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MEETING CUSTOMER NEEDS AND WANTS

Tim Millett
Published by Tim Millett
08 October 2013

Meeting the objective needs and subjective wants of customers to drive sales is the basis of most businesses. It is how they build business relationships, remain profitable, and how they expand into new territories. While the process of meeting those needs and wants may be different for each client or project, your goal is to lead your team in satisfying customer goals and expectations so your company will receive future work. Needs can be very similar between customers, while wants can vary enormously based on the different perceptions and diverse experiences of your client base

TALK WITH CUSTOMERS

In order to meet your customers’ expectations, your team must first understand what those expectations are. Ways to determine this include:

• Meeting with customers
• Asking open creative questions about what is required
• Using a “content mirror” to ensure understanding and show you are listening and interested
• Taking copious notes for future reference!
• Holding a team meeting afterward to compare notes and pinpoint exact needs and wants
• Returning to the customer if needed for clarification before beginning a project

Even though many clients know what they require, some simply do not. And some may have an idea of what they want without that necessarily corresponding with what they need. It will be up to your team to draw the needs and wants out of them in order to devise a plan and goals.

When talking with customers, you should ask questions about their business, what they feel are its strengths and what its weaknesses are. If working in sales, finding out what a client is lacking in their business can help you find the correct solution – which then can lead to a sale.

STEPS TO MEET THESE NEEDS AND WANTS

Once you have established the expectations of your customer, then your work really begins. Whether you are working with a team on a project or you are trying to sell products or services, the steps you take should include:

• Brainstorming possible solutions to issues presented by the customer
• Outlining project goals and assigning tasks
• Determining the correct product that will meet the needs and wants of customers
• Presenting solutions to the customer

When taking these steps, you may want to consult with the customer to make sure you are on the right track. Since customers may at any time become worried, frustrated, angry, or anxious about the process, it is your job to let customers know that they are a priority and that you are trying your best to meet their requirements. Keeping customers informed will be an important ingredient of success.

CUSTOMER FOLLOW-UP

After delivering a product / service or presenting a process to your customer, you should follow-up to see if their expectations have been met. This is not only good business practice, it also lets customers know that you care about their business and that you want them to succeed, even beyond the sale.

If they are not satisfied, then you should show ownership and follow company procedures in trying to fix any issues they may still have.

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