Your customer probably doesn't know what he needs. He knows what he wants (which is different). Want is perceived need. Customer care as a real estate agent demands that you probe and find out their needs using the right questions. Doing this, you'll have a lot of satisfied customers and satisfied customers are less likely to 'file a complaint'. Once you know what they need, you can supply them with the right house or service to meet the need.

As people have varied characters, so does their needs differ. Two things that will get you points with your clients are asking the right questions and being a good listener. So, what is customer needs assessment and what does it entail?

In technical terms, needs assessment is a systematic process for determining and addressing needs or 'gaps' between current conditions and desired conditions or 'wants'. A need usually is either a desire to correct a particular deficiency or to improve performance. Before talking about three common types of need, we should make the clarification between intensive and extensive needs assessment.

Extensive needs assessment, also called market research is based on population based indicators. That is, the higher the number of people that love a particular feature, the more points that feature get. Intensive needs assessment on the other hand examines one or a few cases in-depth. This is the aspect of customer care that can separate you from the competition and get you loyal customers. Intensive needs assessment requires the ranking of priorities and priorities would likely differ from person to person.

Let's look at the types of need common in needs assessment, as outlined in Wikipedia:

1. Perceived need. At the start of this article, I mentioned that what people think they need is usually different from what they actually need. What people think about their needs is perceived need and it varies from respondent to respondent.

2. Expressed need. This is an aspect of extensive needs assessment, defined by the number of people who have sought help concerning circumstances where feelings are translated into action.

3. Relative need. This, on a social scale, is concerned with equity and fairness in societies.

The goal of needs assessment is to take the perceived need as a raw material and extract the ‘actual’ need and use this actual need as a basis for decisions towards improved service. Thus, needs assessment help to inform future decisions. Let's look at the basic process of determining the needs of your clients.

Both extensive and intensive analyses are usually done via surveys and can follow the same process:

1. You start by knowing your customer. You could throw in some personal questions or probably skip if you feel asking personal questions at this stage might be weird.

2. You want to know why they want to buy. That's very direct but it gets to the point quickly and helps you get to their perceived need without wasting much time.

3. Ask more questions. This is the most important part. For example, a small family might want to buy a house because they are expecting a newborn; you want to dig deep by asking more questions, but at the same time, maintaining balance by not being too nosy. In this example, you can ask questions like would you want to move out of your current environment? do you have other kids? etc.

4. How much are they willing to spend? Their budget would determine what you'll recommend. So you need to find out their financial capacity before making recommendations. It's pretty basic.

5. What do they think of you? After you have delivered a service, you want to know what they think about the service they got.

Intensive customer needs assessment is a key aspect of customer care which helps you build trust plus you gather in-depth details about your business from customers through regular communication.

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Edited by Alana (01/09/18 01:29 PM)