Customer research: know your customer

Whether you sell cash register systems or build websites, you need customers who want to buy your product or service. With customer research you make an analysis of your future customers and their buying behaviour. This tells you how and where you can best approach your customers.

Customer research, also called customer analysis, maps the purchasing behaviour of your future customers. You do this by answering the following 3 questions:

  • Which persons or companies buy your product or service?
  • How often do they buy from your company? For example, weekly, monthly or every 5 years.
  • Why do your customers buy your product or service? For example, Because they need it to do their job or for running their company, or because they want to own a luxury product.

By answering these questions, you analyse if you have a specific customer group that, for example, buys your products once every 5 years (such as a furniture store). Or a customer group that walks in every day (a supermarket). You can then expand your research further and find out more about your target group(s).

Specific target group

If you are developing a half-fabricate for a factory, do research on these factories. Check in which regions you can deliver and which companies may be interested.

Thinking about a starting a travel agency for extreme adventure travel? There is a clear target group for that as well, so you can conduct targeted research. What spending pattern does your target audience have and how often do they go on holiday? You can find this information on the websites of Statistics Netherlands, the Social and Cultural Planning Office, and on internet forums on this subject.

Less specific target group

If you want to start a bakery, you do not have a defined customer group. Customer research in this case focuses more on the environment of your store. What is the average spending income in this area? Are there many passers-by? How do you make them walk into your store? When do they do their grocery shopping? For this information, you can contact your municipality or an entrepreneurs’ association in your shop area. For example, use a 'purchase flow survey' for your city.

If you are designing websites for small businesses, focus your research on this group of entrepreneurs. For example, if you build online shops, it is interesting to focus on retail. Research what the wishes of your customers are, so that you can accommodate them. In addition to the customer analysis, also make an environmental analysis to map this information.

Customer satisfaction research

Even if you have built up a customer base, you can continue to research the experiences and wishes of your customers. For example, with customer satisfaction surveys. Prepare an evaluation that gives insight into customer satisfaction. Or ask your customers to write a review. Satisfied, loyal customers lead to new customers. And the outcome also gives you the chance to improve your product or service.

When conducting customer satisfaction surveys, take European Privacy Law into account. Check in advance whether you comply with the provisions of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).