Written by: James Ponds
When starting a business, entrepreneurs and leaders will often build a buyer persona or empathy map based on market research, and even by making some educated guesses about their customers based on who they think will buy the product. Here's where a lot of businesses fail: they assume that their ideas about who their customers are were correct the first time around, and don't adjust as the business grows. They don't actively gather data to ensure that they are speaking to the right people. Here are the best ways to ensure that your business is gathering the data, looking at it correctly, and speaking to the ideal customers who are excited to buy your product.
Gathering Data Through Customer Experience
One of the best ways to gather data is through CX channels such as email and social media, which the customers are already used to interacting with. Sending out surveys is a helpful tactic, and tends to work best when combined with a reward such as a discount code. However, social media allows for even faster and simpler options such as polls in Instagram stories or comments on a post. Get creative and don't be afraid to ask your customers for their honest opinions. Be specific. If the questions are too general, you may not get the insight that you need.
Additionally, make sure not to cut corners when it comes to overall customer experience strategy. Your customer experience team is the most direct way for your customers to connect with your brand. Be clear about your brand voice, what your policies are, and what you can do to make customers happy and sure that they will stay with your brand. Not only will great customer experience keep them coming back, but it will make them more willing to share open and honest answers with you when it comes to gathering feedback.
You can get as specific or general as you want when requesting feedback from your customers, however, keep in mind that they have limited time in their day to dedicate to you. Ask them the most important questions, keeping it short and to the point.
Analyzing and Organizing Data
Once you have data from surveys, polls, or other forms of customer feedback, it's important to look at it accurately. If customers were answering yes/no or multiple choice questions, organizing the feedback into charts should be fairly simple. Charts will provide a great visual understanding of how customers are feeling. If you collected data that required a freeform response from customers, don't just skim through. Take the time to read the responses. You can pull out key words, or highlight a few that seem to sum up how most of the customers are responding. Gathering all of the charts and key words or top responses into a report will help the data to make sense. From there, you can draw conclusions about how to move forward.
Implementing The Takeaways
This is what your customers really care about. How are you going to use their feedback to continue improving their experience with your brand? This will look different for each brand, so while it's tempting to follow the lead of other brands, it's important to act based on what your unique customer base needs from you. This might mean a shift in mindset and priorities for your brand. For example, a clothing brand shouldn't make a new skirt just because other brands are making similar ones. They should make the skirt that their ideal customer base would give anything to wear. This is the thought process that will make a business successful.
Never assume you know what your customer needs. Instead, actively listen to them. Building your business based on your customers' feedback will skyrocket your brand because your customers will feel more connected to your brand than any other. This will build brand loyalty, which should be your first priority as a business. Actively listening to your target market is the only way to truly give customers what they need.