Understanding Customer Needs and Behaviours

by Leanne M @ Procredible

This article emphasises the importance of understanding customer needs and behaviours through data analysis, particularly focusing on gathering insights from various sources including social media, surveys, and customer service interactions.

In this Article:

Truly understanding your customers is crucial for success. But between their desires, frustrations, and ever-evolving preferences, deciphering their needs and behaviours can feel like navigating a maze. This article is your map, helping you chart a course through the intricate landscape of customer understanding.

Customer Needs

At the core of understanding your customer, you first need to understand their needs. These are the fundamental desires that motivate a customer towards taking action (i.e. purchasing) your product or service.

These needs can be:
Functional, addressing practical problems (e.g. hunger, transportation),
Social, influencing their sense of belonging or self-expression (e.g. trendy clothes, community-driven platforms)
Emotional, tapping into their feelings and aspirations (e.g. security, recognition).

As an example, let’s say a customer is browsing for shoes. They might need comfortable trainers for work (functional), trendy boots to impress their friends (social), and shoes that make them feel confident (emotional).

Customer Behaviour

While needs paint the “why,” their behaviours represent the “how,” the observable actions customers take to fulfil those needs can include:

  • Browsing habits
  • Purchase decisions
  • Social media interactions
  • Customer service inquiries.

By analysing these actions, you gain valuable insights into their preferences, pain points, and decision-making patterns.

An example of this might be looking at purchase history. Here you might discover customers buying running shoes often repurchase the same brand, indicating brand loyalty (a behavioural pattern). Alternatively, a high returning rate for a specific shoe style might suggest a sizing issue (a pain point).

So what’s the key difference between the two?

Needs are the underlying desires, while behaviours are the actions customers take to fulfil those needs. Needs are internal and often subconscious, while behaviours are external and observable. Recognising the difference is key – by analysing behaviours, we can infer the underlying needs driving them.

A customer complaining about slow delivery (behaviour) might be driven by a strong need for efficiency and timeliness (need). Addressing this need, not just the complaint, leads to a more satisfied customer.

Uncovering Patterns in Customer Behaviour

Now, how do we unlock these valuable insights?

Data analysis is your key!

Heres how:

Data collection:
The first step is gathering data from diverse sources. This could include customer transactions, interactions on social media, website traffic, surveys, feedback forms, and more. The goal is to gather as much relevant data as possible.

Once you’ve got that data you should…

Analyse and look for patterns:
Now that you’ve gathered your data you need to analyse it to try and find patterns. To do this look for any trends or regular behavious among your customers. For example, maybe people tend to buy more on weekdays than they do weekends.

Segment customers:
Based on any patterns you find, you could then group your customers into different categories. This can help you to understand that no t all of your customers are the same, and some might prefer certain products or services over others.

Tip: Look at your feedback! Don’t forget to pay attention to what your customers are saying. This might be through reviews, social media comments, or perhaps you send out a survey. Their feedback will be invaluable to gain insight into what they like or don’t like about your business, and help you get an idea of their needs.

Start Optimising
Use the insights you gather to make your business better. Maybe you realise that certain products/services are really popular, so you focus more on promoting those. Or perhaps customers are complaining about a particular aspect of your service, so you work on fixing it.

By collecting and analysing data from various sources, you can uncover patterns and trends in customer behaviour.

Where to find customer data

Website analytics:
Track page views, clicks, and conversion rates to understand browsing patterns and purchase decisions.
Social media:
Utilise platform insights to see how customers engage with your brand, their preferences, and trending topics.
Customer surveys and feedback:
Directly ask customers about their needs, experiences, and suggestions.
Customer service data: Analyse inquiries and complaints to identify recurring pain points and opportunities for improvement.
Use tools like Facebook Insights, Google Analytics, and survey platforms can streamline this process, turning raw data into actionable insights.

Uncovering Patterns in Social Media

Social media platforms like Facebook are goldmines for understanding customer behaviour. Facebook Insights offer a wealth of demographic data, interests, and engagement metrics, helping you paint a picture of your target audience. Additionally, monitoring mentions and reactions on social media can reveal valuable insights into customer sentiment and needs.

Social media platforms offer a wealth of behavioural data through:
Engagement metrics:
Likes, comments, shares, and reactions reveal what resonates with your audience.
Content performance:
Analyse which posts perform best to understand content preferences.
Brand mentions and sentiment analysis:
See how customers talk about your brand and identify areas for improvement.

Keep in mind that social media is just one piece of the puzzle. Look beyond it to analyse customer reviews, website behaviour, and any other relevant data sources to gain a holistic view.

Final thoughts

Analysing these data sources can help you gain a full view and understanding of your customers.

Remember, the journey to understanding your customers is continuous. Regularly analyse data, gather feedback, and stay updated on evolving trends to keep your finger on the pulse of their needs and behaviours. With this dedication, you’ll unlock the key to building lasting relationships and growing your business through customer-centricity.

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