It’s one thing to track down who your customers are, but it’s another to find out how they feel about you. You would think they’d be open to giving you feedback, especially if it has to do with criticism, but only one out of 26 customers is likely to complain. So how exactly do you go about collecting accurate customer insight, and what should you look for?
Why you need a customer insight strategy
Understanding your customers and their behaviour is crucial to sustaining and growing your business. You need to know how they feel, what they need, who they are and what they like or dislike about your brand. Alongside knowing what they are doing, customer insights will tell you why they are doing it. Instead of assuming what your customers want, get them to tell you and use that strategically to your advantage.
Learn more about customer insights with these five steps:
#1 Identify your objectives
Before you start, you need to establish a focus area. What do you want your customer insight strategy to accomplish? Why are you looking at customer insights in the first place? Talk to each of your teams and get a list of their main objectives with clear timelines on when they expect these priorities to be met. Now decide which of these to highlight as a company.
Defining tight business objectives before you start will ensure that you implement your customer insights towards adding value to your business.
#2 Work with a timeline
The key to a successful project is setting a deadline and sticking to it. You’re going to be spending time, money and resources on collecting this data, so set realistic targets with achievable deadlines for each. Ask yourself:
- How much time will be spent on this?
- When will the customer insights be analysed and by whom?
- When will the stakeholders be informed of the data collected?
- When will these insights be acted upon?
Businesses go through cycles of slow periods and other internal and external barriers. As we’ve experienced in recent times, you need to be able to set practical timelines with room for flexibility to account for any unexpected setbacks.
#3 Define your target and map their journey
Who are you targeting for their insights? Go back to your original objectives and get ready to do some digging. Look for patterns in your customer’s purchases along with intent. For example, if you are selling make-up both online and in-store, look at different customer personas based on each one’s motivation. Does the customer prefer to make their first purchase in person, and then continue shopping online? Was it a one-time purchase? Do they stock up regularly? Was it a gift for someone else? Decide who to target and focus on.
It’s not just about the customers who convert. Go out and speak to the window shoppers. Look for people who add an item to cart but don’t check out – that’s a whopping 83% of customers. Find out why they aren’t going through with a purchase and what you can do to change their mind.
Plot out your customers’ journey to easily spot gaps or blind spots that you can fix along the way. Starting from the initial point of contact right through to purchase and loyalty, identifying and mending your customer’s frustration at each stage will ensure a smoother journey in the future.
#4 Collect your data
You now have your goals and who you need to target. It’s time to start collecting your customer insight. Have a good balance of quantitative and qualitative data to give you the most rounded picture of things. Answer important questions like who/what/where/when/how many to get large chunks of quantitative input quickly.
Dig deeper with ‘why’ and ‘how’ to give context and motivation for their behaviour and obtain qualitative data. Combining both methods of data collection will give you a more holistic view of your customers’ insights.
#5 Interpret and put it in action
You’ve now collected your customer insights, so it’s time to make sense of it all and implement them proficiently. Don’t forget to thank your customers for their helpful feedback. This will acknowledge that you recognise and value what they had to say.
As Neil Patel advises, you can make both the positive and negative work for you. Ultimately, your goal is to retain and obtain customers, so putting weaker areas at the forefront will help you narrow down what to start with. Categories the insights according to patterns and start actioning them one by one. Translate each item into a task and delegate them across your teams with clear deadlines for each. Once you fix something, you can always follow up with that customer and let them know!
Knowing your customers better and getting an insight into their behavior gives you more opportunity to keep them happy. And happy customers mean better business for you. Remember, you can repeat this exercise during different periods of your business cycle and find other aspects to improve on.