Part 2: Understand Me
In our second installment of our thought leadership series, Loyalty Iceberg: Creating Human-Centered Experiences, Clutch turns to the second element of customer expectations: Understanding.
It’s one thing to be recognized, but it’s quite another to be understood. Until a company understands its customers, it has no idea what they want, what they need, or what makes them tick… and making a sale to this stranger with unknown motivations is nothing more than a lucky accident, most importantly – it’s hard to duplicate. For those who seek to understand their customers, and reap the benefits of this understanding), we offer the following tips:
- Start with a persona… The first step toward understanding your customers as individuals is to know them as an abstract as a customer persona, an avatar of a customer type. As a recent Forbes article noted, a handful of personas can help you solidify a wide range of customer types. Once customer persona, or personas, are created you have the basis for determining the individual members of the persona’s motivations, goals and needs.
- … and end with a person. While a persona is a great first step to gaining insight into your customers, the journey towards customer knowledge should not end there. While an individual shopper may have many of the characteristics of the persona of say, “NASCAR dad” or “soccer mom,” this is a generalization, not an identity. According to Forbes they attempt to “put one face on something that actually represented a large group of unique individuals.” So, while the persona is useful in segmenting your customer base to get a handle on individuals, it needs to be followed up with further analysis of habits, behavior and preferences to give flesh and bones to the marketing equivalent of a stick figure.
- I shop, therefore I am. We all reveal ourselves in our shopping habits. A recent research study found that it’s possible to predict people’s personalities from their spending, including insights into the “big 5” personality traits (openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism) simply by seeing what people purchased. You already know what your customers are buying – why not use that information to gain a little insight into who is the person behind the purchase?
- Offer free Wi-Fi. With nearly 60 percent of shoppers regularly looking up product information and prices on mobile phones while in stores, providing the comparison shoppers a free venue to do so provides valuable insight into your customers… and your competition. Even better, if you use a social media outlet such as Facebook for a login to your branded Wi-Fi service, your company is able to learn valuable customer data, including a verified identity, public profile information and email address – all the better to plug into a CRM for analysis.
- Just ask. Sam Walton, the richest man in America, has been known to stand outside the parking lot of the local Walmart and ask customers what they thought of the store. And customers would let him know what they thought. While not many store managers (or billionaire CEOs) have the time or inclination to lurk around outside their stores to see how things are going, that doesn’t mean you can’t create a quick online survey or send out a text with a couple of questions to discover a little more about the people who pay to keep the lights on.
Wrapping up, it’s important to note that anyone can make a sale, at least once. But if you want to make a second sale, and a third, and a fourth, you need to know the person you’re selling to: what makes her smile, what makes him angry, what makes them tick, to eventually lead them to the most important question: what can make them care.
Up Next: Part 3: Embrace Me