Why should a potential customer purchase from you? You may have a great product or service, but unless a buyer thinks so too, it doesn’t really matter. The same goes for your business as a whole.
What is that you’re offering except for the product or service itself? You should be providing an experience, a range of positive emotions that will make your customers come back for more. Yes, your goal is to increase conversions, and the price, quality, purpose, effectiveness and durability of what you’re selling is very important. But it’s not just about that. It’s about your business and your customer’s experience with you.
Are you the type of company that has a customer-first culture? Do you tick all of your customers’ needs making them come back time and time again? In this article, we will discuss some of the most common customer needs you should consider integrating into your business plan. After that, we will dive into some of the methods to identify your specific customer needs by understanding who your customers are and what their journey with your company looks like.
Common Customer Needs
Potential customers will always look at the price before deciding whether to purchase something or not. They want to make sure they are getting the best deal possible and spending their money wisely. To help them make this decision, they will compare your prices with your competitors. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to lower your prices or have the cheapest products/services on the market.
Consumers want to know what they are paying for. For instance, if what you’re offering is high quality, consumers won’t mind paying more as it will last longer and won’t have to deal with unwanted problems. The same goes if your product is sustainable or if part of the profit goes to a good cause.
Also, online reputation can affect how your potential customer views your prices. If you have built a solid reputation, shoppers will trust you, knowing it’s safe and smart to do business with you. In turn, there’s little to no risk for them to buy from you.
However, there are always ways to facilitate their purchase, especially if you’re aware that some of your potential customers are hesitant when making this decision. For example, you could offer discounts when you feel it’s appropriate. If your customers spend more than a certain amount (e.g. £100), you could give them 20% off, so it feels like a bargain. If not, you could start a membership and offer exclusive discounts throughout the year, making your customers feel special and valued.
For instance, Waterstones, a British book retailer, offers its customers a membership called Waterstones Plus. Every time they purchase from one of their stores (or online), they receive a digital stamp on their card. Once they reach ten stamps, they get £10 worth of credit to use on their next purchase. This way, Waterstones’ customers will be more inclined to shop with them rather than their competitors as they know they will be rewarded for their loyalty.
Finally, if you’re offering a long-term service, you could add a discounted price to your annual plan. By doing this, shoppers will be more inclined to choose the former rather than the more expensive monthly plan.
There’s always something you can do to drive shoppers to do business with you, and price plays a crucial role in determining whether a consumer buys from you or goes elsewhere.
Reliability is another common need customers will expect from your company. First of all, they need to trust who they are buying from. Again, this relates to your online reputation and what others are saying about you. They also have to trust that whatever they buy will function well. If it doesn’t perform correctly, your customer won’t be able to achieve their goals. Thus, they need to be reassured that the product or service they purchased is reliable.
One way this can be achieved is through online reviews. What better way to reassure your potential customers than by showing how satisfied past shoppers have been with your company? Consumers trust reviews as much as personal recommendations, so make sure to use this to your advantage.
There are other ways to reassure your customers. You could provide a money-back guarantee if the product or service is not working as intended. The last thing you want is to end up with negative comments on the internet. So, make sure to keep your customers happy at all times, even after the conversion stage.
Consumers have the power to threaten your online reputation if they are unhappy, which can be daunting. Therefore it’s crucial to always think one step ahead and do everything in your power to protect your business from unsatisfied customers. Obviously, this won’t always be the case. Most of the time, if not all, your product or service will surely do its intended job. However, it’s always good to be prepared by envisioning a worst-case scenario and finding possible solutions to it.
Consumers need all the possible information to help them make a purchasing decision. They want to know exactly what they are paying and what they are getting. Are there any hidden costs? How long does the delivery take? What is the product made of? Presenting potential customers with valuable information can help them get a real insight into what you’re offering. Also, it eliminates frustration as they won’t have to carry out their own research on other websites, reducing bounce rates and increasing conversion rates.
Potential buyers want to get to know you and learn who you are, what you do and how transparent your company is. Today, shoppers value businesses that are ethical and sustainable and will even pay more if this is the case. Indeed, based on a Futerra survey, 88% of buyers want companies to help them make a difference, and over 70% of consumers need businesses to be completely transparent about their environmental impact.
They want to learn about your production process, supply chain and working conditions. They also want to check how sustainable you are and if you’re negatively impacting the environment.
If you’re hiding information from your customers, they won’t trust you as much. Also, business secrets will eventually become exposed in one way or the other. So, might as well be fully transparent and change any aspects of your business that you know your customers would not approve of.
Case Study: Reformation
Fashion is one of the main leading causes of climate change. Indeed, fast fashion contaminates our oceans, air and soil through their unethical and unsustainable production process. This industry creates an outrageous amount of waste, uses excessive amounts of fresh water and contributes to 10% of total carbon emissions.
Fortunately, not all fashion brands are to blame for this practice. Reformation’s website has an entire section on sustainability where they explain their sustainable practices, showcase their sustainability report, and talk about their commitments, factories, materials used, among other topics. They are completely transparent and want to share their constant progress and achievements with their customers.
Since they are not a typical fast-fashion brand, their clothes are not as cheap as other companies. However, their mission and efforts are inspirational, which makes it worth every penny. Customers can purchase from Reformation knowing that they are not promoting climate change and degrading the environment. Their sustainability efforts and transparency has led Reformation to acquire many loyal customers that go back time and time again to buy high-quality, sustainable clothes.
Customers need as much information as possible about your business and offers. They want to make sure you’re a competent company and that your product or service will satisfy their personal needs. Your goal is to make their experience with you memorable and straightforward, so be sure to present them with as much information as needed. If you don’t, they will head to third-party websites for more information and, who knows what they may find. Also, users leaving your website can cause you to lose a potential customer as they may decide to purchase from someone else. Thus, it’s always better to keep shoppers on-site.
Make sure to create resources that might help your customers get an insight into your company and industry. Produce blog posts relating to your product or service, suggesting why it’s a necessity rather than a simple want. You could also use this opportunity to educate or entertain your customers. This way, they will see you not just as a business but as a community.
Videos are also another great resource. Talking directly to the customer will make them feel more connected to your company as they can associate a face to it. You could also showcase video testimonials of your past customers talking about your business, highlighting the benefits of purchasing with you.
Online reviews are an essential piece of information your potential customers will want to check out. They want to look at unbiased opinions that will help them make an informed purchasing decision. Showcasing reviews on your website can help achieve this. Also, it helps reduce bounce rates and increase click-throughs as consumers won’t have to view third party websites to learn what others are saying about you.
Also, if you’re a B2B, make sure to offer your potential clients whitepapers, demos, media packs and other resources to facilitate their understanding of your company and offerings.
Finally, great customer service is vital for your business success. If your customers need help before, during or after they have purchased from you, you should take the time to respond to their enquiries. After all, you don’t want your reputation to be stained by unhappy shoppers, right? So, make sure to keep your customers happy at all times, which in turn can lead to more conversions and loyalty based relations.
You may view potential customers as mere shoppers, a way for you to generate sales, but that’s not right. You have to view consumers for what they are; people who are looking for positive experiences. Yes, they do ultimately have the power to choose whether your business will succeed or fail, but this can be controlled by offering attentive customer service. Consumers want a company to be empathic and friendly. They want to know that you care about them, and they are not just a means to an end.
If you offer poor customer service, then you will lose customers and build a negative reputation. On the other hand, having great customer service can help retain customers and create loyalty-based relationships. What’s more, they will tell friends and family about you and what a positive experience they’ve had. So, strive to do everything in your power to keep your customers happy and satisfied.
The same goes with responding to reviews. If your customer takes the time out of their day to write you feedback, make sure to reply to it and show your appreciation. If it’s a positive review, then you’ll know you managed to make a customer happy. Answering their comment can help show how much you care and increase the possibility that they will shop with you again. If it is a negative review, it is arguably even more important to answer their feedback. Acknowledge their comments and let them know how their feedback is going to be solved. Also, whether you reply to a positive or negative review, it will show potential customers that you are a reliable and competent business.
Customer service is a crucial part of satisfying consumers. It’s a necessity that always needs to be at the forefront of your business strategy.
Ways to Identify Specific Customer Needs
Collect and Analyse Data
Collecting and analysing customer data is the single most effective way of understanding your target audience and creating tailored strategies that will help you achieve your business goals.
Using CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems can be extremely helpful in solidifying relationships with shoppers. This technology helps businesses interact with potential and existing customers, facilitating the relationship between the two parties. Not only that, but CRM services will gather data on your behalf so you can better understand your customers. Some of these CRM services include Zoho, Hubspot and Salesforce.
However, to truly understand your customers’ specific needs, you will need Google Analytics. Google Analytics is a web analytics service that helps businesses manage and gain insight into their customers and company’s efforts. Today, over 30 million websites use Google Analytics. This service collects information about site visitors, giving you all the answers you need to personalize your marketing strategies.
Firstly you get to know who your customers are. You can learn about their demographic, interests, location, language and much more. This way, you can be sure who your main audience is.
Secondly, you can see how you acquired these users by understanding where they came from. It could be through organic search or paid search. It could also be through social media, affiliates, and referrals. By getting an insight into where your customers are coming from, you will know where to focus your marketing budget.
With Google Analytics, you can view your users’ behaviour on your website. For instance, you can see what are the most viewed pages, the bounce rate percentage for each page and what are the most common landing and exit pages. With this information, you get to improve your website by looking at which pages are performing the worst and which have the potential to increase conversions.
Google Analytics even allows you to create goals and specific funnels to help you achieve your targets. Overall, this analytics service is an incredible tool that will give you an insight into your potential and existing customers, helping you modify your marketing strategies to generate more revenue.
Put Yourself in Their Shoes
Do you really know what your customer experience is when shopping with you? Getting to know your customers through segmentation or personas can help put yourself in their shoes.
Segmentation is the action of dividing your target market into groups or segments to help deliver more tailored messaging. This marketing strategy helps you give your target audience what they really want depending on their interests, needs, priorities and pain points. Market Segmentation can be achieved by looking at four factors: geography, behaviour, demographics and psychographics. Let’s have a closer look at these categories.
Geographic segmentation is based on looking at the store location, customer location, and geographic needs, whilst Behaviour relates to internet usage, loyalty and frequency of store visits. Thirdly, through Demographics, you get to know your customers’ age, gender, job, income and other factors. Last but not least, Psychographic is also a crucial category in segmenting your target audience as it focuses on what your customers may be thinking and feeling. This last category looks at their personalities, interests and values.
Market Segmentation can help produce stronger marketing strategies, more targeted digital advertising, better response rates, and increased brand loyalty.
Alternatively, you could use another marketing strategy: Personas. A detailed buyer Persona is an archetype that represents a particular group of people you are trying to reach. You create this profile through research, surveys, interviews and other data. Personas help you humanize your audience as you’re attaching a face to your target consumer. It can also make you ask the right questions as you get a feel for who they are, and they can even lead you to real potential clients.
Segmentation and Personas help you put yourself in your customers’ shoes, understanding who they are and what their major pain points are. Through these marketing strategies, you’ll create more targeted marketing without second-guessing your actions.
Ask Your Customers What They Think
Surveys are an effective method of understanding your customers. Through gathering specific data, you gain an overall idea of your customers’ thoughts and opinions. Depending on what type of information you want to collect, you could either use qualitative or quantitative methods. By using either of these, you’ll get a clear insight into what your customers think about your business.
After gathering information from a range of methods, it would also be a good idea to create a customer journey map. This strategy helps you picture the full journey your customers undertake, starting with the first interaction with your company. Usually, there are different steps your customer takes, and these can be divided, for example, into awareness, consideration, decision, conversion and retention.
Customer journey mapping is a crucial way of getting to know what your customers may be thinking and feeling during their journey. What actions are they taking at each point? Is there a pain point that can be improved to facilitate this flow? This map also helps you analyse if their expectations have been met within each stage.
For instance, it could be that within the decision stage, you’ve seen that shoppers are reliant on making a purchase as your prices are higher than your competitors. Through this insight, you could adjust this pain point by adding crucial information to show how your product is different (and better), making it more appealing. Alternatively, you could add past customer reviews to specific pages of your website (within the decision stage) to highlight your credibility and success.
Take Advantage of Online Reviews
Reviews are another great way of getting to know your customers and finding out how they truly feel about your business. With online reviews, customers can freely share their unbiased opinions about something or someone. Today, reviews have become increasingly important for companies looking to win new customers and generate more sales. Indeed, as mentioned previously, customers trust this feedback as much as personal recommendations.
Shoppers want to gain a genuine insight into a product or service before making a purchase, and the only real way to do so is by reading what other people are saying about a brand. Through this feedback, potential customers can make an informed purchasing decision and spend their money wisely. Thus, showcasing online reviews can increase your credibility and help you stand out from the competition.
However, it’s not limited to marketing. Online reviews can also help you understand your customers’ thoughts and opinions. If used strategically, you can learn what you’re doing right and what aspects of your business need adjusting. This way, you can improve your business and exceed your customers’ expectations in the future.
The Benefits of a Customer-Centred Business
When you’ve learnt what your customers expect from your business, you can make the needed changes to exceed their expectations.
If you’re planning on utilizing the power of online reviews to promote trust, solidify your reputation, and get an insight into your customers’ thoughts and opinions, we can help.
We offer the same features and benefits as the most popular review platforms, and arguably more, but for a lesser price. Indeed, as opposed to other companies within the review industry, our plans start from just £5 pcm (inclusive of vat).
If you would like to learn more about what Psydro can do for your business, please book a demo with one of our experts today. We’d be more than happy to answer any questions you have and guide you through our features.