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        How to better understand your customers

        How to better understand your customers

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          Failing to understand your customers’ needs could lead to them becoming unhappy and turning to a competitor. Get ahead of the game with these simple tips

          A number of companies are failing to understand their customers, according to a new study by Attest. In fact, a third of people feel misunderstood by brands in general.

          Angry client in a pharmacy

          Many big brands are resorting to stereotypes to appeal to their consumers, however, this leaves nearly a quarter of customers feeling alienated, the study reports.

          So, how can you connect with your customers to make sure you’re both on the same wavelength?

          Talk with them
          It’s a simple step but one that many companies fail to do. Ask your customers what they want, how good you are at providing it, and what you can do to better improve the service you provide. And the most important part? Listening to the answers and taking the suggestions on board.

          It can be hard to hear what’s wrong with your company. Your instinct might be to say that you know better. But sadly, you don’t. If you’re a B2C company then what customers want is what you should be providing.

          The survey found that only 41% of customers had ever previously engaged with brands to give feedback. Of these, 79% felt their responses weren’t listened to.

          You can talk to your customers via email surveys, on social media, via review sites, or in person. If someone has a complaint or has written a nasty review, engage them. Invite them to come into your offices for a discussion on how you can improve.

          Use data
          Another way to get information on what customers in your industry are looking for is through data.

          This could be in the form of marketing reports, sale figures or social media data. Social media analysis tools can tell you what your key customers are talking about, what’s important to them, and whether they’re using a rival and why.

          This data can take some going through but can provide unique insights that you’d never have thought of.

          Conduct a review
          Once you’ve spoken to your customers and been through the data you should be in a position to know what your customers want. It’s now the perfect time to conduct a review to see if you can spot where you’re falling down.

          A good way is to go through the process of being a customer yourself – put yourself in their shoes. This could be a group session in which you all go through the buying process and make notes, or you could act as a secret shopper and go through all the steps your customers have to, analysing every bit of the journey.

          Provide them with what they want
          This is the golden rule and worth repeating – try and provide the customer with what they’ve told you they want, not what you think they want.

          It can be hard to admit that your current offerings aren’t quite right, and it can sometimes mean a rethink of your business plan, but all business should be about giving the customer what they want. If you’re not doing this, they’ll find someone who will.

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