On average, happy customers tell 9 to 11 people about their experiences with a company. Comparatively, customers tell 15 people about their negative experience. It’s imperative you manage your negative experiences as much as you are focused on delivering positive ones. Sales Problem = Customer Problem Two very important call outs before we begin. 1. We must accept that likely a sales problem is a customer problem. There could be a myriad of dynamics occurring behind the scenes that are detracting from business results, but still directly connected to your customer. a. Waning penetration amongst your known and unknown competitors. b. Your repeat customers are no longer repeating.c. Your direct competitors are doing something better.d. There’s a compensating behavior replacing your business.
2. This problem is NOT going to fix itself. In order to fix your customer problem, you need to learn why they buy your product, service, or industry, and why they buy YOU. Not why YOU want them to buy you. There are also ways for you to bootstrap and take action NOW. At DeepBridge, we’re all about solving your problems, period. So, here are a four ways you can start growing your customer intelligence today for free: 1. Strategic Use of Initial Sign Up or Registration By including additional fields that are relevant to how your business operates, you will be able to acquire useful information on the front end to customize experiences deeper into the lifecycle. 90% of consumers are okay with brands knowing more about them if it helps deliver a more rewarding and satisfying shopping experience (Episerver) Client Example 1: We recommended a salon client to include household income ranges and relationship status to their informational packets. This would help us deliver relevant promotional opportunities in a few months and increase engagement. That said, this is not going to be uniform for all companies. For instance, a tech company may want to ask what OS a consumer prefers? And on what device for their personal phone? This would allow that company to provide offerings or alerts relevant to a customer’s android device. Compare this to a gym who may want to understand whether their typical customers have any other workout regiments in place e.g., cardio, swimming, etc? Have they ever tried a spin class or joined a yoga studio? This would enhance the gym’s ability to notify the new gym goer anytime there’s an open spot available in the upcoming Pilates class or 6AM hot yoga. Seems simple right? But many businesses treat these golden opportunities for raw customer information as mundane obligations and paperwork. Take another look at your chances to gather this information and harness it to provide better customer experiences. 2. Feedback Programs A more engaged consumer is a more valuable consumer. Not only from the perspective of spend per visit, but also your business benefits from word of mouth referral and advocacy. Finding ways to tap into what your customers want you to improve upon in the form of direct feedback is a low cost way of bettering their experience. This could look a variety of different ways depending on your business and what you offer. Client Example 2: The Problem – A local coffee shop client was struggling to hit their targets and couldn’t understand what their consumers really wanted. The Solution – We instituted a simple feedback program that rewarded every 5th experience they commented on (above 50 characters) with a free cup of coffee. We did some cost-based analysis on the lifetime value of a loyal customer and cost associated with acquisition of customer research to determine the ROI on retention was well worth this. We identified through this low cost but effective method of feedback generation that customers cited the client as not feeling inviting and having no personality. Ouch, right? The Recommendation: We concluded not offering free wifi and readily available outlets at each table significantly reduced visits and coffee consumed on site. This essentially reduced their competitors to be on-the-go coffee distributors like Starbucks. And with no drive thru option available, our client’s losses had no end in sight. We attacked this from three fronts. Tactical: We began offering high speed wifi to everyone with outlets at every seating station. Brand: We had them regularly book live music and poetry/cultural events. Community Engagement/Longevity: To add to the experience, we also had them partner with a neighboring wine shop for a monthly event to cross promote their brand. The Results: By shifting their strategy to going all in on owning the local experience, they were able to grow their customer base 35% and sales by 20%. 3. Loyalty Systems Loyalty programs encourage repeat shopping and activate on shopper principles that support consumers reward feeling valued with brand loyalty. These programs also double as another mechanism to collect intelligence about your customer that would help you deliver important offerings that they will appreciate. Of the four presented, this is the quickest and least convoluted but still requires a significant strategical investment to ensure you’re signaling proper cues and gathering pertinent information. 80% of consumers say they are more likely to do business with a company if it offers personalized experiences. (Edelman) 4. Self Run Qualitative Research This may sound intimidating, but if done properly with a clear discussion guide, you should be successful in learning more about your customers. We will break these down into separate components so you can follow along and apply to your business.
Step 1: Identify 4-6 of your customers who would be willing to give you their time. Be sure they are objective and not too close to you or your business that they will skew results too positively. Step 2: Break them into different groups based on how they purchase. You want a healthy mix of consumers who represent all phases of the buying cycle. A customer who is an exclusive loyalist to your product or services. They do not purchase the competition. A customer who is brand agnostic and uses whatever is readily available. They are switching between you and the competition. A customer who has used you in the past but no longer uses you or someone who you know prefers the competition. Anything beyond this is a bonus. If you are able to find a customer who doesn’t use the industry your product or service plays in at all, that would be beneficial. Step 3: Identify what it is about your customers you’d like to know. Aside from your essentials like occupation, family size, etc, what would help you service them better? For instance, if you run a boutique specializing in women’s high-end designer clothing, then you’d want to understand their motivations behind why they purchase expensive clothing. Why does it make them feel? Proud? Successful? Why do they buy from your boutique and not online or Nordstrom? You may learn through talking to your customers they appreciate that you offer unique designer things that Nordstrom can’t offer due to their need to appeal broadly. Or your hemming service is much more personal and a better experience, and free. This would allow you to carve out a market and bolster your messaging around your perceived value. You’d increase your shopper spend per visit, increase word of mouth marketing due to a better experience, and steal share from the big retail chains all in one insightful question. Step 4: Collect all the data and begin to develop your persona. With your personae in hand, you can map out your customer journey, barriers to entry, and media consumption habits. These insights should be able to loosely guide your marketing efforts to drive better customer experiences to grow your business.
Once you have started implemented these processes, it’s important you track them to monitor ongoing changes. The best customer experiences occur because of a business’s ability to be agile and responsive. Summary In Summary, any business stagnation or decline is likely going to be heavily associated with your misalignment to your customers. In order to improve your customer experience, you should grow your customer intelligence. Below see the outline of the four ways to increase your customer intelligence: 1. Strategic use of initial sign up data collection 2. Feedback Programs 3. Loyalty Programs 4. Qualitative Research PHEW! If you are left with a dismaying feeling, don’t fret. It can indeed feel overwhelming. Our only job is to make you feel like you have answers to your problems. DeepBridge consultants are always standing by should you feel you need the pros to do it. After we assess your needs and make sure it’s a fit, we can take this off your plate and partner with you. We’d also love to hear from you, feel free to comment below or drop us a line. And if you found value, share with someone else. Below is an image of a more simplified infographic covering this material, feel free to share with someone who may find it useful. If you’d like to the PDF for hi-res use, we’re happy to share just email us. P.S. We have one parting challenge for you. Ask one customer or client each day what it is you could genuinely do better as an organization. Encourage them to be brutally honest. Your most important asset is right in front of you. It’s as easy as asking. (Infographic) 4 Steps To Growing Your Customer Intelligence