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Define customer needs and find the best solutions for them

Jun 18, 2019
Define customer needs and find the best solutions for them
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WHAT ARE CUSTOMER NEEDS?


A customer need is a motive that prompts a customer to buy a product or service. Ultimately, the need is the driver of the customer's purchase decision. Companies often look at the customer need as an opportunity to resolve or contribute surplus value back to the original motive.

An example of customer need takes place every day around 12:00 p.m. This is when people begin to experience hunger (need) and decide to purchase lunch. The type of food, the location of the restaurant and the amount of time the service will take are all factors to how individuals decide to satisfy the need.

Below are the most common types of customer needs -- most of which work in tandem with one another to drive a purchasing decision.

16 Most Common Types of Customer Needs

Product Needs

1. Functionality

Customers need your product or service to function the way they need in order to solve their problem or desire.

2. Price

Customers have unique budgets with which they can purchase a product or service.

3. Convenience

Your product or service needs to be a convenient solution to the function your customers are trying to meet.

4. Experience

The experience using your product or service needs to be easy -- or at least clear -- so as not to create more work for your customers.

5. Design

Along the lines of experience, the product or service needs a slick design to make it relatively easy and intuitive to use.

6. Reliability

The product or service needs to reliably function as advertised every time the customer wants to use it.

7. Performance

The product or service needs to perform correctly so the customer can achieve their goals.

8. Efficiency

The product or service needs to be efficient for the customer by streamlining an otherwise time-consuming process.

9. Compatibility

The product or service needs to be compatible with other products your customer is already using.

Service Needs

10. Empathy

When your customers get in touch with customer service, they want empathy and understanding from the people assisting them.

11. Fairness

From pricing to terms of service to contract length, customers expect fairness from a company.

12. Transparency

Customers expect transparency from a company they're doing business with. Service outages, pricing changes, and things breaking happen, and customers deserve openness from the businesses they give money to.

13. Control

Customers need to feel like they're in control of the business interaction from start to finish and beyond, and customer empowerment shouldn't end with the sale. Make it easy for them to return products, change subscriptions, adjust terms, etc.

14. Options

Customers need options when they're getting ready to make a purchase from a company. Offer a variety of product, subscription, and payment options to provide that freedom of choice.

15. Information

Customers need information, from the moment they start interacting with your brand to days and months after making a purchase. Business should invest in educational blog content, instructional knowledge base content, and regular communication so customers have the information they need to successfully use a product or service.

16. Accessibility 

Customers need to be able to access your service and support teams. This means providing multiple channels for customer service. We'll talk a little more about these options later. 

In this article, we're going to explore how to attract and sustain customers based on meeting their inherent needs and imposing value. For lunch, this could be a special promotion, a short wait time, or a post-dining thank-you email. If companies can begin to make changes before their customers' needs aren't fulfilled, this can ultimately lead to growth, innovation, and retention.

 

How to Solve for Customer Needs

What stops customers from meeting their needs with your services or products? The first step to solve a problem is to put yourself in your customer's shoes: If you were the customer when we purchase your goods, use your technology, or sign up for your services, what would prevent you from achieving ultimate value?

  1. Offer consistent company wide-messaging
  2. Provide instructions for easy adoption
  3. Ask customers for feedback
  4. Nurture customer relationships
  5. Solve for the right customer needs

This list includes common customer pain points and proactive steps to develop customer-first values.

1. Offer consistent company-wide messaging.

Too often customers, get caught up in the 'he said, she said' game of being told a product can do one thing from sales and another from support and product. Ultimately, customers become confused and are left with the perception that the company is disorganized.

Consistent internal communications across all departments is one of the best steps towards a customer-focused mindset. If the entire company understands its goals, values, product, and service capabilities, then the messages will easily translate to meet the customer need.

To get everyone on the same page, organize sales and customer servicemeetings, send out new product emails, provide robust new employee onboarding, require quarterly trainings and seminars, or staff host webinars to share important projects.

2. Provide instructions for easy adoption.

Customers purchase a product because they believe it will meet their needs and solve their problem. However, adoption setup stages are not always clear. If best practices aren't specified at the start and they don't see value right away, it's an uphill battle to gain back their trust and undo bad habits.

A well-thought post-purchase strategy will enable your products or services to be usable and useful.

One way companies gain their customers' attention is providing in-product and email walkthroughs and instructions as soon as the customer receives a payment confirmation. This limits the confusion, technical questions, and distractions from the immediate post-purchase euphoria.

A customer education guide or knowledge base is essential to deliver proper customer adoption and avoid the ‘floundering effect' when customers are stuck. Other companies provide new customer onboarding services, host live demos and webinars and include event and promotions in their email signatures.

3. Ask customers for feedback.

Lean into customer complaints and suggestions and it will change the way you operate your business. Criticism often times has negative connotations, however, if you flip problems to opportunities you can easily improve your business to fit the customer's needs.

Take customer suggestions seriously and act on those recommendations to improve design, product and system glitches. Most customer support success metrics is paramount to the customer experience and this mentality should trickle down to every aspect of the organization.

To keep track of this feedback, many companies track and gain their feedback through customer satisfaction scores, customer surveys, exploration customer interviews, social media polls, or simply a personal email can grab helpful candid customer feedback.

4. Nurture customer relationships.

When a customer buys a product or service, they want to use it right away and fulfill their immediate need. Whether they are delighted within the first hour, week, or a month, it's important to constantly think about their future needs.

Proactive relationship-building is essential to prevent customers from losing their post-purchase excitement and ultimately churning. If customers stop hearing from you and you don't hear from them this can be a bad sign that their lifespan is in danger.

Companies solve for customer relationships with a combination of customer service structure and communication strategies. Solve for the long-term customer need and create a customer service team dedicated to check-ins and customer retention, show appreciation with rewards and gifts to loyal customers, host local events, highlight employees that go above and beyond and communicate product updates and new features.

5. Solve for the right customer needs.

Excluding customers from your cohort of business can seem counterintuitive to solve for your customers' needs. However, understanding whose needs you can fulfill and whose you cannot is a major step toward solving the right problems. All customers' needs can't be treated equally and a company must recognize which problems they can solve and ones that aren't aligned with their vision.

To find the right customer priorities, create buyer personas and uncover consumer trends, look at customer's long-term retention patterns, establish a clear company vision, provide premier customer service to valuable customers and communicate with your ideal customer in their preferred social media space to capture questions, comments and suggestions.

Successful startups, brick and mortar shops, and Fortune 500 companies alike all solve and prioritize customer needs to stay ahead and establish industry trends.

 

Contemporary design

Nov 9, 2017
Contemporary design tries to imitate modern design, in the sense that it applies open floor plans, excessive windowing and high ceilings. However, contemporary interior design pays more attention to natural materials, unlike modernistic steel, plastic or concrete. It also applies softer and curved lining.

The color spectrum of contemporary design is also broader-its methods depart from the black and white trend and try consciously to implement bold patchwork in the home. Contemporary decor also makes use of a broader color palette, departing from the black and white tendencies of modern design.

Contemporary design has the casual habit of incorporating whimsicality to our space, by adding extraordinary furniture pieces. The rationale is to make your living space more individual and to implement a ‘personal stamp’ that will indicate attributes of the person responsible for that decoration.

These are the basics of contemporary design:

  • Appropriate colors—contemporary style employs neutral tones, such as white, cream, beige, brown or gray. The accent can be put also on bold color schemes, as long as they comply with the already established balance.
  • Appropriate furniture—contemporary design cherishes polished surfaces, light colors and natural materials (wood, glass, nickel, chrome and stainless steel). When it comes to fabrics, the preferred ones are natural goods (cotton, linen, wool, and silk), which can be neutral, bold-colored or modestly patterned.
  • Neutral walls—in this aspect, contemporary design complies with its modern ally. The walls are supposed to be neutrally-colored, but slightly bolder colors are also welcome. Subdominant striped wallpapers are also a good idea.
  • Floors—in order for a house to be described as contemporary, its floors need to be wooden. Cement, laminate or stone flooring can be an excellent substitute. Full carpeting and occasional rugs are also welcomed, as long as they are neutrally-colored or patterned in a very simple way.
  • Specific windowing—the same as modern designers, contemporary designers recommend large windows without covers (or a single-colored curtain to ensure your privacy).
A general comparison between modern and contemporary interior design characteristics points out that contemporary elements are more liberal and susceptible to recent trends. A contemporary environment is an ‘unfinished’ one-it follows the improvement of your style and your personality. Contemporary style is always evolving, so that it could adapt to the parallel modifications in your tastes, attitudes and habits.

With contemporary being such an ‘open-minded’ style, you can enjoy constant innovation with colors and shapes. Contemporary design will comply with all of your new ornaments and decorations. Modern style, on the other hand, will not allow you to do this.

Modern design

Nov 9, 2017
Modern design is mostly associated with minimalistic schemes. Modern perspectives are more open than closed and they support the ‘less is more’ theory. The elements of modern interior design are relatively restricted and they suggest clearly delineated space. Modern buildings are often deliberately asymmetric in order to resemble tradition and historical architecture.

Modern homes inspire a feeling of elegance and class. It is because designers apply a pastel, neutral palette of colors for the walls and the ceiling (especially white) and ‘stripped’ floors which rely on their natural beauty. Modern interior design is also hallmarked with brightness and openness, and excellent light dispersion. Therefore, large windows and open floor plans are not uncommon for these houses. In fact, even furniture is adjusted to this ‘open feeling’ (large tables, comfortable sofas and armchairs with raised legs).

These are the basics of modern interior design:

  • Appropriate colors—the primary choice is white and the alternative is black. The primary colors (yellow, red and blue) are used in a very restricted manner.
  • Appropriate furniture—modern homes look perfect with metal furniture (white or black lacquer-finish), such as with chrome/stainless steel. Modern furniture has many recognizable elements-bold-colored padding, glass table lids or stainless steel elements.
  • White walls—the rule is one and only: nothing but plain white is permitted. You are only allowed to paint one of the walls differently, if you want to break the monotony.
  • Floors—modern design accepts only granite, concrete, or woodwork floors. Carpeting is tolerated as long as there is only one color or a pastel geometric pattern. However, we advise you to avoid too many rugs, because they would give your place oriental style.
  • Specific windowing—the best choice is to avoid window covers. If this is not possible, apply transparent curtains or functional blinds. Fancy patterns are completely dismissed.
Modern interior design adores lengthy and flat furniture with slightly raised narrow legs to ensure openness. The favorite materials are natural ones (leather, linen, cotton or wood) and the lining is solid and simplified.  Other commonly met materials in modern design are transparent/white plastic, plywood and metal.

Let’s generalize: In a proper modern home, you could find calming tones, such as white, creamy, brown or grey. Walls are white and floors are neutrally-painted, usually made of wood, cement, cork or even rubber. Rugs and carpets are woolen and they comply with the neutral-color rule.

As we mentioned, color is used in a very restrictive manner. You could discover it in small doses, either placed in an isolated corner or deliberately exposed in the form of a massive painting or a single modern sculpture. Alongside with the principal white and black, modern interior design usually employs a single primary color (red, yellow or blue). Sometimes, you could even discover orange decorations, as modest as books, wooden and ceramic accessories.

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