different needs than juniors. After answering the first question you can simply answer next four questions.
2. Ask your sales team about your customers
Because your sales team is in direct contact with your customers they can have enough information about them, and what they want. In one retail store into the database about selling, I make an option to each employee as a seller to make daily reports about most important parts of the day. In this way, they can record if some customer asks for something that entrepreneur doesn’t have, and after that entrepreneur will see that records and can make analysis if it is possible to bring that type of products or services.
3. Make short Interview to learn about your customer’s needs
This can be used also as a marketing weapon that will tell you something about your current or future customers from your list of leads. The interview will be with several simple questions about their needs and earlier experience with that type of products and services. You can use this information for continuous improvement of your company.
4. Blog Comments
If you use a business blog as a marketing weapon for your business, you can have different comments on your posts. Don’t ignore the negative comments. Answer that you will improve that negative impression and start finding solutions about that. When you fix the reasons about that negativity, you can send email to the person who gives a comment to tell him that you have made the changes and now everything is perfect. In such a way, you will try to receive one more chance for your company.
Make surveys about customers experience with your business. Surveys can be online on your blog and offline in your store or other business places. The survey will give you fresh information about the experience of your customers with your business. Surveys can be used for current customers but also from potential customers. You will be able to mix current experience with expectations from potential buyers.
6. Social Networks
Social networks in the past years become so popular that there is not a person or business that doesn’t use some of them. Make your current and potential customers the part of your social network and look for their notes and expectations.
7. Read other blogs in your industry and leave comments on them
On the internet, you can find thousands of blogs in the same niche as yours. Choose some of them, read the posts and leave useful comments. In the comments section there, you can also find different needs of the different people with different problems. You can also give some answers about those problems and send these people to your business blog to read something about your business.
8. Talk with people
Everywhere you go you need to talk with people about their needs related to your business. You can receive worth information about their problems and their needs that will give you ideas about the improvement of your business. If you don’t talk, they will not tell you anything, and you will miss the chance to get good information.
9. Read the news in the industry
Read newspapers and magazines that cover themes about your industry. There you can find different information about what’s happening outside of your business. Use that information to improve your business decisions.
10. Track trends
You must track trends in your business field. For example, many people before they decide to buy something are searching on the internet to see what type of products exists on the market. They are also looking to find other’s experience with those products. You can use Google’s trends to analyze what is searched more on the internet and what are the current trends.
And at the end spend some time for these activities:
- Think about your marketing niche.
- Talk with your employees about customer’s need at least once a week.
- Schedule an interview with some of the most important customers once in two months.
- Read comments on your blog every day.
- Schedule 3-4 surveys yearly that you will conduct.
- Spend 10-20 minutes daily on social networks and read about different needs.
- Spend 30 minutes weekly to read 2-3 blogs about your industry or market.
- When you’re talking with different people don’t forget to ask him about their needs connected with your business.
- Spend 30 minutes daily to read news about your industry.
- Track the different trends in your industry.