Customer Needs: A Definitive Guide

Gladly Team

Read Time

5 minute read

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When brands think about the systems they have in place for addressing common customer needs, they probably have employee training and old-school, emotional-intelligence-driven approaches. Without a doubt, having a support team that’s patient and communicative is essential to meeting modern customer expectations. But nowadays, brands have to go even further to meet the needs and stresses of their shoppers.

Investing time and resources is an essential part of scaling customer experience. There are more ecommerce brands now than ever before for customers to choose from, so having stand-out, responsive service gives brands an advantage. This is especially important in the modern “loyalty economy,” Gladly’s term for the current competitive landscape that focuses on retention. Promoting long-term relationships that produce loyal customers is the key to increasing ecommerce revenue.

To understand why support plays such an important role, let’s explore a baseline customer needs definition, as well as the most common customer needs and the innovative platforms that can empower brands to meet them.

What Are Customer Needs?

Customer needs are the factors that convince shoppers to buy a product or service and, ideally, stay loyal to a brand. These needs can be categorized as known or unknown to the shopper, as well as emotional or logistical.

Not only do they help customers decide what products to purchase, but also who they buy them from.

Emotional Customer Needs

Some aspects of service have to do with intangible, emotional support that agents need to be prepared to handle. When hiring agents, it’s essential for ecommerce businesses to ensure their teams are fully capable of meeting the core emotional customer needs that are most ingrained in a quality customer experience.

  • Friendly approach: In the basic introduction phase, support agents need to engage each customer with the same level of courtesy and politeness in order to lay a positive foundation.
  • Understanding tone: Shoppers don’t want to be treated like just another ticket at a deli counter, they want to be listened to and have their concerns appreciated. Working with shoppers using an understanding tone and a solution-focused attitude will make all the difference in the long run.
  • Personal touches: Whether it’s as simple as using their name when beginning the conversation or referencing their recent shopping history to easily dive into a situation, personalized touches show each customer that they’re dealing with a people-centric brand that listens to and understands them.

A Brand That Feels Like a Friend Earns 600% YoY Growth

🛑 Despite selling a product that comes with an emotionally taxing shopping process — swimwear — Andie Swim has kept exceptional customer service at the core of their business, to great effect. To date, they’ve seen 600% YoY growth, while building a robust customer feedback loop. Hear their story in the Andie Swim x Glady podcast episode.

Logistical Customer Needs

Customers also want to make sure their requests can be met effectively and at as little cost to them in time, effort, and money. For that reason, ecommerce brands need to bolster their service platforms to enable agents to meet the following customer needs.

  • Quick response times: As nice and polite as support agents might be, no customer wants to spend excessive time on the phone or in a chat to solve their issues. Companies should audit and update their service platforms whenever necessary to ensure needs can be met at an effective speed and that agents are equipped to handle an appropriate volume across multiple channels.
  • Knowledgeable service: If a shopper comes to any agent with an issue, that agent should almost always be able to handle it themselves through their knowledge of the brand as well as the shopper’s history. Using tools that provide transparent access to information can help reps respond with more confidence and prevent shoppers from being passed around endlessly without receiving a solution.
  • Shopping flexibility: The modern customer shops across channels and wants the freedom to update or modify their order on the fly if they have a change of heart. The customer experience should be flexible, with options like easier purchasing directly within conversations. Additionally, these approaches provide greater potential revenue since it becomes easier for support agents to upsell or cross-sell.

How to Anticipate Customer Needs

Be prepared for as many customer service situations as possible. The key to doing this successfully is to examine historical customer service themes that reveal areas where you can improve your service.

Then, once you’ve identified opportunities to ramp up your customer service, it’s time to take action. Consider implementing more online self service touchpoints to make it easy for customers to answer their own questions. Additionally, we recommend adding quickly accessible customer service channels to your customer contact mix, such as chat and SMS.

The best way to get started is by leveraging the right platform, specifically one that empowers teams to understand these needs and approach them with the knowledge and serviceability that shoppers appreciate.

The Platform to Meet Customer Needs

Customer service is inherently put in place to tackle all customer needs, but support agents can only do so much. With a platform like Gladly, the technical support becomes much more manageable, as agents are capable of delivering radically personal service built on conversations, not tickets.

Through strategic, people-first approaches powered by intelligent customer knowledge bases and smart people-matching technology that puts the best agents forward, teams can be better equipped to lean on the soft skills they were hired for to foster long-lasting relationships.

As customers get wiser and pickier about which brands are their go-tos, their expectations rise rapidly. Meeting customer needs no longer means just lending a sympathetic ear and making a promise to do better. In order to differentiate themselves in a crowded marketplace, brands need to build up an internal ecosystem that enables their teams to better understand and attack these customer needs head-on, building long-term value from loyal customers as a result.


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