Every company’s success depends on understanding customers’ desires. In our modern era of big data and artificial intelligence, it may seem that technology holds the key to determining the best ways to engage customers. However, while these tools offer compelling statistics about behaviors and preferences, they do not necessarily provide a global view of how customers feel. Just as customers report greater satisfaction when service has a human touch, companies gain greater insight when they engage with customers personally. Here are five ways to better understand your customers and give them great experiences using both technology and personal contact.
Focus groups are an excellent way to build rapport with current and potential customers and hear honest feedback. Your company may choose to organize focus groups to test a new product, for example. In addition, you may hold events at retail locations or participate in trade shows for further engagement. Your brand may unveil new products and services at these events and offer free gifts to attendees. Focus groups and events are excellent for meeting prospective customers, satisfying current ones, and collecting valuable information about customer profiles and preferences that your marketing team can use for targeted communications.
When collecting information on your customers, always pay close attention to all demographic and ethnographic data. This may include customer ages, median income, geographic location, and even cultural identity. These statistics can offer tremendous insights about your target audience and help your brand create specific customer profiles. By defining a few key customer profiles, for example, your brand can create a customer journey map for each and determine the best ways to satisfy each person’s preferences. Be certain to clearly outline each customer’s likes, dislikes, and reason for purchase when creating their journey maps.
Sometimes, the best way to solicit raw feedback is by asking direct questions. Don’t be afraid of asking customers how they feel about your brand—critical responses can only help your company become stronger. On social media channels, for example, you may ask customers how they feel about a new product or service. Agents working on these channels should carefully monitor all comments, engaging with customers naturally and asking further questions if customers are critical in any way. Traditional surveys should also include free response sections that invite the customer to provide additional comments. Lastly, companies with retail locations should always ask for feedback in person. For example, an employee might ask customers upon leaving the store how they rate their visit. Another strategy is to demonstrate new products in-store, offering customers an opportunity to engage with employees and leave their feedback regarding the product.
Social media offers a wealth of information about your customers. Study their habits to determine which channels they use most frequently and at which times. Agents should work on these channels proactively, engaging customers in discussions while also responding to questions in a timely manner. Your brand should take note of all the comments on your social media channels, and listening tools can reveal other mentions of your brand across social platforms and the web.
Analyzing all data meticulously is essential to having a global view of your customers’ needs. Be sure to consider all kinds of data you have collected. For example, customer comments on review websites and blogs should not be neglected. Analytics regarding browsing habits on your website and keywords used to search for products on the site are especially useful for determining which webpages garner the most interest. Surveys and call transcripts likewise offer valuable information about your customers’ experiences with your company.
When collecting information about your customers, analyze both data and direct feedback. A combination of engaging with them personally and studying their habits is key to understanding how to serve them best.