understanding customer needs www.courteouscom.com

Here at A Courteous Communications, we love sharing our 30 years of customer service experience with business owners. In this article, we want to help you map out an exceptional customer experience by showing you how to anticipate what your customer wants.

Understanding customers’ needs will allow you to provide service that attracts new customers and satisfies existing clientele.

Stop Reacting and Start Attracting

As the MarketingDonut points out, “Relying on too few customers can leave you vulnerable - losing just one could mean a cashflow crisis.” You have to always be on the lookout for creative ways to attract new customers to your business. Providing elite customer service is the answer to attracting new consumers while keeping your current clientele happy with your business.

To be a successful business, you can’t get into the habit of just reacting to customers. Proactive business owners need direct access to customer suggestions, compliments and complaints. Responsible business owners need a support team in place to provide swift responses to customer feedback. This will keep your current customers satisfied.

In order to provide exceptional service, you need to stay ahead of the competition curve by anticipating your customers’ needs.

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How to Understand Your Customers’ Needs

Understanding customers’ needs is an investment of your time that you can’t afford to skip. After scrutinizing who your target market is, you’ll be in a position to cater to their specific wants and needs.

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Follow these steps to start building your exceptional customer service roadmap.

  1. 1. Know Your Target Market

Before beginning to create an ideal customer experience, you have to know your customer in and out. There are countless blogs that give detailed advice on how to designate and segment ideal customers. Read as many tips as possible until you understand how to define your target market and why doing so is beneficial to your business.

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We recently shared an article on this subject that you may be interested in reading: 3 Free Ways to Really Get to Know Your Customer.

  1. 2. Become Socially Connected with Customers

Taking advantage of social media websites goes beyond being able to share your brand and product/service with the world. You should also look at social media activity like a free and limitless focus group. By properly setting up social media profiles for your business, you are gaining the advantage of being able to quietly listen to those consumers.

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Follow the businesses and brands that your target market personas would follow. Watch how consumers interact with those brands and take notes. Do you see a lot of posts surrounding customer service inquiries? Are there a lot of comments on specific content shared?

Quietly follow your target market on their preferred social media site and gain access to their interests, hobbies and touchy subjects. If you still don’t have a Facebook page or LinkedIn account, we suggest reading our latest blog, Should Your Small Business Have a Social Media Presence?

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  1. 3. Track and Analyze Your Analytics

You have set up your website and social media profiles to track all of your traffic. That’s a great start, but now you have to analyze those analytics. Again, there are countless how to articles online that will give you detailed instructions on analyzing your website and social analytics. Once you gather the data that is most important to your business’s goals, you can create exceptional customer experiences from your findings.

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We recently shared an article that gives you a little guidance in this area: 10 Creative Ways to Help Your Business Standout in 2016

  1. 4. Create New Customer Service Policies

After you fully understand your target market’s wants and needs, you can begin creating customer service standards and policies. There are countless new procedures that can be developed based on your research. You could make the following deductions based on your research phase:

  • • Your customers need a 24-hour telephone support help desk;
  • • Your potential customers want to see more images of the product before buying;
  • • Your market requires informational content to educate consumers about your service; as well as,
  • • An infinite amount of other deductions that effect change in your company policies.

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A Brand to Follow and Admire

Reinventing the wheel defined is, “…to duplicate a basic method that has already previously been created or optimized by others.” It is often suggested that business owners should not reinvent the wheel; you should reinvent the product, service or message.

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Reinventing a specific motto or mission to keep you unique is advised. Find the big boys and girls who are the leaders and innovators in your specific industry. For the majority, you will learn that they have spent decades trying to reach the market you are trying to reach. Those big global companies also have invested millions upon millions of dollars in market research and development. Take advantage of being able to follow them online to see what kind of content they are promoting and their overall message.

No matter your field or industry, we can all learn a valuable customer service lesson from the 33-year-old global brand, The Ritz Carlton. This seasoned and luxurious brand shares their motto proudly, “At The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C., we are Ladies and Gentlemen serving Ladies and Gentlemen. This motto exemplifies the anticipatory service provided by all staff members.”

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The worldwide luxury lodging company created and adheres to a specific set of policies they call “Gold Standards.” These standards help the staff members in anticipating and understanding customers’ needs to provide an exceptional customer experience.

Take some time to research the big players in your industry to learn from them. You never want to copy another brand’s message and image, but taking a look at their marketing will inspire your smaller scale marketing.