A 4-Step Process to Meeting Customer Needs


You might just be four tips away from landing a high-paying customer that sticks with you for life. This article is probably based on things you already know, but it’s not one of those “customer is king”, “the customer is always right” articles. There is a different approach. First, let’s look at what marketing entails nowadays. Consider this scenario:

After the day’s traffic, you want a break from the drudgery and it dawns on you to try something you don’t always do before. So you approach this establishment with a vast reputation and who have it all sorted out for you, or so it seems. You’ve seen the adverts, the pics showing holiday destinations to kill for. It wouldn’t hurt to check them out. You pick up the phone and call.

The customer sales rep is courteous and her voice helps you relieve some of the stress. What could go wrong, right? An appointment is booked. You virtually explore holiday destinations via unique 4D rift technology that makes it all come alive. It’s like giving a baby the first taste of candy. Once the device starts, you get inside a whole new world entirely with warm breezes and gentle waves. It’s all very real, yet not real. But you’re set on taking the leap. You want the experience.

Obviously, 4D technology is here. But as the impact of tech on marketing and advertising keeps growing, it’s easy for businesses to take their eyes off the person at the receiving end. The above scenario describes most buyer journeys. It’s more sensory than anchored in real life.

In the above scenario, the eyes, ears, and feel all get involved to create the unique experience for a prospect. But in most cases, what you feel via sensory marketing is not what you experience in the real world. In the real world, there are many variables that can be unaccounted for. But the goal of marketing as it stands today is to show the customer the perfect picture, all things being equal.

It works most times until multiple customer complaints start coming in. How brands deal with these complaints vary. While some brands turn deaf ears, others attend to some while others outsource complaints. And while customer complaints are inevitable, they tell us something. They tell us that the customer isn’t satisfied. According to Oracle, 86% of buyers would pay more for a better customer experience. Zig Ziglar says, “Statistics suggest that when customers complain, business owners and managers ought to get excited about it. The complaining customer represents a huge opportunity for more business.”

The question of wants vs needs is a crucial question. And, obviously, companies that have this aspect of customer care all set will deliver much more customer satisfaction.

With so many courses available online teaching small business owners how to get leads, it’s easy to ignore the fact that the customer experience is still vital. While getting leads is crucial, intensive customer needs assessment is also crucial. Intensive customer needs, which ranks priorities and helps customer-centric businesses get to the meat of the needs of their buyers rather than fluffy wants.

Being able to balance and, if possible, automate this process will help you create a smoothly running business that is easily scalable.

So, essentially, what does it all boil down to? Questions. This means a business or brand that wants to connect with customers has to probe further and dive into their customer’s world. What questions can get you to the actual needs of your prospects? Your asking the right questions will help you keep customers much longer. And really, that should be the end goal of marketing.

So, here are four easy-to-implement tips that will get you repeat clients. This will be more important for startups that are still trying to figure out the Chinese arithmetic of the competitive landscape and hoping to keep every customer they can get.

Determine Needs From Wants

Wikipedia says, “a need is often defined as a gap in results where its satisfaction, or partial satisfaction, is necessary for the achievement of another specific socially-permissible result”. Customer satisfaction is directly related to needs met.

So for instance, a customer wants a big home with a large lawn. This might, in fact, mean that your customer fancies a bigger lifestyle. In this case, he might not actually want a bigger home but fancier luxury in a home. But this is hypothetical. Asking the right questions will help you get down to the brass tacks of what is actually important for your questions. At this point, you want to be clear on two things:
– Your customers’ perceived need (What do they really want?)
– Your customers’ expectations (What do they expect your service to do for them?)

Make It Fit

Now that you know what your client considers important, how can you provide it? Which product best meet your client’s need? Or, how can you optimize your current product to create more value for your client? Note: Most times, you don’t have to create new products or send your prospects to the next hungry salesperson. You usually only need to modify an existing product or add a few supplements. This will create something that’s unique and that customers will cherish.

Honesty Is Still the Best Policy

Your goal should be to build trust. If I can’t meet a customer’s need, I don’t need to force-feed them with my business, so I direct them somewhere else. This puts you up there as a go-to person in the eyes of your prospect. Zig Ziglar, the marketing legend says, “Honesty and integrity are absolutely essential for success in life – all areas of life. The really good news is that anyone can develop both honesty and integrity.”

Find Out If It Fits

After the service or product is delivered, did it fit? If it did fit, then you did a good job. If it didn’t, your customer knows you have their best interest at heart and might be open to more business. The satisfaction of knowing you’re meeting needs is real, and I can tell you it is greater than money.

Obviously, this article presents a framework. Medium to large businesses might need a more complex approach. But I’ve found that being simplistic works, especially when it comes to customer retention. And, if you have been chasing down leads, get in the business of meeting needs too.

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