If you don’t know your customer intimately, respond to their feedback and meet their needs, you put yourself at risk of becoming irrelevant and being leapfrogged by your competitors. Here are some of my favorite customer insight methods and tools to harvest customer insights.
11 WAYS TO GET TO KNOW YOUR CUSTOMER
Notes: Some of these can be used for a standalone project and some are entire disciplines unto themselves. Whether you are working on a project or trying to make “customer” an organizational competency, use a mix of qualitative & quantitative methods.
- Customer Journey Mapping – By analyzing the steps your customer takes to purchase and use your product, you can identify points to improve the experience.
- Customer Job Mapping – Change your perspective. Sometimes we fall into the trap of assuming we’ve got the right product and features for customers. Avoid the trap, look at it from their eyes. Understand the jobs they’re trying to get done in order to know whether or not your product is getting the job done. This can help you identify new products, features, services and even businesses.
- Customer Effort Reduction – “Stop trying to delight your customers.” Research shows that, in a service interaction, what really matters is how much effort a customer has to invest in the process.
- Customer Segmentation – Using a combination of behavioral and attitudinal data – both qualitative & quantitative – identify customer segments who have different needs. Each customer segment is an opportunity for new or tailored services, products and marketing.
- Customer Personas – Turn your customer segments into personas that people can relate to. Make your customer segments come alive. Use the profiles to help write project briefs, use them to evaluate work in progress before testing.
- Observational Research & Ethnography – To REALLY understand your customers and perceive their needs, go native. Invest in studying your customers. Applying those insights can help you develop products that people really feel were made for them. The process can also help you stumble upon that holy grail, the “unmet need.”
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Dashboard – Get the benefit from using a CRM system. Identify and monitor the metrics that indicate macro trends in your customer lifecycles. For instance: Use it to get a read on growth trends for customer segments, use it to understand whether customer issues are systemic or localized.
- Touch Point Mapping – Across the customer lifecycle, understand the key drivers of satisfaction
- Feedback Analysis – Complaints & Compliments – Even if you don’t have sophisticated systems in place to gather and track feedback, you most likely still have resources dedicated to feedback. Make the most of this information. Track the trends on a relevant time frame – weekly, monthly, quarterly. Publish them across the business. Create rewards for reducing or eliminating the top complaints and for increasing the compliments. Set up projects focused on key pain points and improvements that require resources beyond what a single team can muster.
- Social Media Listening – This data is growing every day, and it’s free. Like your feedback analysis, make this a part of your day-to-day tracking of your customer experience. Provide customers easy and accessible ways to provide feedback on your products and services online, and make sure you have plans in place to respond to major criticisms.
- Big Data – Underneath all the comments is an ocean of data about what customers ACTUALLY do – where they click, what they purchase, what their habits are. Choose specific questions about online customer behavior, and start mining your data. Some companies build teams, others hire experts.