In this post I’m sharing some simple, effective tips to help you get inside the minds of the most important people in your business… your customers!
Understanding your customer is vital
Understanding your customers sounds like common sense. Everyone knows they SHOULD do it… but few know WHY or HOW! So here’s some pointers to get you started.
Having a good understanding of who your clients are and what they need means you can deliver a product/service more closely aligned with those needs. This means sales are more easily made (prospects feel as though your solution was made just for them) and customers stay for longer. Advertising for new customers is MUCH more expensive than selling to your existing customers, so happier customers directly results in more money in your pocket.
Happier customers staying with you for longer means a better reputation, more repeat business and more (free) referrals. All good, right?
Understanding your customer means you have valuable insight which will help you make informed decisions and improve not only your products and sales, but also your marketing strategies, content and customer service!
Customer insight is a great idea in theory… but how can you GET it in practice?
Here are some tips to get you started:
- Ask your customers directly: What do they want? do they want a problem solved, an answer to a question, a particular product?
- Ask yourself: Why are your customers interested in your business, what are their objectives, what information do they find hard to find? What makes them choose a competitor over you… or vice versa?
- Use your website: Include a query form with a call to action like ‘Ask our Experts’, or install a search box and track what people are searching for
- Use Google Analytics to find exactly what terms visitors to your site are searching for when they come across your site
- Use social media to gather information directly and interact with your customers on a personal level (this is a form of qualitative research)
- Use surveys and polls to get customer feedback both before and after a sale
- Pay attention to comments on your blog posts, they can tell you a lot about your customers opinions, likes/dislikes and (most importantly) what they WANT but haven’t found yet
- Keep current and research trends to be aware of how your business may need to evolve to meet the needs of your customers (TrendWatching, Springwise and TrendHunter are great resources)
- Listen to customer compliments and complaints and look for patterns (if you want to get super-advanced, automatically analyze the most common words submitted via your inquiry forms or help desk)
Remember: Understanding your customer means that you can create products and services that meet not only their current needs, but also their evolving and future needs. This helps you keep on trend and helps you develop a long term, loyal customer base
So use the easy practical tips and invest the effort to get better acquainted with your customers. If you care about them and look after their needs better than your competitors, they’ll return the favor by buying your products, enrolling on your courses, signing up for your services and (very powerful) they’ll want to share your business with their friends and colleagues!