You cannot address customer needs if you do not know what they want.
A big mistake that many Businesses make is, that they look at articles and other sources that say "customers want everything" and go on to list what all customers want.
While such resources can be a good indicator, unless you ask your customers what they expect and want regularly, you are likely spending time and money providing the wrong thing to your customers.
For example, in good economic times competitive pricing may not get people in your door or to your website.
However, when money gets tight cost may become more important to your customers.
Take your customer's service pulse regularly in order to keep up with their changing and specific needs.
Make it easy for customers to provide feedback.
Do not forget to ask for feedback. If you do not ask, most customers will not tell you.
Studies show that if customers are disappointed, they will not tell you. They will simply go away and then tell others about their negative experience. You need to hear the good, the bad, and the ugly related to how well customers perceive your service efforts.
Many Businesses say that they welcome customer feedback but they hide behind technology and make providing it difficult.
Make it easy for people to give you feedback or voice concerns.
On your website, have a link that says "Customer Feedback." When some clicks the tab they should get a form to complete and see your Business name, address, phone number and email address at the bottom, in case they want that information.
Continually look for a variety of ways to collect customer feedback.
Use traditional (e.g. counter questionnaires, mailed surveys, telephone follow-ups) as well as less traditional means (e.g. feedback drawings/give-aways, website "contact us" forms that provide complete addresses and phone contact information).
Create a dedicated system or staff responsible for gathering, analysing and responding to customers, when necessary.