How to Identify Customer Needs: Step by Step Guide


August 16, 2021

Written by

Merlene Leano

Customers―indispensable contributors to the success of all businesses. These are the people who can directly affect your business' progress, and so making them experience superior assistance is of utmost importance. The best starting point to deliver that is by learning how to identify client needs and expectations.

No matter how good your product may be,no one will buy it without anyone interested to try what you have to offer. At the same time, you can't persuade an individual to buy what you’re offering, unless you know exactly what your target audience wants.

The objective of this article is to help business owners know the ways to identify customer needs, which is a significant step in making loyal patrons. At the end of this article, you will be able to find out more about the needs of the buyers you want to attract, and ultimately determine how to ask the right questions to identify customers' needs. 

What Are Customer Needs

These are a set of conditions and motivational factors that drive a person to make a purchase or reach a solution to their dilemma. Each customer’s need helps in deciding whether to subscribe to a service or order an item. People base their buying choices on personal standards and preferences. Businesses must take into account all of these requirements to ensure that they meet as many of their desired buyers’ expectations and demands as possible.

One of the steps you can take to get hold of such valuable information is to implement excellent assistance. You must also have the ability to identify what they want. Use customer feedback generated through reviews or discussions in groups. Check out what they discuss or comment on your social media pages. Another method you can use is conducting customer research.

There are different types of buyer preferences you should be aware of:

Types of Customer Needs

For businesses to be successful, entrepreneurs should know the things to consider in meeting customer needs. These include the following factors: price, quality, and choice.

The choice is important because every customer has different likes and needs. Likewise, in price and quality, the cost of the product must match the quality of the product. Some customers guess that when you buy a product at a much lower price, the quality is not that good. 

To find out customer needs beyond surface level, let us discuss further into more key factors:


Customers are willing to pay as long as it will make their life easier and more convenient. Thus, some companies incorporate AI or automated options to highlight a seamless user experience. Some companies offer same-day delivery through purchasing online. Their clientele don’t need to go outside to place an order, thereby saving their time. It is up to your company how you can execute that as long as it will be useful and convenient to your patrons and even to prospects. 


Pricing is essential. As we all know, several customers will try to draw in low prices. The unspoken rule is that the price should match the quality of the product. For some individuals, who are on a budget, the pricing should be fair. As a business owner, your goal is to generate higher revenue, so you wouldn’t want to off the cheapest on the market. It will cause an imbalance in your manufacturing and labor costs. 

Meanwhile, you also wouldn’t want to offer  the most expensive products to the point that nobody wants to buy your products. There are better ways to handle prices. For example, you can offer some discounts on a product bundle. You must compute carefully your costs for developing or producing your product, along with the costs of manpower needed to deliver your service. In this manner, you can come up with reasonable rates that target buyers will approve.

What Are The Strategies to Identify Customer Needs

Most businesses launch a product without even knowing beforehand how to identify the needs of their customers. Unfortunately, most businesses fail to meet what the customer wants. Understanding what your target audience seeks helps you to sell directly and more effectively to individuals or other businesses. You can use it to convince potential and existing customers or clients that purchasing from you is in their best interests.

There is a proper way on how to research customers' needs.

Here are the ways you can identify the distinct preferences of the buyer population or demographic you wish to cater to.


Go directly to the source. Conducting interviews with individuals who have had first-hand experience with your services is one of the most effective ways to identify your customers. Start by choosing questions that will get to the true cause of their issues. Often, you need to continually ask ‘why’ several times. Why do they prefer this product of yours over all the others in the list? Why are they not fully satisfied with your services? Why did they hesitate to purchase from your shop or business in the beginning? 

Their answers, regardless of how positive or negative, will provide insights that will serve as your reference.


Customer surveys are one of the most used methods to collect data online. You can create online forms or even make a poll on social media. Businesses want to gather highly specific information about what prospective buyers expect. To achieve that, it is best to use a mix of both open-ended and closed-ended questions.

A live chat survey works well in collecting customer feedback to boost their satisfaction. Using live chat surveys allow you to assess your customers while gaining crucial data about the kinds of products they might be willing to spend for.

Also, implementing feedback and surveys in your call center support helps maintain visibility across your entire business. The call center support team can speak directly with customers and gather more in-depth explanations on each caller's responses and answers.

Social Listening

Customers know the power of social media and are ready to use these platforms to talk about brands or products they have tried. Social listening allows you to monitor online users’ comments about your products. You get to see who follows your social media accounts and who mentions you in recommendations or group discussions. By doing that, you will still get to see what they’re saying about your brand while also comparing the ratio between positive and negative comments.

Analyze Competition

Competitive research is a crucial part of your business plan. It involves identifying your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses. Understanding your competitors is very similar to getting to know your intended buyer demographic. It is important to regularly monitor your competitor's online activity or listen in on what their possible future strategies may be. 

Competitive research will help you determine the kind of buyer experience, products and services they offer, along with the quality of their content. You can devise more efficient strategies ahead of time, and even learn from the mistakes and successes of fellow businesses in your chosen industry.

How to Run a Customer Needs Analysis

Knowing and understanding what motivates and influences your target audience’s purchasing decisions and expectations will consequently allow you to predict possible hurdles they may encounter along the way. These hurdles could be specific factors that may lead them to switch to your competitors, including pricing changes, or the presence or lack of discounts and exclusive promos. The process alone entails accuracy and careful observation, hence, the crucial role of a detailed customer needs analysis.

It is used to provide an in-depth understanding of your end-users or buyers to ensure you deliver a suitable lineup of benefits and features that prioritize value for money and satisfaction.

Here's how to apply it:


The said analysis is typically conducted by running surveys that help businesses figure out their status in the market or how well they are meeting their target customers' needs.

In this type of questionnaire, the queries should focus on customer needs analysis questions about your product and brand awareness.

Check out the following examples:

  • Ask about positive and negative reactions about your brand
  • Ask customers to group your products in with similar and/or competing products
  • Have your respondents compare and sort products according to their preferences

Means-End Analysis

Now that you’ve done the survey to analyze what your audience prefers, you can use the answers to learn why your customers buy from you, and what makes your product or service different from your competitors.

These reasons can be divided into three groups:


A customer buys a product because of the features it has to offer. If a customer buys a cellphone, they might buy it because its ram and specs are better than other brands. Some are more meticulous about the design, while others are more focused on the different phone brands currently available in the market.


A customer buys a product because of a benefit. Whether it is real or perceived, if they believe that a product can bring the advantage they seek, then they are likely to buy, try, or sign up for it. If, under features, a buyer is concentrated on the physical characteristics of the phone, under benefits, they are more fixated with how the phone’s design and features will improve certain aspects of their routine. 

For instance, they may choose a specific smartphone because it is easy to use and convenient to carry around wherever they go. A corporate manager may find that a smartphone allows them to get updates or touch base with their teammates and clients more easily if they can use messaging apps on their phone to stay connected. An ecommerce seller may feel that it is easier to organize sales and orders if they have 24/7 access to their inventory and if they can monitor it remotely.


People also tend to buy a product for its uniqueness. Some choose a smartphone because it matches their lifestyle and will help them to be more creative or artistic. Or, they may need a phone with a high-quality camera because their job or profession involves shooting videos or taking photos regularly.

Customer Feedback

It may seem repetitive, but customer feedback is crucial in every marketing strategy. Ask your customer directly about their experience with purchasing from your company. You can also interview both the customers and your support team, so they can contribute to making your analysis more in-depth and ultimately improve your company’s performance.

As you identify the setbacks and positive factors that people experience from your products, you can now take the appropriate action in realigning your business’ perspectives, values, and priorities. In the long run, you will find yourself knowing what your target buyers want and need with a high level of accuracy.

Final Thoughts

All the key pointers in this blog have aptly answered what methods can you use to identify customer needs. That said, you will surely agree that identifying the specific requirements and expectations of each customer plays a vital role in a company’s revenue growth. It allows agents to cross-sell related products. Often, your end-users are not clear about what they need and want. 

An excellent customer service agent takes strides to make sure that your buyers’ demands are met. They ask the right questions, listen, and tailor suggestions to help the customer to decide.
New Media Services is here to understand, identify and meet your customers’ needs. We offer live chat services and call center support to do surveys as they hold a wealth of insights on the values and pain points that matter to your clients most. Our highly trained agents are here to help you to dig and identify customers' needs with utmost precision.

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