The importance of knowing your customers

10April

The importance of knowing your customers

The most basic step to being successful in business is producing goods and services that your customers want and like.  The best way to achieve this is to understand what drives your customers and what needs they have that your products and services can address.  Knowing your customers is one of the most important foundation steps of the marketing process and can benefit many areas of your business including increasing your conversion rate and improving your brand.

While many companies tend to focus their efforts on getting to know prospective customers, current ones are equally important – everyone knows it’s less expensive to keep an existing customer than to get a new one.

So, how do you get to know your customers better?  Here are five key ways to build up your customer knowledge.

Don’t Make Assumptions

Business owners often make unconscious assumptions about their customers.  Assuming you know what your customers want or how they experience your business is a dangerous trap to fall into.

Take a step back and get objective opinions on key areas including:

  • Customer needs – you may think you know what your customers need but are you right?
  • Your website – how easy it is to navigate and find important information?
  • Customer service – how long does it take to get in touch with a specific department? How long does it take for someone to return your call? Are customers greeted when they enter your store?  Are your staff friendly and helpful?

Ask

The easiest way to find out more about your customers is to simply ask them.  By asking customers ‘why’ as well as ‘how’ you can gain valuable insights and find new opportunities to help you stand out from the competition.    This can be done through a simple question about customer experience at point of purchase, online surveys or research projects conducted by a marketing expert.

Use Social Media

A social media account (or accounts) is a non-negotiable for any business.  They give you a direct line of communication to both current and prospective customers. You can find out more about their preferences through their likes and comments. And most importantly, you can establish a solid relationship that feels personal (which is becoming more and more expected in the age of digital communication).  Additionally, all of the main social platforms have access to a huge range of data on their users and can provide valuable insights on likes, dislikes, interests, habits and purchases.

Create Customer Profiles

Every one of your current customers has unique purchasing habits and preferences.  By tracking these and getting regular feedback, you will have a wealth of information available to better target and engage different segments of your database.  For example, you could tailor your communications with different incentives for frequent, high value customers and lapsed customers you are trying to reactivate.

For prospective customers, building a customer persona can be a helpful way to ensure products and marketing efforts are targeted correctly.  Customer personas are fictional characters used to represent a typical consumer of your product or service.   For a customer persona to be effective, it needs to cover all the key demographics and other important information including likes, dislikes, lifestyle factors and media habits.

Organise Your Data

It’s no good having a vast amount of customer data available if it isn’t organised.  Data needs to be structured in a way that allows you to easily glean valuable insights.  This may mean investing in and implementing new processes or systems.  It may seem expensive at the beginning but in the long run, the investment will be more than worth it when you have an intimate understanding of what makes your customers tick.

If you would like put more emphasis on knowing your customers better but are not sure where to start, contact us here at Energise to find out how we can help.  We specialise in customer insights and industry research which are essential for any business looking to find their competitive edge.

Business Plus April 2019

NB: This article was published in the EMA “Business Plus” magazine. Enterprises of all types and sizes join the Employers and Manufacturers Association, for opportunities to learn and grow, make valuable business connections and change the world. EMA provides its members with professional advice and training to succeed in many aspects of business.

Posted by @energise