How well do you really know your customers? What do they care about? What are their pain points? What words do they use to describe what they like?
According to an IBM Study, only 35% of CxOs believe they understand their customers well. Surprisingly low, considering all the attention customer-centric strategies are getting today. Without understanding your customers, and designing a strategy around their particular pain points, how else will you distinguish your business and prove your company is better than your competitors? How will you be able to develop a real Customer Success strategy?
Before we start thinking about customers though, think about your brand. How did you develop the brand you have? What were your original goals? Aspirations? What exactly does your product do? Who exactly is your product for?
Now that social media has become a hub for all things customer service and success, customers have far more power over companies than they ever did before. The brand that you created could be easily swayed in a positive or negative light. Before this emphasis on social media, brands could turn negatives into positives with clever marketing (User Voice). Sadly, those days are gone. Customers want an amazing experience in every interaction.
Here is where a strong customer profile can help determine the fate of your company. You have already established a strong brand supported by specific visions, missions, and goals. To be successful at making your customers successful, you need to develop a clear profile of the target customer for your product or service. Now, it is time to profile your ideal customer.
Barriers to Delivering a Smart Customer Experience
Michael Hinshaw, Managing Director at MCorp Consulting, noted that there are two major barriers to being smart about the customer experience.
- Not understanding your customers’ needs
- Not understanding the value your customers bring to your firm
Understanding Customers’ Needs
Instead of focusing on delivering outstanding support to your customers, think about your customers as your company’s asset. Interesting, right? They keep your company running so their input matters the most. You want to make sure they stay happy at all times. Understanding your customer through an intelligent customer profiling process or system is essential. If you’re delivering content and attempting to sell your product to government agencies, but using retail selling tricks, you won’t land the deal. Instead, you are virtually ensuring that you deliver a subpar experience. So, why would they want to work with you?
Another part of profiling includes deciding which customers will actually be assets to your business. A lot of companies waste their money and effort focusing on the wrong target market. No matter how hard you try, you won’t seal the deal with these people. It just isn’t going to happen. By understanding the type of people that will help your business flourish, you can take these people and divide them into groups. Customer profiling helps to break down larger groups of customers into smaller, more actionable segments, which will help you apply the right strategies and tactics to get your brand in front of them and make a sale.
(If you need help defining your ideal customer, here is a brief Ideal Customer Framework to help get you started.)
Do you want to deliver a better customer experience?
Take a walk in your customers’ shoes. Track what they are doing, what influencers they engage with, and what topics they are interested in. Figure out what makes them tick and deliver a proposition that they can’t refuse. If anyone ever told you that customer profiling isn’t worth it, they were most certainly wrong. Caring for, and retaining your customers is an investment that will pay off in spades.