How to identify and understand customer needs?

Companies with the highest growth have customer satisfaction at their top list of priorities. In order to better understand how your customers feel and react to your products, you should think of the phases they pass trough and how they become your brand advocates. In this case, creating customer journey map may be one of the important milestones in your business growth.

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When making a customer journey map, there are few important things that you should consider: phases and activities – what customers do at each stage and how they move to next one; profiles; feelings/motivation – why are they motivated to continue, why do they care or what are the barriers they are facing with; most frequent questions, uncertainties. All of these things give inputs of how employers should act and which type of support they should give at each stage.

Here are the phases every customer lives while interacting with your company:

  • Engage – discovering brand, in most of the cases it happens online, using smart phones, tablets or being present in stores. Most of the customers engage with a brand using website. What are they attracted by? It can be a product, a service or simply the esthetic impression website leaves to its visitors. Once they subscribe for your newsletter, it is important to send personalized, relevant and time – sensitive offers to your customers regarding their personal needs. Only 42% of businesses use this tactic to engage better with their customers.
    Profile: Visitor
    Feelings: Skeptical but curious
    Questions: How much does it cost? How can I contact them? Are they near me? Why them?
  • Buy – next step after reaching the brand is buying your product / using your services. If you got to this phase, it means that you engaged well in the previous phase and you gained more trust of your potential customers.
    Profile: Customer
    Feelings: Hopeful or frustrated
    Questions: How it’s going to be like? What if goes wrong? Can I cancel it?
  • Use – The most important phase where you have to keep thinking of your brand, act friendly and show integrity, as well as giving support during the whole process.
    Profile: Customer
    Feelings: at this moment feelings can go in two directions – positive or negative. They can be satisfied or simply disappointed.
    Questions: The same happens here. Most of the questions in this phase come if they are not completely satisfied with the service or product. In this case the most common questions are: How long I have the right to use product warranty? Whom to contact?
  • Complete – the last phase just after the usage shows us the real state of customer satisfaction. Whether they are satisfied or not, they end up here as detractors or brand advocates.
    Profile: detractor or brand advocate
    Feelings: “It was great, I will use it again and recommend it to my friends” or totally opposite – “Never again”
    Questions: How can I engage more people that I know to use it?

Besides creating the map, ask customers to create it for you, send them surveys to fill and it will help you understand their needs better or critical situations you are passing trough together. Do not let one point of view be the only input for this important step in your business. In the end, engage more with your customers and showcase every good case practice.

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