Customer Connection: Keys to understanding what they want

Michelle Dejno

Sue, a small business owner, came to us with a problem: she wanted more repeat customers. She wanted to better understand her customers’ needs and what she could do to encourage them to return for another visit.

We told Sue the best way to connect with her customers is by understanding their needs. Here’s a high-level look at what we told her:

Do your research. Connect with your customers either online or in person through either a focus group or while they’re at the business and ask them the reasons why they chose to make an appointment. What criteria does the customer use — is it location, price, hours or something else?

Analyze the answers. Is there a common trend in the information gathered? For example, does location matter more than price or quality?

Form a strategy. Now you know more about your customers and what they are looking for, how can you better meet their needs? Would changing hours or adding a specialized service convince customers to make a return visit?

Create goals. Goals serve as a roadmap to where you want to go, but you’ll need to create key messages and a tactical plan.

Going through this process, we helped Sue identify a strategy and tactics to meet her goal and increase the number of repeat customers. We can help you better understand your customers, too. Email me at to learn more.

Michelle Dejno is vice president at O’Connor Connective, a strategic communications firm committed to helping organizations share their story.