What are 5 basic customer needs

Awaken customer needs! Find out what your customers want.

Without knowing the wants and needs of your potential customers, it will be difficult to develop or sell a successful product or offer. In order to find out whether there is any need for or interest in your product, a fundamental analysis of customer needs is required. We explain to you why it is important to know the needs of your customers and how you can determine them.

Put quite dryly, the customer need is a customer's request to remedy a subjectively perceived defect. This does not specifically refer to a specific product or service, but is aimed at a general dissatisfaction with the existing condition. Customer needs refer to the desire to change this situation.

Customer needs must not be equated with customer expectations. This term describes the requirements that a customer places on a service provided or a product that has already been purchased.


No matter how elegant, beautiful or practical your product or how helpful your service is: if the customer does not see any added value for himself, he will not buy. The better and more specifically you determine the wishes and needs of your customers, the better you can adapt your product to their wishes and needs and sell it more successfully.

Customer needs help you to keep your eyes open and always look for new, creative ideas, as well as to move you away from traditional solutions. The identification, exact description and correct interpretation of customer needs are the basis for the customer orientation of every start-up and small or medium-sized company. Of course, the knowledge gained must also be implemented successfully. So when you dare to develop a product or service, always ask yourself the following question first: What needs do my customers have?

The interpretation of customer needs accordingly also form the basis for your target group analysis. Of course, the results are not only used to develop a new product. The analysis of customer needs is also a helpful tool for improving an existing product or service.

There are various methods and models that can help you identify your customers' needs. In the digital age, customer needs are first determined in detail and the product is developed based on the results. That was not always so. Up until the turn of the millennium, the product was first developed and then advertised with a huge marketing budget in order to generate a target group.

Today, thanks to the Internet, information can be obtained quickly and easily, on the basis of which the wishes, needs and problems of potential customers can be determined. In this way, you can quickly determine whether there are any potential customers for your business idea or your product. The methods that you can use to do this are varied and numerous. We will briefly introduce some of them to you.

Without asking your customers directly, you can draw your conclusions from their experiences with your product or comparable offers from the competition. Here you will find a few suggestions where you can easily get feedback from your existing customers:

  • What do customers often praise and emphasize in references to your company or your performance?
  • Which question comes up often when it comes to your product or your company?
  • What do your customers need help with?
  • What are the prejudices against your product or comparable products?
  • Facebook ensure frequent interactions?
  • Which posts on your blog get the most clicks? What posts on
  • How do customers comment and rate the products of the competition?
  • Which terms and keywords do your customers use noticeably often and which conclusions can you draw from them?
  • What are your customers looking for on Google?

As with an emergency call, it also helps when analyzing customer needs to ask W questions. First, you define the basic characteristics of the potential customer group. Then you want to understand why your potential customers would buy your product or service. Then you think about the way your customers prefer to buy products and how much money they are willing to spend. In practice, this works out as follows:

who are my customers?

  • Age
  • gender
  • income
  • marital status
  • job
  • residence
  • Interests

Why do my customers buy?

  • Brand preferences
  • social needs
  • emotional needs
  • Membership Requests
  • work-related reasons
  • family reasons

Where does my customer shop?

  • Online shop
  • stationary trade

How does my customer spend a lot of money?
How the average monthly salary of my client?
How high is the proportion that he spends on products that are similar to mine?
The customer saves a certain amount and if yes, in what way?

In order to understand the needs of your customers, you have to investigate which factors influence their purchasing decisions, where they prefer to shop and what their financial budget is. A popular method in market research is the creation of empathy maps, which were developed by the company XPLANE. This expands the question to determine the personal motivations and thought patterns of potential customers in more depth. As the name suggests, the Empathy Map is based on the idea of ​​not just focusing on rational actions, but also including the customer's emotional decisions.


You are probably familiar with Maslow's hierarchy of needs. This sets human needs and motivations is a hierarchical structure and explains this. Although you cannot apply Maslow's model one-to-one to the analysis of customer needs, it still makes sense to hierarchize the needs of your customers.

Basic needs are assumed to be fundamental and self-evident. For example, it should be possible to use a smartphone to make phone calls and to surf the Internet. There are also needs that the customer can simply describe. The smartphone should weigh as little as possible and have a long battery life. These would be e.g. an easily describable need.

In addition, there are unconscious needs that the customer does not express because it is difficult for him to describe them or because they do not necessarily influence his purchase decision. If they are nevertheless fulfilled, the customer is pleasantly surprised. In the example of a smartphone, these could be preinstalled apps that make everyday life easier in unexpected ways. Likewise, a positive image transfer that takes place through the brand. Example Apple iPhone.

The so-called build-measure-learn cycle begins with the analysis of a problem that the customer has and for which he would like to get a solution. In the next step, a prototype (of a product or service) that can solve the problem is developed accordingly. This is then presented to potential customers who give their feedback on the product. Would you use the product or service and if so, how and when?

The results of the feedback rounds are used again and again to further develop and improve the product. The cycle repeats itself until the developers decide that the product is ready for the market.

Don't think your customers are stupid! It is not infrequently assumed that customers themselves do not even know what they actually want and what is best for them. Once you get to know the product or service, you will realize that you have been waiting for it all your life. However, in most cases this approach is fundamentally wrong. Customers know exactly what they want and you will lose a lot of time and money if you don't take customer needs seriously from the start.

Remember that customer needs do not have to relate exclusively to the product itself, but factors such as price, sales, service life of the product, service or communication can also influence a purchase decision.

You should avoid confusing customer needs with formulating solutions. If you ask a customer what their requirements are for the equipment of a car and he replies that he would like a reversing camera, then he has already given the solution to his request. But behind this is in this case the desire for security and support when parking.

What are you waiting for? Make customer wishes come true.

No matter which way you choose: there is no way around a well-founded analysis of customer needs if you want to get off to a successful start with your product or service. In the end, customer needs become customer satisfaction and happy buyers are known to remain loyal to you longer.

Are you familiar with the subject of customer needs? Then feel free to share your experiences or questions with us and the community.