Most companies traditionally considered products and services to be the core of their operations, so they were constantly trying to evolve and improve those elements of their businesses. However, entrepreneurs started realizing soon that it’s actually the customers that make the crucial impact after all.
Recent studies even proved that customer service will become the most influential brand differentiator within the next three years, well in front of the prices and products. In such circumstances, it is essential for all brands to truly understand their buyers and provide them with an impeccable consumer journey.
That’s why we decided to show you the 5 best techniques that will help you to learn everything you need to know about your customers.
1. Make a precise buyer persona
The biggest mistake that you can make while creating a model of an average customer is to take into account only the basic information such as age, gender, and location. Making a precise buyer persona is much more complex because modern consumers are self-aware and less loyal in the past. They initiated the process of micro-segmentation, which is why you have to offer them more customized products or services.
Although the rise of new technologies made customers demanding and self-assured, it also gave companies enough data to dig deeper into the preferences of their common buyers.
Using tools like Google Analytics, you can see the structure of your website traffic: does it come from search engines, directly, through referrals, or campaigns? Discover the average visit duration, bounce rates, the most visited pages and topics – all these information will enable you to understand the mindset of the customer.
This is exactly how the Seattle-based Continental Warranty increased their lead generation by more than 40%. They built a profile of their target audience using a conversion-optimization technique, which helped them to boost sales soon after the launch of this new methodology.
2. Understand what your customers think and feel
When you really want to make sure that your sales strategy is going to be successful, you need to walk in the shoes of your customers for a while. That’s the best method to understand what they think and feel.
You can analyze an entire consumer journey through each touch point and decide which parts of your marketing and sales process can be improved. Role-playing techniques can help you to discover even the smallest imperfections of your business.
For example, HR executives at the Ulster Bank Group organized an incognito role-play session in their branches, pretending to be potential clients. This helped them to come up with deeper insights into the customers’ needs; it also allowed them to improve their on-site services.
You can find similar examples in most industries: private clinics hire fake patients, representatives of telecommunication companies talk to their own call service staff, mystery shoppers, the list goes on…
In each case, entrepreneurs receive valuable feedback which helps them to improve the consumer journey experience. It’s a difficult, multichannel procedure, but it helps companies to enhance service from social networks all the way to face-to-face communication with their customers.
3. Ask your customers directly
With so many channels of communication available these days, it would be foolish not to take advantage of them. You can ask your customers directly about their experiences with your company by creating an online survey via the company website or your company’s social media accounts.
However, it is even better to engage in real-time conversations and find out the customers’ opinions through phone calls or instant messages.
A web page messenger became one of the top trends of customer service these days as almost 75% of buyers prefer live chat while exploring your services. This is the chance for you to find out more about their personal affinities without delay. Ask them what they think about the brand, do they find the service to be adequate, and do they have any remarks about their consumer journey in general.
Bear in mind to stay objective and don’t be biased when asking questions. Only an honest answer will do well for your analysis. Be straightforward and ask customers simple but precise questions using everyday language and vocabulary. Try to narrow down your topics of interest and concentrate on one or two points that you consider a priority at the moment.
4. Organize training with customers
Most of the world’s largest companies like Apple or Ritz-Carlton built comprehensive case studies to explain the state of their customer experiences. They peeked into every little aspect of the consumer journey to create an even better customer service, bearing in mind that the reduction of customer effort is the quintessential factor in customer loyalty.
Over time, many more companies have increased their resources to understand and analyze buyers behavior. This is how they’ve come up with the idea to start organizing employee training together with their most important clients.
That’s exactly what General Electric did when they conducted a training session for their senior managers along with representatives of their key accounts. It proved to be an excellent method for employees to express their uncertainties related to customer behavior. At the same time, clients had the chance to emphasize the most important shortcomings of customer service, which improved the overall consumer journey.
5. Predict new trends
The job of all successful entrepreneurs is not only to stay up to date with the latest developments in customer relations but also to predict the forthcoming trends in this field.
Only the smartest and the most intuitive players have the chance to go one step ahead of their competitors, which is why it pays to invest time and effort into understanding how your customer analytics can inform your business strategy.
Fortunately, there is a whole bunch of relevant data coming from online traffic.
We already mentioned Google Analytics but if you want a deeper evaluation of customer behavior, you can try other tools like Brand24, Angoss Analytics, or Kissmetrics.
Once you become proficient in these tools, you will learn about the current state of customer relationships but you’ll also be able to discover new trends in that regard. Today, big data tools can help you to predict the habits of tomorrow’s consumers.
What you sell is not more important than the way you sell it. Successful companies learned this a long time ago, so they analyzed the behavior of their customers to provide them with insights into optimizing consumer journeys.
Applying some of the techniques that we described in this article, you’ll be on the right path to truly understand how your buyers think and act.
Floship Guest Post – About the Author
Amelia White is a marketing expert who specializes in the field of content creation. White enjoys being strategic when it comes to the creation of content marketing plans for her clients. You can find her on nsw-writers.
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