Big data has lifted the lid on what we can glean from digital information and using this information for decision-making. Generally, this process is known as data science. Businesses can use this in various ways depending on their business model: size, nature, sector, or focus.
Data has become limitless and an infinitely valuable resource for businesses. The amount of data has increased due to increased internet usage and devices, making it easier for businesses to predict and meet customer needs. Properly leveraging this wealth of information can help organizations improve customer satisfaction, lower costs, and facilitate growth.
Data Science and Customer Needs
The key to anticipating customer needs is understanding why customers purchase something. Customer needs are reasons that prompt a customer to purchase a product. When you write a proposal for a new product, service, or feature, the first step is to understand your audience’s needs. This requires data-driven research and market segmentation.
Data science is not a new concept. It is the process of extracting, combining, analyzing, and interpreting data to answer questions, find patterns, and make predictions. Predictive analytics can be applied across industries — from healthcare to retail — but its use in customer experience management (CXM) is particularly effective.
While there are many different methods for doing this, one of the most popular is predictive analytics — which uses machine learning algorithms to predict customer behavior or outcomes based on past behaviors. There are many quick tools, applications, and data matching software that helps businesses in studying past trends and identifying needs based on a metric.
Types of Customer Needs
Customer needs can be categorized as:
- Business needs – The main purpose of any business is to generate profit. Businesses continuously seek to increase their sales and profits through the development of products, services, and marketing strategies that meet customer needs.
- Personal needs – Customers have personal needs such as physical, emotional, or spiritual wellness, social acceptance, financial security, or other aspects of life such as health, education, or wealth creation that are fulfilled by products and services businesses offer.
- Emotional needs – Some people purchase products and services based on emotion rather than rational thinking or logic. They may feel compelled to buy because they have been told about their benefits by friends, family members, or others in a position to influence their decision-making process.
- Social needs – People buy products and services that help them sustain their social groups, clubs, and communities at various levels.
Methods to identify customer needs
The key to anticipating and meeting customer needs is to first identify them. The most common way to do this includes:
- Use existing data to identify what your customers like, their experience with your products and company, etc.
- Use customer journey mapping to see what your customer experiences after purchasing your product till sharing their grievances, if any. It is a pictorial way of identifying needs.
- Use social media and its different platforms to see what your customer has to say about your products and services.
- Use keyword research to see what people search on Google the most.
Meeting customer needs
Once you have all the relevant information, use it to understand what drives customer behavior and how this can be used to predict future buying patterns.
Data like demographic information (age, gender), product usage history, purchase history, and even social media profiles are essential. Once you have gathered this information, you can begin analyzing it to identify trends and patterns that may help predict future buying behaviors.
Once you have identified these trends and patterns, it’s time to take action! Gather all stakeholders in your organization and distribute the information. Hold meetings with the technical and business teams to plan your next move.
Create products or content that matches the needs of the customers. You may have to revamp your products and services or work on the marketing strategy and make it more creative and catchy. This step may also include revisiting the company’s branding and seeing what needs to be changed.
Lastly, collect customers’ responses and feedback and analyze their satisfaction levels. Use data analytics to see if your products and services have met their needs.
Improve customer reach
Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and see what problems they have to face in reaching companies and businesses to lodge complaints or give feedback. With data, companies can improve customer service and find ways to address grievances. This is especially true for companies in the retail industry that rely on return customers to make sales.
Here are some tips from businesses that have successfully used data to improve their customer-first belief:
- Consistency – coherence within the company is extremely vital. All departments must understand the company’s values, services, and products to ensure their interaction with customers remains the same whether the customer has reached the sales team or the support.
- Provide instructions – plan easy walkthroughs for customers and help them identify how your product will help them in meeting their own needs.
- Feedback – reach out to customers throughout the purchase process and see what problems they are facing.
Benefits of anticipating customer needs through data
The benefits of anticipating customer needs through data include:
- Identifying trends that would otherwise be missed by conducting traditional market research.
- Finding new ways of reaching out to customers and creating innovative products that meet their needs better than existing offerings.
- Tracking your marketing strategies and performance
- Turning one-time buyers into regular customers by improving marketing.
Big data is changing how companies interact with customers and drastically accelerating their business strategies. The speed at which they are now developing, with cutting-edge technology, will allow them to surpass other competitors. Big data can get better insights into market and customer behavior to get ahead of trends. Having the right systems in place to collect data, store it, and analyze it is crucial when looking to improve customer experience. Take advantage of big data to improve connections with your customers and skyrocket your sales for a profitable future!