Customer Needs: How to keep pace with rising customer expectations and demands

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All brands and companies - no matter what industry - do a customer needs analysis when they sell directly to customers. A good reason to take a closer look at customer needs!

This analysis of customer needs is a basic prerequisite for your product development, marketing and sales. Without an analysis of customer needs, it is not possible to develop and market products in a targeted manner.

In times of digitalization of companies, managers can use customer-centric strategies and tools to meet the rising expectations of customers in a meaningful way – and thus increase customer satisfaction in the long term.

Customer Needs: Analyze and derive customer needs in a useful fashion

Customers always have a motive for making a purchase: whether it’s an emotional trigger or necessity – in other words, the customer is buying something they really need functionally. Be it that the customer makes a purchase for a loved one or buys from a brand just to support it.

In a nutshell, there is always motive behind a purchase. To better evaluate product design, development, upgrades, features and new offerings, it is necessary to analyze customer needs as well as the desires of your customers.

No matter if you offer a service or a concrete product: First of all, it is always useful to find out what customers in your industry want. Theoretically, it also works the other way around: First build a product (e.g. a Minimal Valuable Product), and then analyze what customers actually need. However, this is a much more time-consuming approach – and with limited resources, failure is often inevitable.

Identifying customer needs: Methods and tools

Customer Needs
Tools and important questions for customer needs

The graphic illustrates the extensive possibilities we have today for uncovering customer needs:

  • Segmentations
  • Customers and Buyer Personas
  • Surveys and customer interviews
  • Social Listening
  • Touch Points
  • Customer Journey Maps
  • Predictive analytics
  • Statistical conjoint analyses
 

Below we show you typical B2B and B2C needs of customers. Especially at the beginning of the needs analysis, you can also create a good basis for customer needs with the so-called Jobs to be Done. The typical jobs, i.e. activities that a customer, whether B2B or B2C, has to complete, are divided into the dimensions:

  • functional jobs / activities (solving a problem)
  • emotional jobs / activities (security, feeling good)
  • social jobs / activities (power, status, sustainability)

 

By getting an overview of your customers’ tasks, you gain important insights into how you can help them. Whether it’s a specific service or a concrete digital or haptic product: If it meets customer expectations and helps them solve a concrete problem, you create the best foundation for success.

Typical customer needs in the B2B segment: customer needs in categories

1. generate more sales

Above all, those responsible in corporate management are looking for ways to generate more sales. This is often referred to as top-line growth. Your service or product should therefore meet customer expectations that fall into this category.

2. comply with legal requirements

In this area, management is concerned with acting in compliance with the law and setting up processes accordingly. Examples include certifications or audits in accordance with quality standards or compliance with data protection requirements. 

3. save costs

The third most important B2B customer need is cost and expense savings. Those responsible in companies are ultimately measured not only in terms of increased sales and profits, but also in terms of how much they can ultimately save the company in costs. 

4. comfort factors

Besides the hard, mostly number-driven factors, comfort, usability, user experience, and aesthetics are certainly also demand arguments in the business environment. In comparison, however, this category of customer needs is much weaker and less relevant than the other factors. 

Uncovering even more customer needs!

Customer Insights Suite Light dark version

Typical customer needs in the B2C environment

1. functionality, reliability and performance

End customers want functionality out of a product. They want to know how useful it is and how much value it brings for the money spent. 

In addition, customers want reliability for a product. If you promise longevity for your product but it fails after a single use, this is usually a strict no-go for customers. 

In terms of performance, customers don’t expect surprises, they expect continuity. Taking electronic devices as an example, this is often not yet fulfilled in the seasonality of summer/winter. Or how long does your smartphone battery last in icy temperatures in winter?

2. Price

The price is an essential factor in customer needs analysis, especially in the end-customer sector. Thus, in the best case, the entire pricing should offer levers that represent values for users and customers respectively. Many customers make the purchase decision depending on the price or the price-performance ratio.

3. Comfort and Design

Convenience, comfort or simply an experience that is perfectly designed is crucial in the end customer segment. After a customer has a positive and memorable experience with your product, they are very likely to stick around and become your customer in the long run. 

Many customers are looking for the optimal customer experience. Often, the first impression sticks – and has a significant influence on the purchase decision.

Product design is another aspect that influences customers’ buying motives. The example of smartphones and laptops is a good illustration of this: design plays an important role as it should appeal to and attract customers. It depends on your target group how futuristic or aesthetic the design is. In general, functionality and usability should not be neglected in favor of appearance! 

Design customer experiences based on customer needs

Medium-sized or established companies also benefit from a survey of the status quo: Now it’s your turn. Why not take a look at your existing products and services – whether B2B or B2C? During development, how well have you addressed the actual needs of your customers and incorporated them into the development process?

There is still room for improvement? Then ask your customers the right questions and rethink your strategy – we at tractionwise are happy to support you!

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About Me

As a founder and entrepreneur, I experience every day how important customer centricity is for companies.

Integrate the essential customer perspective into your product genesis and marketing processes. That puts horse powers on the street, until it runs.

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Laura Schulte

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