When you are trying to create a superior customer experience, it starts with a deep understanding of who your customers are, what they value, their fears when making a purchase, and what they are trying to accomplish by engaging with your organization. After all, you can’t determine how to improve the customer experience if you don’t really know your customers.
While you may have a number of customer profiles for the different types of customers you serve, you will need to at least know the following about each:
- What are their personal demographics (e.g. age, location, education)?
- In B2B, what is their role, industry and company information?
- What challenges do they face?
- What are their goals?
- How do they learn and consume information?
- How do they like to interact with companies?
- How do they decide where they buy from?
It’s not good enough to answer these questions based on what you think your customers would say — you need to know. So, how do we develop the correct customer profiles? Here are a few ways you can better understand your customer.
1. Conduct Interviews and Focus Groups
In-person interviews and online surveys are a great way to collect information from your prospects and clients. It is important to include both your customers and lost prospects who purchased from your competitors wherever possible. In addition, working collaboratively with influencers in your industry can provide valuable insights about your customers. You may even want to partner with an agency to help you gather this information.
2. Monitor Customer Activity
Keep a close eye on customer activity in your customer relationship management (CRM) system to glean insights on your customers. What products or services are top sellers? What are the primary lead sources for these sales, and how big are they? Where do our customers live, what companies and industries to they work in? What roles do they typically hold?
3. Keyword and Publication Research
Research what your online visitors type in search engines to find information on you and your competitors. Where do they consume information? What types of information are they consuming? By identifying keyword phrases and the type of information they are interested in, you can gain a meaningful understanding their needs and challenges. You can even develop your strategy around those phrases and topics that are of most interest, providing your online visitors with valuable content that assists them in their research and informs their buying decisions.
4. Observe Website Interactions
When a visitor lands on your website, what do they do next? Where do they go? What are they engaging with? Use heat maps to determine how visitors are travelling through your website. Learn the most popular pages, discover the content that generates the most conversions and identify bottlenecks that need to be eliminated.
5. Ask Your Client-Facing Teams in Sales and Service
Turn to your employees who are in the field, interacting with customers every day. Ask them to keep track of the questions that they get, and the challenges they hear about from customers and prospects. This type of feedback is a valuable way to gain insight about prospect and customer goals, problems, opinions and desires.
6. Use Artificial Intelligence and Predictive Analytics
Collect data in your CRM software from all areas of your company and embed tools that allow predictive analytics to help you determine where you are excelling and where you are falling short. Predictive analytics and artificial intelligence help you identify who your ideal customers are and where you should focus your time for best results.
Design the Experience Your Customers Want
Once you know who your ideal customers are, what they need, and what they want from you, it becomes possible to design a superior customer experience that will stand out. As you incorporate this newfound knowledge of your ideal customer, it is important that you continually review and monitor the data and insights so that you are always up to date as customer needs change. This also allows you to constantly be on the leading edge of new opportunities, and identify where customer centricity training is needed to improve the customer experience.