According to Forrester's 2021 Global Marketing Survey, 56% of marketing leaders believe that improving the customers' experience is key to their business strategies over the next two years.
However, Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) and other top-level decision-makers are still losing sight of the pre-and post-sale customer engagement practices. One of the biggest challenges they face is the lack of a better understanding of the customer. It's a significant problem since the benefits of knowing your customer make you more likely to achieve core business goals.
This article explains why you should understand your customers better, how to go about it, and how Inkit can help you.
Why Should Businesses Understand Their Customers?
Why does a business need to understand customer needs? As a business owner, you know that your customers are at the heart of your company. Without them, no one would buy your products or services. You also understand that one size does not fit all. That is why understanding your customers is so important.
It's natural to want to focus on your own business, but the most successful companies are those who understand their customers - their wants, needs, behaviors, and pain points. By gaining insights into who they are and what they need, you can better serve them and build stronger relationships.
96% of customers will leave your business because of bad service. Many will share their experiences with friends discouraging other potential customers from joining you. It again proves the importance of customer understanding.
Here's how to know what your customers want – learn about their expectations and past experiences. For many customers, negative experiences include (but are not limited to):
- Bad customer service
- Cumbersome buyer's journey
- Hard-to-find or lack of service information
- Overpriced services
- Poor quality services
- Lack of satisfaction
News about bad experiences spread fast in this social media age. A single customer may share their story with thousands of other customers in a single post. In the same way, good experiences spread even faster.
So, one satisfied customer can become a loyal and valued marketing asset.
But how can a business understand their customers to satisfy their needs and encourage them to stay loyal to the brand? That's where the voice-of-customer (VOC) comes in.
What Is The Voice Of The Customer?
Simply put, the voice of the customer refers to your customers' feedback, complaints, needs, demands, views, and opinions after using your products and services. You must get to know your customers to hear them.
Suppose you launch a survey to determine what your customers require from your services to enhance their experience. In that case, you may come across frequently used words such as 'quicker,’ 'cheaper,’ and 'better.’ Such valuable feedback points directly at what they need from you, and by offering what they want, your business stands out from the competition. Thanks to this, customers are more likely to keep coming back for a long time.
Look to get a holistic and comprehensive understanding of your consumers' needs. Go for every little piece of actionable feedback, including their preferences, problems, complaints, and wishes.
You can also seek answers to these questions:
- What do my customer and market need?
- How do they satisfy these needs?
- What challenges do they currently face?
- What do they say about their experience with my business compared to my competitors?
Finding the answers to these questions provides a clear picture of what your customers want. This way, you can channel your efforts towards developing products and services designed to meet their needs. It saves you time and money that would have gone to waste.
Four Ways to Enhance Customer Understanding
One way to gain insights into your customer's needs is by asking for feedback through email surveys or social media polls. This reveals how happy they are with your service or products or if they've noticed any improvements you've made recently. You'll get valuable insight into what the customer thinks about their experience so you can make necessary changes.
Here are other tips on how to find out what your customers want:
1. Employ Innovative Customer Engagement
Businesses have multiple touchpoints with customers. Try to engage your customers in real-time conversations via call, text, or email. Nowadays, many text tools integrate with your website, allowing live chats with customers as they browse your website.
With their contributions and answers to your questions, you can get an idea of how to better understand customer needs. Don't underestimate your customer service team. Instead, work with them and look for common complaints, issues, or suggestions from past reports and work toward optimizing your services.
Be sure to create a customer feedback strategy to collect opinions. Focus on getting unbiased, genuine feedback no matter how bad it sounds. Don't be afraid to get your feelings hurt.
Lastly, ask simple questions, e.g., 'How can we improve our product/service?' You'll be surprised by how much valuable feedback you can obtain from customers this way.
2. Obtain Valuable Data From Customer Analytics
Monitoring a buyer's journey is a big eye-opener for better customer understanding.
Your teams can collect tons of valuable metrics from the first customers' click to the checkout.
Use analytics tools such as Google Analytics to monitor user activities, viewed pages, duration, bounce rate, and other metrics.
For example, if users spend a fraction of a second on your pages and leave, you might want to analyze the content on that page and optimize it. If they spend enough time, find out what they're looking for and try to offer it.
If too many users leave without action, check your sales page to ensure your interface is user-friendly.
3. Think Ahead Of Your Customers
Your customer service team is the bridge between your brand and consumers. By now, they should know how to understand customer expectations and translate them into a language other teams can understand.
To ensure your predictions are correct, employ predictive modeling software. You can also anticipate your customers' needs by looking at past data to identify seasonal patterns and trends.
A critical look at your customers' data over time will tell you which features they need most during particular times, what areas they're from, and their general demographics. This information will help improve content strategies by providing topics people ask about more often or including new features based on the anticipated demands.
4. Walk Your Customer's Journey
Experiencing your customer's journey firsthand will help you relate to their problems and experiences with your brand. You can achieve this through customer journey mapping (e.g., develop a comprehensive illustration of a user's journey as a graph). The representation often includes the relations between a customer and your business from pre- to post-sale.
Find answers to questions like, who is your customer, why they contacted your business, why users reach out but don't follow through with the process, or why a loyal customer suddenly stopped visiting.
Get your team in-house to participate in the brainstorming session for quality ideas.
You may then come up with plans to contact these customers via calls, email, print communications, or virtual meetings to better understand what may have gone wrong.
Increasing Customer Reach With Inkit's Products
Inkit is a powerful reach enablement platform with products for automating customer communications.
With Inkit Render, you can generate and process millions of secure PDFs to deliver documents to your customers. Inkit Verify instantly verifies and autocompletes customer addresses online for accurate mailings. Inkit Send automatically delivers direct mail and other types of print customer communication with a simple API request.
By combining these products, you can considerably enhance your customer relationships and tailor them to customers' needs.