Identifying Customer Needs for Better Customer Service

We’ve talked in the past about identifying customer needs. Especially, we talked heavily about “special needs”, at which time I went out of the way to point out that special needs meant more than accommodating the disabled. So, there’s not really any need, for many of you, to go into defining and explaining needs.

But, some may not be familiar with customer needs, then before we get into identifying customer needs, we do need to take a quick recap, and look at what this really means. Because, like special needs, it probably means more than one is given to expect.

So, customer needs include a number of specific traits within a target customer demographic, including marketing, publications and a corporate culture that serves and relates well to that demographic keenly. This means that your marketing speaks to and engages them, the research and comparison facilities are able to demonstrate your product and its benefits in a “language” they speak, and your customer service is accommodating to their attitudes and expectations.

Well, obviously, something like this isn’t really feasible to dissect in a precise and accurate manner, because it depends entirely on your product/service, your corporate culture and your demographic.

But, what I can advise you on is how to go about getting the data (and parsing it) for identifying these needs. The basic techniques behind getting your data actually apply to pretty much any combination of circumstances.

So, what do you do to get this data? Well, think about the tools that you use to conduct your business, first. You use CRM as your core framework for most of your business processes and your customer experience, right? Well, you have your foundation of basic data right there. You can see churn, customer lifecycles, customer support claims and user survey data from CRM easily, and from this, you can build a solid view of what customers like, dislike, and how well you’re meeting their needs.

Along with this, you can use advanced business intelligence software to tap into the social subconscious of society, via the internet and social networks. Here, customers express opinions, laud successful ideas companies have, and point out flaws they see and things they wish to have out of it.

You can track mentions, word patterns, SEO analytics, and much more. With this information, you have an inside look at what customers really think of you and what they would like you to do to make things better in one way or another.

This is how you identify these things. This data can be all manner of things depending on a number of variables, so beyond this, there are no constants for me to mention.

Identifying customer needs is fairly simple, if you have the right tools. But like I said, what any of the data means is very specific to your situation, and your target demographic is going to have needs very specific to them. But, very rarely are the needs you learn of really that unreasonable nor are they often difficult to accommodate. So, to provide the best customer experience, you’re going to want to pay special attention to this sort of thing in the future, if you don’t already.


is Specialist in Customer Success and chief writer and editor of I Want It Now, a blog for Customer Service Experts. Follow her @StefWalkMe