Without customers, there can be no growth. However, while customers are one of the most vital assets for your business, they are also the most volatile asset. Customers are quick to make or break a business idea. Their choice to follow your brand or not could make a huge difference in terms of business survival.
Unfortunately, there is no certainty with your customers. It’s essential to understand that even though you might have earned their trust yesterday, there’s no guarantee that they’ll want to stay with you tomorrow. As a result, no company can afford to neglect customer care strategies. Contrary to common belief, a talented customer service team can only help you so much when it comes to retention. People want to feel understood and appreciated by their brand of choice. This requires a strategic move from the organisation to put customer knowledge and understanding at the heart of all processes. As a company, you want to be able to answer one crucial question about your customers: What do they want? Yet, if you’re going to address this question, you need to ensure that you can confidently say that you are doing everything in your power to understand your buyers. Are you doing everything you can to boost your customers’ understanding?
- By collecting data where it matters
What data collecting tools do you use? Most websites tend to rely on Google Analytics for web traffic statistics. But depending on your industry sector and your channels of choices, you could also be using MixPanel – a tool that tracks valuable events across websites, mobile apps, and even products –, MailChimp for your newsletters, Hootsuite for social media, KISSmetrics, Crazy Egg, etc. Additionally, if you have in-store devices, such as a tablet where shoppers can sign in, these data will also be captured. As much as data analysis can help to draw a picture of your customers interactions, multiple and complex data sources can be complex to decipher. When you’re juggling with a lot of metrics, visual analytics will help avoid confusion. Indeed, a lot of marketing tools tend to report on a wide variety of metrics simultaneously, which can be confusing. Combining your data sources into manageable and digestible graphs will make a difference.
- By talking with them
Do you know where your customers struggle or what they are looking for? Data can provide a breakdown of their interactions, but it doesn’t give you access to their thoughts and desires. On the other hand, an online chatbot can allow you to not only deliver an omnichannel customer experience but also get to talk with your customers. A bot can address queries and maintain the conversation naturally. But, what you may not realize is that you can also use your chat logs as a source of information about the customers. It’s a great way to identify trends before they even become a thing and spotting recurring issues that need fixing.
- By monitoring the market
There are many other approaches to see and recognise trends, as these will determine where your customers are going next. The last thing a company wants is to identify trends too late, by which point customers have already turned to the competitors. Market research is crucial to spot significant changes that can affect your position. These could be new technological innovations, political or economical changes, relevant legislations that can affect production, social moods, environmental concerns, etc. Additionally, it can be a good idea to use a tool such as Market Explorer, which makes trend spotting more convenient. The tool identifies four types of market players in their growth quadrant based on traffic volume and traffic growth for their domain. Established players, for instance, have a steady high traffic volume but low growth rate. On the other hand, game-changers can potentially become the leaders of tomorrow as they have a low traffic volume but a very high growth rate. You can use the tool to monitor your competitors and act upon trends before it’s too late.
- By introducing psychology
Every marketing strategy needs to rely on basic behavioural psychology to maximise the customer experience. Therefore, most marketers need to understand the behavioural drivers that can influence customers’ actions. For example, if a company wants to increase trustworthiness, it can encourage context-related interactions, such as playing French music in a wine shop to increase sales for French wines. However, you can also reverse the psychological references to identify the trigger behind some of their actions. Could your customers be preferring one product because the context of your website or boutique encourages them to do so?
- By asking them directly
There is no secret. If you are unsure about your customers’ opinions, the easier and quickest way to find out what they think is to ask them. Market surveys and customer surveys may be time-consuming, but they are also highly effective in getting to know your customers. However, you need to pick your timing right. If you use a pop-up form to run a customer survey online, people are more likely to provide quick and inaccurate answers to make the popup go away. Indeed, you can’t acquire information through disruption. Surveys should ideally come with an incentive and the option to fill them up at a later time so that your customers are more likely to engage with them when they are ready.
- By putting yourself in their shoes
You may not be a customer, but you can imagine how you would feel if you were them. In the current situation, people are suffering from pandemic stress. Many have chosen to self-isolate whenever possible, while others are worried about covid-safe precautions in their day-to-day life and work. Virtual workplaces and shopping are taking over to reduce physical contact. Therefore, as a business, you may want to think of how you could make things better for your customers. This could be through making returns and exchange easier, for instance. Alternatively, you could also consider offering digital services that can help them troubleshoot their issues without needing to go to a physical shop.
The eternal quest of meeting your customers’ expectations begins with the process of developing your understanding of the audience. Buyers and prospects have many ways of sharing their needs and desires, which you can spot through data analysis, market surveys, psychology reversal, or even chat logs. The better you understand what your customers want, the more relevant you can become to them.