You may have heard it said that one bad review can undo 50 positive ones. People tend to discuss negative experiences more often than positive ones. Irrespective of your industry, your customers want to feel valued, understood, and appreciated. Consumers want validation from their investments and the confidence that the companies they value also value them. As such, you cannot afford not to know your customers.
Too often, sales and marketing teams assume that they understand their customers and what they need. In most cases, this results in wasteful spending, missed opportunities, and dissatisfied customers.
Remember that when we talk about the value of knowing your customers, it goes deeper than their names, locations, ages, and incomes. It includes knowing their needs, preferences, interests, and buying behaviors, among other things! Here we’ll look at why it pays to know your customers and how to get to know them better.
Ways to Understand Customers Better
Understanding your customers shouldn’t be complicated if you know what to do. We compiled a few reliable ways to know your customers below.
Gather Customer Data
You can gain meaningful insights about your customers by proactively gathering data about them. Data-gathering has some ethical standards, but basic qualitative information requires simple research methods.
Some mobile software tools can allow you to create custom forms for each of your customers and then digitally collect and organize whatever information is relevant about them. Some of these tools even have geo-tagged photo-sharing capabilities, meaning you can collect data in the form of images where text alone isn’t enough.
Some standard methods for gathering data include:
- Use social media to look for hashtags relating to your company or services and see what people say about you.
- What kind of things do your customers value on social media?
- Survey customers after they make a purchase or via email. Ask who referred them.
- Promotions can help you gain a following, especially on social media. Which promotions appeal to customers? Which promotions flop?
- Marketing analytics allows you to see what people do on your website and measure which marketing tools positively impact organic site traffic.
- Look for reviews on trusted consumer websites like the Better Business Bureau or Google.
Listen to Customers’ Feedback
After you gather your data, you have to analyze it. You have to listen to your customers if you want to get to know them. As mentioned above, use customer satisfaction surveys to find out what they think about your products, their customer experience, and what they think could be improved. In the process, you can ask them demographic questions like age, area of residence, employment, and marital status, although this information shouldn’t be mandatory.
Pay attention to online reviews. Most customers will use these reviews to express their experience with your product or service. Replying to all positive and negative reviews will improve your credibility and help you gather more insights from your customers. When customers see you value their feedback, they will likely engage more.
Create Robust Buyer Personas
Some marketers used generic demographics like age, location, and profession to create their buyer personas. This method has many shortcomings. Such data points do not provide sufficient information to develop messaging that truly connects with an audience.
To create a robust buyer persona, you should factor in the basic demographics and other detailed characteristics such as needs, motivation, personality archetype, pain points, buyer’s journey process, perceived barriers, preferred channels, etc. Also, since different types of people buy your product, you should develop more than one buyer persona.
Be the Customer
Becoming a customer means looking at your business through the customer’s eyes. This step helps you to free any bias.
When you put yourself in your customers’ shoes and answer these and other questions, you get closer to understanding your customers and their needs.
While acting as the customer, you can ask yourself pertinent questions such as:
- Are the customer representatives welcoming and professional?
- How long did it take to get a response?
- Were your questions fully and correctly answered?
- What is the customer experience like?
- What about the user experience?
- Is the purchasing process straightforward and smooth?
- Did the product fulfill my needs?
Benefits of Understanding Your Customers
Knowing your core customers has multiple benefits for your marketing efforts and business. Below are some of the common benefits.
Create Better Customer Experiences
When you know your customers, you can create better experiences for them. While customer needs may differ from business to business, some aspects of customer experience cut across almost all industries, these include:
- Friendly service
- Supportive employees
Knowing what your retail customers expect and meeting those expectations will create an exceptional customer experience. In contrast, failure to provide those things could lead to loss of business, as most customers will not hesitate to run to your competitors after a bad experience with your brand. With so many influencers online reviewing products, you don’t want to get blasted for a bad return or rude customer service.
Knowing how your business fits into your customers’ overall goals is critical for success. This rule is especially the case in the B2B space. One mistake that your business might make is assuming that all your customers want to solve a problem. In reality, many customers approach your business expecting you to produce an outcome for them. Come up with the problem and the solution.
Understanding what your customers want to achieve helps you deliver the intended outcomes. Doing so fosters trust between both parties. Customers will see that you have a firm grasp of their goals and pain points and may retain your business for a long period.
Enhance Marketing Success
You must know your customers for long-term marketing success. When you know your market, you can select the right channel to make an appeal, whether TV, social media platforms, or print media.
On top of that, understanding your customers helps you craft persuasive marketing messages that they can resonate with. As such, your marketing strategies will pay off.
Reduce Customer Complaints
Knowing your customers puts you in a better position to resolve any complaints they might have. That’s because you better understand the problems they experience and can develop tailor-made solutions before the customers realize they have an issue.
Respond Quickly to Changing Customer Needs
Products popular with your customers 10 years ago may become irrelevant, especially with the speed of technological innovation. If you constantly communicate with and research your customers, you will know their changing needs and can quickly make the necessary business adjustments.
For example, did you know Barnes & Noble Booksellers has been around since 1886? Their ability to pivot with market changes has helped them stay in business for over one hundred years. When people thought they couldn’t compete with online retailers like Amazon, they launched Nook to sell e-books and magazines. This example shows the value of knowing your customers and meeting their needs, possibly even before they formulate them.
Take Time to Know Your Customers
Think of customers as the engine that runs your business. Understanding your customers and their values, wants, desires, and opinions will retain them and help you to gain new ones,, leading to business success and longevity. If you want more insights into how you can understand your customers better and what this means for your business, reach out to our team at HQ Magazine.