The most successful businesses usually have one thing in common. They know what their customers need and provide something that meets these needs.

As a result, customer-centric companies are 60% more profitable on average than companies that don’t pay attention to customer needs. 

Does Your Brand Know Its Customers’ Top Needs?

If your brand knows its customers’ top needs, it will be more likely to drive revenue.

Here’s how your brand can identify its customers’ needs with market research and data analytics.

What Counts as a Customer Need?

Customer needs are specific and unmet needs that a customer has. These needs can be met with the right product or service — but only if a business knows they exist. 

These needs may include pain points — specific problems that customers face. These problems are usually persistent and tend to stick around until solved with the right offering.

While customer-centric brands typically know what their customers want, they may not always fully understand their top needs. Brands that aren’t customer-centric may struggle to know anything about their customer base.

Common types of customer need include:

  1. Functional needs help customers perform a particular task or function. Most products meet functional needs — including products like can openers, desks and smartphones.
  2. Social needs help customers control how others perceive them. Products that meet social needs include clothes, cars and anything that can serve as a status symbol.
  3. Emotional needs help customers feel a particular emotion. Products that meet emotional needs may include products that help them relax or nostalgic products that remind them of old experiences.

Many products meet one or more needs. A sports car, for example, fulfills both functional needs and social needs, helping a customer get around while also changing how others perceive them.

Identifying Customer Needs

Brands typically use one or more strategies to learn about customer needs. Moreover, these strategies are some of the most popular.

1. Analyzing Sales and Support Data to Know Its Customers’ Needs

It’s easiest to start with the information you already have. Sales numbers and customer service statistics can tell you a lot about current customer needs. Bug reports, feature requests and customer feedback may show you precisely what your customers want.

This information can also tell you more about the average demographics of your customer base.

Interviews with your sales and support teams will also help. These employees are the closest to your customers. They likely know a lot about what customers need. In some cases, they may even have suggestions ready.

How you use this information will be important. So, many brands organize their research with customer personas that sum up common customer needs and characteristics. Some brands will also use this information to better understand the customer life cycle, the journey all brand customers go through when they decide whether or not to purchase an item.

2. Solicit Customer Feedback to Know Its Customers’ Needs

To gather more data, you can reach out to current customers. Surveys and focus groups are common strategies for companies wanting to learn more about their customers. These tools are also great for learning about customer needs. 

Focus groups will provide you specific answers from a small group. So, surveys cast a wider net. They’re typically easier to organize. However, the responses you receive may have less detail than the answers you would get from a focus group.

If possible, you can also directly interview customers. These interviews will offer a chance to provide detailed information on a single customer’s needs. They will be much more time-consuming to conduct than focus groups or surveys, however. 

3. Use Social Listening

Social listening is a relatively new research strategy that relies on social media. Moreover, with this approach, you use special social listening tools to observe what people say on a social media platform.

In addition, opinions from social listening can tell you how people feel about your brand. It can also clue you into unmet needs they may have. 

4. Keyword Research and Market Research to Know Its Customers’ Needs

Other online research strategies can provide additional information on customer needs. Keyword research will show you what customers are searching for online. This research can help you develop better guesses about what customers need. Keyword research can also help you identify new keywords for content.

Analyzing all the data you’ve gathered together will help you develop a clearer picture of your customer base.

Identifying Your Customer’s Most Important Needs

Your business can identify your customers’ top needs with the right strategy. Techniques like sales data analysis and focus groups can help you learn more about what customers need. Moreover, you can adapt your business strategy or develop new projects that target essential customer needs with this information.

Eleanor is the editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. She’s also a freelance web designer with a focus on user experience. Eleanor lives in Philly with her husband and dog, Bear.

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