by Brian Lannan
A successful brand relies on a delightful customer experience. The most successful customer experiences are designed to fulfill your customers’ emotional and functional needs. But to fulfill your customers’ needs, you must first understand them.
The deeper your understanding of who your customers are, and what they need and want from you, the better equipped you are to design and orchestrate a personalized customer experience.
Since the turn of the century, one-to-one marketing — the willingness to listen to individual customers and make adjustments in response to their feedback — has been widely acknowledged to have crucial value to an organization’s customer base. In today’s digital world, it’s even easier to personalize your business to individual customers, based both on what they communicate directly to you and what data you have about them.
The resulting customer experience is more impactful, relevant, and memorable — and it demonstrates your organization’s empathy and understanding.
The value of developing a deeper understanding of your customers is indisputable. Take these stats for example:
- According to Microsoft, 77% of consumers view brands more favorably if they seek out and apply customer feedback
- A study by PWC found that 73% of consumers say a good experience is key in influencing their brand loyalties
- Brands with superior customer experience bring in 5.7 times more revenue than laggards, according to Forrester
- McKinsey & Company found that companies who are focused on improving their customer experience see employee engagement increase by 20% on average.
When you better understand your customers and invest in transforming your customer experience, customers are more brand-loyal, willing to spend more per item or service, and more likely to spread the good word about your business to their friends and family — all of which increases revenue.
But how exactly do you deepen your understanding of your customers, and enhance your customer experience? Here are six ways:
Map Your Customers’ Journeys
Journey mapping is key to understanding what drives your customers to your business and how they interact with your organization. Different components of a journey mapping exercise contribute to your overall understanding of your customers.
Equally as important, journey mapping can show you what causes customers to turn away from your organization, which can help you solve pain points to prevent churn.
Looking to chart customer pathways?Check out our Customer Journey Mapping Solution
Harvest and Analyze Social Media Data
Social media interactions have become increasingly important to today’s customers – just look at the popularity of the Steak-umm Twitter account, which has taken the brand to a national household name through its incisive political takes. Ben & Jerry’s is another great example of a brand that’s extremely active on social channels, creating engagement on real-life issues and using that engagement to better understand their customer base.
Social media isn’t just an advertising platform, and if you’re only using it that way, you’re missing out on valuable customer data, which can be harvested and analyzed to deepen your understanding of your customer.
Implement a Voice of the Customer Program
Voice of the Customer programs involve actively seeking feedback from your customers so you can better understand their needs and solve their pain points. To get the most out of your program, consider implementing different kinds of data collecting methods like:
- Qualitative data from sources like customer intercept interviews
- Quantitative data from more traditional survey mechanisms like customer questionnaires
- Observational data from monitoring the customer’s behavior during their interaction with your organization
- Touchpoint surveys to help you drill down into the customer’s thought process at various points of their journey
The value of a Voice of the Customer program is simple but undeniable: it massively increases customer input, which you can then analyze and turn into concrete, revenue-building action.
Invest in a Data Management Solution
Automation is key to making sure data is properly captured, stored, and analyzed. A data management system will enable you to easily collect customer data and insights in one central, accessible place, so you’re set up for success.
Consider Third Party Data Enrichment
To round out your own customer insights, it’s worth contracting a third party vendor to enrich your customer data. They can often provide email or cell phone contact information as well as customer insights from large groups including over 500 attributes. Enriching your customer records with this data helps you get more out of it.
Trace Behaviors and Preferences
Analyzing behavioral data — like the ways customers use your website or app or purchase history and trends — can help you develop a deeper understanding of your customers’ interests, preferences, and needs. This enables you to take an empathetic approach to solving your previously uncovered pain points and determine creative ways to smooth out roadblocks in the digital experience.
The six ways to gaining a deeper understanding of your customers that I’ve illustrated here are interdependent – although they have power and value when they stand alone, they are even more powerful when harnessed together. Leveraging as many methods as possible to gaining a deeper understanding of your customers propels your organization forward in designing and rendering an experience that is true to your brand and personalized for your customers.
Gaining a deeper understanding of your customers means listening to them, learning from them, and then strategizing and deploying solutions. At Avtex, we assist organizations through that entire lifecycle, leveraging our customer insights capabilities to help you design and orchestrate better experiences.