Know what your customers want.
This is one piece of advice people give to business owners again and again.
You read about it in articles, listen to coaches talk about the importance of listening to customers and being customer-focused.
But you don’t get as many people advising on the specific ways of knowing what your customers want, beyond asking you to run a survey.
In this article, we would explore what the customer wants are, and how exactly to know what the specific needs of your customers are.
What is Customer Need?
A customer need is a desire for a product or service’s benefit.
This benefit can either be emotional or functional.
A customer’s need is the driving force that pushes them to look for products or services that satisfy that need.
If you’re thirsty, for instance, you’d buy a bottle of water to satisfy that thirst.
Why is it important To Know What Customers Want?
1. Serve them Better
One central reason you should know what your customers want is to be able to serve them better. Like any relationship, the more you know about your customers, the more you’re armed to offer them products and services that solve their problems.
2. Increase Your Revenue
It’s only natural that when your business understands what your customers want, and can respond to those wants through better products and services. The result would be an increase in sales and revenue.
There are not a lot of businesses that understand what their customers want.
So, when you do, your customers reward that by buying more and more from you.
3. Increase In Word of Mouth
Customers talk about products or services that get them. They talk to their friends, family, colleagues, and even strangers on social media about the products or services that understand what they want.
They help market those products or services organically, without you spending any kobo, they would help your business grow because you understand what they want.
There are so many other benefits of understanding customer wants, but the few I’ve shared here will help you see how much of a big deal it is.
How To Know What Your Customers Want
Simply, the only want to understand what your customers want is by talking to them; asking them questions and listening to them.
But, the way your business talks or listens to customers is also very critical.
But before we get ahead of ourselves, here are the five ways to understand what your customers want.
1. Know Your Customers
I have repeated this across many other articles on this blog. The only way you can truly succeed is in business is by knowing who your customers are.
Start with market research and create your customer profiles. The more detailed it is, the more helpful you’d find it.
Detailed research will show more information about the typical customer you’re targeting; their age range, income range, motivation, influences, problems, etc.
2. Ask Questions
Running basic market research is important, but enough to reveal enough information you need about the customers you’re offering solutions to.
And there is no better way to know what they want than by asking them directly.
This is where surveys, questionnaires, and interviews come in.
They are tools businesses used to communicate with customers to determine what they want, specifically about their offerings.
But it is not enough to ask them just any questions and expect to understand their wants, you must
– Ask for the customer’s opinion without projecting your own
– Ask questions in a language your customers can understand.
There are many more tips on how exactly to ask customers questions. I recommend you read the Mom Test by Rob Fitzpatrick to learn more on how to talk to customers.
3. Offer Trade-offs
If you simply ask customers what they want, you would hear responses like “we want more this at a lower price”, “we want more convenience and more of and that”.
And at the end of the day, you may end up confused and unable to make sense of the data you got from them.
This is why the way you present your questions is important.
A solution is to use the technique called Maximum Difference Scaling.
It requires customers to make a series of trade-offs.
Say you want to know which feature of a product your customers value more.
You can make a list of all the features or potential features of the product, and present them to the customer in sets of two or four at a time, and ask them which attribute or feature they prefer most and least.
After several rounds of such trade-offs, the business owner can determine what the customer values more than others.
To understand what a customer wants, you need to ask questions, but you also need to listen.
Many businesses find it difficult to listen or know how they can do that effectively.
One popular way is to create a channel for customers to offer feedback to your business.
Another way is to use social media listening tools like Mention, Hootsuite etc. to understand the issues that are important to your customers.
Running keyword research is also important in this regard because it helps you determine what questions your customers want answers to.
Many businesses base their product and sales decisions on intuition and guesswork. And many of them have found the devastating effects of such decisions.
Go beyond saying your business is customer-focused to put in the work to understand what your customers truly want.
And don’t forget to get help when you need to.
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The SME Coach helps business owners to learn how to build a profitable small business that runs itself and works without the owner!
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