• Are you understanding customer needs?
  • Are you looking to improve your understanding about customers?

You need not become Steve Jobs to innovate. 

This is because Innovation is Approachable, Easy, Doable and Feasible.

You can do it by understanding customer needs.

Here are 8 methods that will help you in identifying customer needs and behaviour.

Method #1: Start with the Existing Data
Before launching any product, you should study the consumer behavior. To do so, you should analyze the customer data which will help you in understanding customer needs and determine their buying behaviour. 

  • Compile all the customer data available on your computer, call logs, or data bank.
  • Analyze the customer data to identify which product has a high demand.
  • Collect the details of customers from feedback forms to study their buying pattern.

Apple Inc. collects data of all the customers visiting its retail stores across the world and analyzes it for identifying customer needs and their buying behavior.

Swedish company, IKEA, uses an Artificial Intelligence-based Chat Bot on its online platform to interact with the customers. This helps them to study the customers’ buying behavior.

Method #2: Interview the Internal Stakeholders
Another most powerful way for understanding customer needs is by establishing direct communication with the internal stakeholders. 

  • Get reviews from people who come in direct contact with the customers.
  • Assemble all reviews from the team members of sales, services, delivery, and customer care department.
  • Based on these reviews, try identifying customer needs.

Method #3: Identify Pains & Gaps in the Customers’ Buying Process
For identifying customer needs, when a customer comes to your shop or online platform, you need to understand:

  • What he really wants? 
  • What are the gaps that influence his buying process?

Method #4: Scan All Interaction Touch Points
You can figure out all the ’touchpoints’ when your potential customer interacts with you or comes in contact with your company through any medium. It is one of the ways of identifying customer needs.

  • Map out the whole process from the first interaction with your customer until he actually ends up buying your product.
  • Identify all the touchpoints for understanding customer needs and try to improve them as per customers’ feedback.

Before buying a company’s furniture, a person checks out its online presence. 

If he finds it satisfactorily, then he fills up an online form to request an enquiry. 

It is followed by a call from the company. 

If he finds it impressive, he decides to visit the company’s showroom.  

While visiting the showroom, he will observe the company’s parking facility, security check, beautification and interaction with the salesman. 

When a customer is satisfied with each touchpoint of a company, he decides to buy the product.

Method #5: Conduct Follow Me Home Research

For understanding customer needs, many companies opt for this method to observe their existing customers’ feedback about their products. 

It involves getting feedback from your customers while using the product at their home. 

It is a very powerful step to understand:

  • How do customers feel about your product?
  • Why does a customer use your product?
  • What are the challenges they face?
  • What are its competitive dynamics?
  • What are your growth gaps?

Based on the feedback, you can bring the required changes in your product.

Method #6: Focused Group Interview of Customer
Understanding customer needs of current and potential customers before introducing any new product or service. 

It can be done by interviewing your existing customers. 

You can ask them different questions in different ways to know what kind of product they need and what changes are required to be brought in your product. 

Britannia once decided to launch a biscuit with the flavor of Kaju Barfi, as this sweet is very popular among Indians. 

Before launching the product, they invited some of their regular customers to get feedback on the product.  

However, the customers rejected their idea after tasting the sample of biscuits.

This led Britannia to stop committing a big mistake.

Method #7: Analyze your Competition ’ SWOT Analysis
It is one of the methods for identifying customer needs.

No matter how big or small your company is, you need to analyze your competition through SWOT analysis i.e. Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, and Threat.

  • Strength and Weakness are Internal
    ’ What are the strengths and weaknesses of your company?
  • Opportunity and Threats are External
    ’ Which opportunity is waiting for you in the market? What are the competitive advantages of your competitors? What are the threats to your company? 

Method #8: Diary Study and Feedback Form

Feedback form is a traditional method, but it can be converted into a non-conventional method. 

You just have to allow your ’customers to write their feedback about your product on the scale of 1 to 10." 

This will give you the Net Promoter Score, thus, enabling you to bring in the required changes to improve this score.

So, the above 8 methods will enable you to identifying customer needs and behavior so that you can take informed decisions in your business and make it successful.