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5 Tips for Understanding Your Customer’s Behavior
Learn how to read your customers for greater sales success
Completely understanding your customers is the key to an organization’s success. Who are they? What are their hobbies? What do they spend their time doing? What motivates them to buy? It’s not just about knowing their demographics, but anticipating their needs in order to continue to provide value – both in your products or services and in delivering the ideal customer experience.
If organizations know it’s important to understand their customers, why don’t more of them do it? Simply put, it can oftentimes be uncomfortable and extremely time-intensive. Your customer’s needs change daily, so in order to truly understand them, you must never stop trying to learn more about them.
But when done, and done well, gaining these behavioral insights can prove invaluable to your business’ success. We’ve outline ways to get started understanding your customers.
The first step to understanding your customers is defining them
Even if you think you already know who your customers are, check the data. Dissect the predominant age groups, gender, location, and any other information you’ve collected in the past. Then, develop customer personas based on that information. Be specific about who the person is, almost as if you’re making up the history of the customers you’ve already interacted with.
Age and gender will not suffice. Dig deep into what their education history might be, their occupation, if they’re single or have a family, what they do on the weekends, or what their hobbies are. Once you’ve created two or three personas, you can get a better idea of who they are and develop targeted messaging that will resonate with each individual persona.
Try to take a walk in your customer’s shoes
This step requires you to really get into the weeds. Become your ideal customer and go through the sales process – both from doing business with your organization and by visiting a competitor. Experience the sales process as your customer would. This will not only give you insight into how you could simplify the sales process but what might be going through your customer’s mind from the beginning to the end of the sale. Are there opportunities for them to back out or get frustrated? Does your competitor make anything easier for the customer that you don’t? You might find that your sales process is more for an older generation, while your core customer base is made up of millennials, which could require you to make changes.
There is no way you won’t come up with some key takeaways by playing the hidden shopper.
Directly ask your customers for feedback
This might seem obvious, but many business owners skip this step – whether because they don’t want to be so transparent with their customers or they think there is another way to capture this information. In reality, there is no greater insight into who your customers are than the feedback you get from your customers.
There are a few different ways you can ask for this information. If you have a decent email list of your customers, you might want to send them a quick Google form to fill out. Offer a giveaway or incentive that one lucky respondent will receive to encourage them to complete it. You can also provide this survey in hard-copy form in-store and provide a coupon in exchange for their response.
Other options for capturing this information include seeking out your favorite or most loyal customers and personally asking them for a few minutes of their time to share their feedback, or hosting a small event – like a wine-tasting or luncheon – which can encourage more organic conversation and allow your customers to share their experiences and feed off one another.
Whatever method you choose to collect these consumer insights, be sure your questions are simple but open-ended and encourage specific examples and behaviors. Your questions can range from who they are to why they buy and any challenges they’ve faced along the sales cycle – whether from you or your competitors.
Don’t stop asking
Just because you’ve asked once, doesn’t mean you’re done asking. Society changes, your business’s needs change, and so do your customer’s. Be sure to elicit feedback from your customers on an annual basis to ensure that your business’s priorities are always aligned with your customer’s needs. It can be the same customers or new ones, as long as you are continuously innovating your processes on behalf of these consumer insights.
Seek consultation on how to leverage the data you’ve collected
You’ve collected the behavioral insights on your customers, now what do you do with it? There might be some obvious steps you can take, while others are less evident. At this stage, it might be helpful to consider consulting an objective third party who is not as close to the data and can help you determine how to best leverage the information you’ve collected.
That’s where we come in. At AHA! Business Consulting, we provide you with the tools needed to streamline and improve the effectiveness of your business processes through customized and simple solutions that will engage your team. Contact us today to learn how we can help you better understand your customers and streamline your sales process to maximize success.