How to find out what customers want

Knowing what customers want is one crucial aspect in maintaining and growing your business. How can you provide what your customers want and need if you don’t know what they are? In this day and age, when every business competes for a share in the market, success depends on how much you know your customers.

  1. Ask them.

The easiest way to know what customers want is to ask. But asking isn’t always as easy or even intuitive. If it were, fewer businesses would fail. What are business owners doing wrong?

Sometimes, business owners forget to ask. Other times, they ask the wrong questions. Or they rely on someone else to ask for them, like their front line team—they let other people do the job without proper guidance and supervision.

And sometimes, they think that they need formalised market research to understand their customers, but find these to be costly and so they would rather not do it.

Just ask them.  Identify a list of questions that will get you the information that you are looking for.  Find a good time that is conducive to ask your customers. And finally, just go ahead and ask them.

Monitor the responses that you get and modify the delivery of your surveys until you get the active participation that you are looking for.

  1. Keep in touch with your customer

Zara, the global fast fashion brand, is known to defy fashion industry standards on turnaround time. Specifically, Zara is able to design, produce, and deliver product to its retail stores within a 4-week time period, whereas industry standards are somewhere between 3 to 6 months. While there are many moving parts in the Zara retail model, market research is a crucial part in this mix. Retail personnel are equipped to gather feedback from customers and are specifically trained to ask customers the following questions about what they want.

  • Do they like the current designs?
  • Do they want it in a different color or a different print?
  • Is it in the right cut or the right material?
  • Is it sized appropriately?

By focusing on customer feedback, Zara is able to produce products that their customers want. What we can learn from Zara is that the company actively keeps tabs on their customers: they are constantly listening to and recording what their customers are saying.

Keep in touch with your customers.  Communicate with them and they will be more than willing to share with you their experiences, especially when they know that you are sincerely interested in their needs and are not just after their money.

  1. Stand in your customer’s shoes

Track key customers’ experiences as they go through your business processes and take note of where the experience breaks down. Some business owners hire mystery or ghost shoppers to call their customer service hotlines and pose as customers to either inquire about a service or complain about one. If you can’t hire a mystery shopper or if it doesn’t apply to your line of business, try to put yourself through the customer experience.

You may discover shortcomings some aspects of your processes. It is then up to you to look at how to modify that aspect in your business to ensure that your business provides the best possible experience to your customers.

The main thing in effectively understanding what your customers want is having a genuine interest in their problems and needs, and finding ways to solving and addressing them. One of the reasons why many business owners don’t know what and how to ask their customers is because they don’t know much about their customers, to begin with. Try starting a conversation with yours and see what kind of difference it makes.

If you are interested to know more about what a business has to go through when facing exponential growth, you can download the first chapter of the book, ”$20K to $20 Million in 2 Years” absolutely free here. The chapter talks about the differences between a good and a great business and puts out questions that make you consider how you can turn your business from good to great.



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