Create a hierarchy of customer needs in 5 simple steps

Customer Value Frameworks for Supermarket Retail – Part 2 of 3

Supermarket competition has always been fierce, and the arrival of new, younger brands has shaken things up even further. A robust set of customer-centred strategic principles is crucial to helping you stand out, build loyalty and drive growth. Four models in particular have proved so useful, that together, they form our Customer Value Framework. This series of three articles looks at how you can use these to set the groundwork for change.

By Amanda Salter

Build from the roots up to provide experiences that are grounded in success.

A recent study highlighted that 89% of organisations will compete on customer experience in 2016. This shows it’s more crucial than ever to get yours right. Not just in terms of the experiences you offer, but also in the sequence you present them to your customers.

It’s easy to get lost in the sheer volume of customer experience initiatives available. So before you jump in at the deep end, take a look at the model below. This is an extension of Maslow’s classic ‘Hierarchy of needs’ model – and the concept is the same: You need to deliver on the lower levels before your customer will be ready to accept the next step.


How to establish your hierarchy of needs:

1. Get the basics right

The lowest level is always about getting your foundations right, in other words, dealing with the hygiene factors of a supermarket business. This means avoiding common mistakes, addressing complaints and fulfilling basic customer expectations. Always focus here first, even if it takes up most of your effort and budget. You need to get this spot on before you can move on.

2. Build on the basics

Once you have a stable basis, you can then start looking at what makes a difference for your customers at the next level. It’s useful to have a view of what each of these levels is for YOUR business and YOUR customers.

3. Choose your levels wisely

Your levels need to reflect your customer needs and be driven by what matters most to your customers, right now. As already mentioned, the bottom level is your basic requirements (in our example, reliable). The higher up levels could be things like: Convenience, Personalisation, Inspiration, Community presence, Deeper insights, or Rewards. Once you’ve established what’s right for your customers and business, you need to prioritise your levels and use them to fuel your strategy and initiatives.

4. Stick to your hierarchy

You’ve got your hierarchy, now you need to make sure you follow it. There’s no point delivering loads of customer initiatives at level 4 if you haven’t properly addressed the issues at level 3. Your customers won’t be ready to accept level 4 before you’ve delivered on level 3.

5. Be flexible

Be prepared to change your hierarchy of needs as customer expectations change. Things that are differentiators today are likely to become basic expectations at some point soon. A few years ago, being a multichannel supermarket was a differentiator and could have featured in hierarchies of need at the time – now it’s just a basic hygiene factor.

Grow your sales and build loyalty

Our expert team of Researchers, Service Designers and UX Gurus quickly uncover exactly what motivates your customers. We show you where customers’ pain and pleasure points lie, and what will incentivise them to buy more and stay longer. So you can grow sales and build loyalty in your retail business.

We work with all kinds of retailers – large and small – to identify new opportunities for customer growth and retention. We’ve helped the UK’s largest supermarket revolutionise their loyalty scheme, saving them hundreds of thousands of pounds in the last year alone.

Get in touch today and see how we can create competitive advantage in your business.

Other articles in the series:

Part 1 – Top ten tips for defining you Customer Experience Vision Statement
Part 3 – Create Customer Journey phases to improve your experience

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