How to know your customers better (and why it matters)

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You’ll have customers. You might have them logged in a CRM system. Name, address, email, customer type, products purchased. But do you know them? In this post, I’ll explain how you can get to know your valuable customers better. And why this will help you grow your business.

So, why does it matter?

Whether you have one customer or 1,000, they’re all people. They have needs and wants. Frustrations and challenges. They do things in certain ways. Aspire to particular outcomes. And all this really does matter.

Imagine you’re dealing with your customer face-to-face (sometimes you will be). The ideal conversation will give you the opportunity to learn as much as you can about them. Then you can tailor your approach to their style and their priorities. In fact, you’ll aim to create a message that they will actually “get”. Right there and then.

You want to achieve the same on your website, in your brochure and across social media. But when you have 1,000 customers, it’s harder. Yet, the value of working towards this is huge.

The more you know about your customers (and your prospective customers) the clearer your message becomes. You can use language that they understand, explain how you can solve their pain points and truly understand where your product or service sits in their daily life.

In short, knowing your customers better (and using this information effectively) means they’ll hear what you’re saying more clearly. The result? More sales and a stride ahead of your competition.

One-to-one conversations

Whether it’s face-to-face, over the phone or online chat, a direct conversation will always bring value. And it’s important that you have systems in place to collect this intelligence.

Sales people are the obvious choice when you think about talking to customers. But there are other touch-points to embrace too. Perhaps your customer service team deal with order queries? And what about complaints? They’re a great opportunity to understand what matters.

It’s common that all this important customer intelligence becomes very fragmented. Overlooked. Quickly forgotten. Review your systems and install procedures to collect key learning points from these one-to-one conversations.

What are the key points? Well, that depends on what you’re trying to understand. Put a list of learnings together and pick your top three. Communicate this to your team and start from there.

Talk to them about their purchase

Customers always have an opinion. You’ve just got to ask. And yes, we now get far too many “feedback surveys” land in our inbox, so think carefully about how your communication can stand out.

Perhaps a reply-paid card in the delivery box would be better? Or a quick phone call if it’s a larger purchase? Don’t make it too daunting or they’ll be turned off.

There’s plenty of tech to use for post-purchase feedback. Feefo and TrustPilot are just two names. But the principle is not just for the big spenders. A simple “how did we do?” email can be a powerful tool.

Ongoing satisfaction surveys

Yep, we’ve all heard of SurveyMonkey. That’s certainly one way. Play the numbers game and ask them to tick some boxes. Sometimes it’s the right method. Another, which I certainly prefer for larger spend items, is to pick up the phone. But think about who is best to do that. The answer is not always someone in your team.

A customer is more likely to be honest about their feelings to someone that is not directly involved. Think about it. You moan about your other half to your friend – not to your other half!

I’ve carried out many bespoke customer satisfaction surveys for clients, gaining an insight that only an “outsider” could. Such a process also takes the strain out of your working day too.

Places to listen and learn

Social media is a great place to listen. Yes, listen! Not post. Your customers are out there and they’re talking. If you can find them (individually or collectively) and hear what they’re talking about, you’ll gain some valuable insight. Plus, you’ll appreciate the type of language they’re using. All useful stuff when you want to better target your message to them.

Amazon reviews? A goldmine of feedback. And if you don’t sell on Amazon, look for similar products to understand what people are saying. Whilst you’re at it, check out testimonials that your competitors highlight, or Google reviews amongst your industry.

Events and exhibitions are great places to do some listening. Just make sure that the information gained is fed back to the team and not simply stored in a colleague’s head.

Customer research

Have you thought about arranging an afternoon or evening for a handful of your customers, and just talking to them? Organise some decent refreshments, give them an insight into some new products, ask them what they think of a few things. Then send them home with something nice.

Customers love to talk.

If you don’t fancy getting that personal, take some time to learn more about them. Targeting young mums? Find out what they’re talking about in online forums. Selling to a certain industry? Identify the companies online and learn about them. Look for industry discussion; research, statistics and trends. Find relevant groups on LinkedIn.

Create a character profile of your typical customer. Do this from facts, not assumptions.

Working to truly know your customers should be a regular part of your marketing. It’s a constant process. There will always be more questions than answers. But the more you ask, the greater your understanding of their needs, their challenges and how you can really add value to their lives.

And this stuff is gold to you! When you apply this knowledge to your marketing communication, you’ll see the true commercial value. You’ll have happier customers too.

Need a hand? Just get in touch and we can talk.