Fortunately, even the smallest business with a shoestring budget can learn to do so. The tips below provide a good starting point for any company that wishes it could somehow get into the minds of the customer to figure out what they really want.
Track customer behaviour in real time
Customers expect a seamless experience whether they shop in person or online. One way businesses can meet this expectation is to take a proactive approach to understanding its customers. That means knowing and anticipating the needs of each customer regardless of the platforms he or she chooses to access.
Since it’s impossible to read customers’ minds, the next best thing is to invest in an analytics program. This is typically available with customer relationship management (CRM) software.
Tracking individual responses to emails with CRM is just one example. The analytics typically available include:
- Total emails sent vs. total attempted to send
- Total emails opened or viewed
- Number of people who clicked a link in the email
- Number of bounced or invalid emails
- Number of people who unsubscribed after receiving the email
This data helps businesses gain a better understanding of the likes and dislikes of customers and respond accordingly.
Invest in market research before building a brand
Customers identify with brands, but companies must know what they expect from a brand before developing one for the first time. Market research helps with this. Companies can use the data gathered to build a customer persona, an exercise that brings better insight into the entire customer base.
May companies falter because of inaccurate misconceptions about their customers’ needs and preferences with actually doing the research to validate them. For example, one 2018 report revealed that supposedly technology-averse baby boomers are actually more likely than millennials to expect benefits from chatbots.
It’s also important to pay attention to post-purchase survey results. Customers often provide their occupation, interests, and details about types of products or services they might require in the future. Companies can use this data to create more targeted and effective marketing campaigns in the future.
Don’t lump all customers together in one group
Generic marketing campaigns or cross-selling attempts are rarely effective. Dividing the customer base into groups with similar characteristics will yield better results. For example, one group might be people who make frequent purchases while another group could be those who make infrequent purchases but spend more per transaction. This exercise makes it easier to create personalized, targeted ads as well as cross-sell to the members of each group.
Provide excellent customer experience and service to earn repeat business
A business should always strive to give exemplary service to its customers. This is especially important after receiving feedback about one or more problem areas. By getting to know the customer through surveys and reviews, companies come to understand what they expect and can deliver exactly that.
When service expectations fall short from the customer’s perspective, successful companies use it as a learning opportunity rather than anyone in the organization feeling defensive about it. A recent Salesforce presentation titled, ‘How to Know Your Customer: A Look into the Future of Customer Experience,’ offers the following statistic:
“Some 84% of customers say the experience a company provides is as important as it’s products or services, up 4% from 2018.”
The most important thing for businesses looking to know customers better is to not give up when one strategy brings disappointing results. It just means there’s more opportunity to work hard to ultimately delight customers and keep them coming back.