How to Learn What Really Matters to your Customers
Seven Ways to Listen and How to Go about It
How to learn what really matters to your customers
The needs and wants of your customers impact every aspect of your business from product development to content marketing and from sales to customer service. You need to learn from your customers and adapt strategies based on what you’ve learned. Learning about and from your customers isn’t always easy, and requires a commitment to continual observation. You need to really listen to your customers.
1. Learn your demographics
You will be pleasantly surprised to see how much you can gain by learning more about the demographic profile of your target customer. This tells you about your market, who lives in the community, and the broad profile of your customer base. The Census Bureau, Consumer Expenditures Survey, and other government web sites have a wealth of information you can directly access. When it comes to a more detailed understanding, custom tabulations may be the way to go. We can provide detailed demographic and expenditure profiles for your target customers. We even have a specialty geodemographic system, EurekaFacts Segmentos, which is a profile of US Latino communities.
2. Observe your customers
Direct observation is a great way to see how people use or interact with your product, service, or program and in the environment where they normally are. This can be enlightening when you are working towards understanding the customer journey and how to enhance it. In some instances, direct observation is simple. In others, and especially when you need systematic observation, you may want to engage some help. Our team of ethnographic researchers has expertise in conducting these efforts effectively and for a fraction of what it would cost for you and your team to go through the learning curve on direct observation.
3. Co-create the experience
Invite your team and your customers to help shape the experience you want to deliver. There are several techniques for this including design thinking. Design thinking is a rapid iteration process from the perspective of the customer that can identify areas for improvement in the experience you want to deliver. There are great design thinking resources at Stanford University d. school.
You can learn a lot through design thinking by putting yourself in the shoes of your customers, but sometimes this only takes you so far. You may also want to engage customers and users of your product, program or service. At EurekaFacts, we have a team ready to recruit from your current or prospective customers, so you can have them be a part of your experience development team. We also have spaces configured specifically for ideation and co-creation collaboratives, and our staff can help coordinate logistics and even facilitate if needed. And our facilities are conveniently located in the Washington, DC metro region.
4. Listen to what is being said on social media
Social listening can be a source of great insight. Social listening is putting into action what you learn from what people say online. After you monitor social media channels for mentions of your brand, competitors, product, and any keywords relevant to your business, you need to analyze the data points you gathered and put what you learned into action. Taking action may mean something as simple as responding to a happy customer or something as huge as shifting your overall brand positioning.
5. Test the user experience and intuitiveness of your user interactions
Conducting a systematic analysis of the way in which users interact with your communications, web site, and apps can reveal the little (or large) things that make a difference. Our usability testing teams examine three key aspects of the user experience:
- how users progress on the tasks they complete during testing
- how users perceive, interpret and respond to interacting with you (i.e., cognitive processes)
- how every step impacts how users feel
6. Get to the why
A facilitated discussion with your customers, decision-makers, and purchase influencers allows you to gain deep insight into their perspectives. Market research lets you know the what and customer insights let you know the why. Market research systematically gathers information about your customers. Customer insight takes the gathered information and enables you to understand why your customers behave the way they do with your brand. At EurekaFacts, we have brought together all the resources necessary to swiftly conduct qualitative research sessions online or in-person in key markets throughout the US and Latin America.
7. Ask your customers
While there are many sources of data to help you shape and manage your brand and programs, you ultimately have questions that are unique. For this purpose, conducting a survey of customers or prospective customers gets you the right information. While many do it yourself (DIY) survey platforms exist, be careful to make sure your survey has:
- questions that are well-structured and free of bias
- questions similarly understood by your target audience
- proper analysis of resulting data
Much like having access to Word and Grammarly does not turn someone into a professional writer, consider the value of engaging the right survey methodologist to assist. At EurekaFacts, we partner with you and are here to help with your survey needs.
Really listening to your customers has its challenges, but the rewards for knowing more about them is great. It can inform your strategic plan, your marketing, and your customer service. Each of these seven methods presents their strengths and offer distinct value. Whether you end up using one or several of these methods, it boils down to finding the answers and insights that will help you create the most value. We invite you to explore the rest of our web site and reach out to explore what might be the best fit for you. Let’s get the conversation started.
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