Career Advice - A Community Blog

Erik Larson writes about the job market, resume improvement, and career advice

Understanding Customer Needs

Written by Erik Larson, Community Blogger | Sep 16, 2017 11:38 PM

No matter what kind of company you own, you are really in the business of pleasing people. If you fail to provide your customers with what they want, you will not be in business very long.

The problem is determining exactly what people want. "Customer needs vary, and everyone has different expectations of the companies they interact with. The challenge for business owners is anticipating the needs of their customers and then delivering on those promises," said Jason Kulpa from Underground Elephant.

Business owners have a number of options for assessing the needs of your customers and providing them with what they expect. One of the simplest strategies is simply asking your customers what they want. A well-designed and properly executed customer satisfaction survey can provide you with a wealth of actionable information. Many companies routinely use surveys to gauge how they are doing and tweak their operations. If you have not yet surveyed your customer base, now is the perfect time to do so.

Social media is another excellent tool for determining what customers expect from your business. Social Media expert Carolyn Edgecomb stresses the importance of being interactive and prompt on social media to build relationships and determine customer needs. "You don't want to miss the opportunity to develop a lasting relationship with your consumers or prospects," says Carolyn. If you do not yet have a Facebook page, make that your first step. Ask customers for feedback and constructive criticism, and be ready to act on their responses. Resist the urge to become defensive or dismiss negative comments. If a customer took the time to post on your page, they have something important to say. Reading through the comments and taking them seriously is one of the best ways to assess your current level of customer service. The feedback you receive can be invaluable - if you use it properly.

When it comes to your company website and blog, it is important to strike a balance between top quality, useful content and search engine optimization. Getting the SEO right is critical, since it allows customers to find your site. If you fail to use keywords associated with your line of business, you run the risk that searchers will not find your page.

At the same time, you cannot afford to let keywords rule the day or take over your content. The keywords you use should draw searchers to your site, but the actual content must keep them there. Writing about trends in your industry, answering frequently asked questions and responding to their concerns are all excellent ways to gain trust and build your business.

Giving your customers what they want is the right thing to do, but it is also good for your bottom line. Figuring out the needs of a disparate customer base is not always easy, but the results will be well worth the effort expended.

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