Your business may need to get information from both potential and existing customers. This information is useful to help you create products or experiences that satisfies their needs and wants. This can be achieved through market research.
Market research can be done by employing both quantitative market research techniques like customer surveys and qualitative methods, such in-depth interviews and focus groups. Market research is always the first step of any product development process.
All businesses including your own strive to make sure that they understand their customers and competitors and in so doing you have to generate questions to ask in order to get the right information. This will also prepare you for the best customer care practices and to remain competitive in business.
The following questions will be of great importance to you to come up with a good market research report for your business:
1- Which Different Kinds of Customers Am I Trying to Sell to?
This question helps to address the target customers who may be individuals, other businesses who will be willing and able to buy your products or services. You may also be planning to sell to the government bodies or other public entities. This will guide you on how to get to their lists of prequalified providers of products or services.
2- What Products or Services Do They Want?
Successful businesses have always put to the market something that addresses the needs and wants of the customers. You could start by putting yourself in the shoes of your customers and get a feel of what exactly would form a good product or service.
3- Why Do They Want Particular Products or Services?
I once bought a bicycle because I needed transport. People will buy nice clothes from the boutique because they want to look attractive. Simon will buy a smartphone because he wants the internet and communication.
Others will buy a laptop to carry out business communication and travel while owners of village homes will buy solar panels to charge a laptop or phone. Consumers of Organic Food buy them because of their perceived to have health benefits. These and many other examples will help you to target and address the exact needs and wants of your customers.
4- When Do Customers Want my Products or Services?
Heavy warm jackets are on demand during the winter in countries where such seasons exist. Knowledge of that would guide a manufacturer on when his or her products are required by the market.
You have to always be conscious about time and prioritization. If you run a local restaurant, you have to be sure that by lunchtime food has to be ready and customers will want a timely service or delivery of orders.
A delay may cause your customers to go to another business and a word can easily spread and you don’t get customers. You can easily close your business because of the failure to know when exactly your products or services are required.
5- What Prices Are They Willing to Pay?
It is very important to set a price that your clients are willing to pay over and over again for as long as your business is still serving them well. Complaints about a high price could mean that a competitor can easily sway away your clients by a reduction with a very small margin on similar products or services. You need to set a price that would enable you to meet all production costs and make a good profit.
6- Where Are the Customers and Where Do They Usually Buy?
Find out where your customers are in terms of geographical areas and from where they always buy similar products. This will guide you on how to strategically position your business in a place where your customers will easily access the premises or offices. Knowledge of where your customers are also vital especially if you have to deliver products to them. Your decision on the distribution channel will also depend on where to find the customers.
7- Who Are My Competitors (Other Businesses Selling Similar Products or Services)? How Good Are My Competitors?
One thing you can’t avoid in business is competitor analysis to find out who they are, how good they are with the product or service and how loyal customers are to them. All businesses have competition unless there is a restricted entry into the market.
Being aware of who the competitors help you to design unique products and services that address actual customer needs and wants. This is the point where innovation and enterprise skills work best. List all possible and desirable tastes and preferences of the customers that are not currently being addressed by your competition and form your unique selling proposition (USP) on that.
8- What Unique Services Are Provided by Competitors to Attract or Retain Customers?
Just like family surprises of unique recipes, we always ask especially when the meal tastes very nice and you are tempted to ask for even more. What is the secret? Why does a grocery store on the roadside always get crowded with cars of customers shopping in the evening? Does the owner offer discounts? Is there a happy hour?
These and many other questions will be useful to discover what the competitors are using as customer care best practices to make their buyers happy and seek for repeat business. If you get enough information you can start thinking of how you will make your customers happy and build a lasting relationship with them.
9- How Do My Competitors Recruit, Train and Retain Their Staff?
Having a good sales team is one of the key factors in the success of any business. Recruitment, selection and resourcing talent is one key area a good entrepreneur should have. Learn how to get people who have a positive attitude towards work and train them to deliver the best results.
You also need to learn how to treat your staff well so that they don’t go away or join your competitors. some of this information is just with your competitors. before you move any further, find out how well they treat their human capital.
10- What Do Customers Like About the Physical Location or Premises of the Competitor?
Having a good workplace is one of the most important and motivating factors to your staff and that would also attract customers. I am not talking about fancy offices but a well cleaned, arranged and decorated location even by the use of local materials can be a win.
What makes the premises look good is not always the money but the way you set out your shop or office and make it uniquely comfortable for your customers to access the products of service. Your business can easily get recommendations simply because you worked hard to make it accessible by all people including those with disabilities or in a wheelchair.
Finding answers to these and many other questions will be useful for you to have enough rejoinders about your customers and competitors. The process through which all those questions are raised is called market research. The process makes you more equipped and ready to join commerce with confidence. You can learn more as the business picks or as your staff also join in to receive customer reviews and feedback about your products or services.