The customer never buys what you think you sell. A tricky meaning to Peter Drucker’s quotation? Not really. But understanding why customers buy your products and services is certainly not straightforward, but important nonetheless. You need to put these secrets of consumer analysis tactics to work to appreciate fully why customers make the decisions they do.
Check out our thoughts on customer focus.
Putting a priority on consumer analysis? The information derived from customers is vital to continually improving your business. Many businesses either don’t put a priority on collecting inputs from their customers or don’t know how. The objective of this blog is to give you some tips to perform insight analysis more effectively.
How much time do you and your business dedicate to gathering customer insights? Not enough is the answer we hear most often. One way you can find useful insights is to examine research in social psychology.
Related post: Lessons from the Yale Customer Insights Conference
Here are some useful thoughts from customer insight analysis we have found and use with our clients. They should provide useful stimulus for defining tactics with your customers.
Consumer analysis …good service trumps fast service
Recent studies show customers cite rude, incompetent, and rushed service as their top reasons to switch brands.
Customers who receive competent, knowledgeable and all-encompassing services are most likely to remember their experiences and tell friends about them.
Companies must maintain a clear and constant focus on the factors that represent the true health and sustainable growth of the company: the bond between the company and the customer. Faster operations should only be pursued when they will result in stronger customer bonds. Anything else is a mistake, and one with lasting consequences.
In short, companies must bear in mind that “speed of service” contains two critical elements: speed and service.
Consumer analysis framework … never overlook details
Details are never ‘unimportant’. Until you put all the pieces of the puzzle together, it is difficult to know the importance of details.
Consider an example of Internet Privacy
Running a business today almost certainly means having a digital presence, and being connected to the Internet. While the benefits of this transformation are many, the security issues are still a daily challenge, with many solutions in the market place to address them.
Now internet service providers can sell the browsing habits of their customers to advertisers. The move, which critics charge will fundamentally undermine consumer privacy in the US.
Now that they have been scrapped, internet service providers (ISPs) such as Comcast, Verizon and AT&T are free to track all your browsing behavior and sell it to advertisers without consent. ISPs have access to literally all of your browsing behavior – they act as a gateway for all of your web visits, clicks, searches, app downloads and video streams.
This represents a huge treasure trove of personal data, including health concerns, shopping habits and porn preferences. ISPs want to use this data to deliver personalized advertising.
Money discussion makes customers more self-focused
When you prime people with money, they approach their social interactions in a fundamentally different way than they normally would,” said Nathan DeWall, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, who has conducted similar research on the psychology of money.
“Whereas when most people are presented with the possibility of having an interaction with another person, with anticipated rewards that accompany that, when you prime people with money, they just approach it in a socially disengaged and less rewarding manner. And this has profound consequences for their behavior.”
Research by psychologist Kathleen Vohs has shown that when people are primed with money issues, they become more self-focused. And less willing to assist others.
This fact can be used by businesses in selling luxury items. The subject of money should be avoided however with promotions associated with doing things for others (i.e. like Mother’s Day for example)
Look for insight connections
Find connections between seemingly unrelated observations. Keep iterating and building the puzzle of facts and their relationships.
Customers favor personalization
In a study from the Journal of Applied Social Psychology, researchers were able to increase the average tips that waiters received by over 23%, without significantly changing their service.
This was accomplished by having waiter’s follow-up with a second set of mints after they brought customers their check.
Waiters that brought mints but didn’t follow-up received an average of 7% less in their tips.
And from a different perspective, it pays to remember customers’ names and important information. It turns out that people are more attentive and interested when they hear their names. When working on building relationships, use names when appropriate.
Few sounds are as pleasant as hearing our names. And likewise, for example, nothing makes us feel less loved quite like a post-purchase email from ‘DO NOT REPLY.’
Collecting customer insights … connect
And then move closer. You learn most when you build close relationships with your customers.
Time more valuable than money
Most people see time spent as a better indicator of who they are versus how much money they spent.
New research from Stanford reveals that customers have more favorable feelings of brands they associate “time well spent” with. Memories of a good time were more powerful than memories of great savings.
So, there is a reason that lowest price companies promote having a good time (such as “It’s Miller Time) rather than their lowest prices.
Forget Suze Orman. Time, Not Money, Is Your Most Precious Resource. Spend It Wisely.
Consumer analysis … always dig deeper
Keep looking for ‘just one more question’. Each new fact that you discover often generates new information needs.
Consumer analysis questions … innovate through customer collaboration
MIT’s Eric Von Hippel conducted a study with the Institute of Management Sciences on the relationship of superstar customers and company innovation.
The result? Through a study of 1193 commercially successful innovations across nine industries, Hippel discovered that 60% came from customers.
Customer insight techniques … immerse your perspective
Take multiple viewpoints using alternative roles. Try and eliminate the single role perspective at all costs and view things from as many angles as possible.
Surprise with acts of kindness
One of the most memorable and talked about customer experiences is a surprise act of kindness.
Zappos uses this experience with great success. Without so much as a mention on their website, Zappos regularly upgrades customers to overnight shipping free of charge. A great way to brighten customers’ days.
Use your personal experience
Don’t be biased by this experience, however. Don’t let your values and views take charge of getting the true picture.
Loyalty programs can still be very effective
Consumer psychologists Dreze and Nunes were able to reveal just what makes a ‘sticky’ loyalty program, across all industries.
The researchers were able to show that customers are twice as likely to stay with loyalty programs if the programs if the programs appear to have already started. Tasks that seem to be underway are more likely to be completed.
See our article: How to Use Reward Card Programs Better for Enduring Customer Loyalty
Customers prefer stories
Storytelling is most persuading so shows the research by Greer and Brock. Their research reveals that a well-told story is one of the most persuasive forms of community. They concluded that stories have the ability to take us to another place, permitting the story to be a marketing message without the marketing. They are helpful in creating conversation.
Validate and refine
The insights you have gained are never done.
Remember, this is your time to create remarkable experiences and valuable customer insights to create lasting customer relationships. Lead with initiative … own the moment.
It’s up to you to keep improving your customer engagement and relationship building performance and creativity.
Does your business put a priority on collecting customer insights and then putting them to use?
Do have any experiences to share with this community?
Do you have a lesson about making your customer insight collection better you can share with this community? Have any questions or comments to add in the section below?
So what’s the conclusion? The conclusion is there is no conclusion. There is only the next step. And that next step is completely up to you.
It’s up to you to keep improving your customer attention and focus. Lessons are all around you. In many situations, your competitor may be providing the ideas and or inspiration. But the key is in knowing that it is within you already.
All you get is what you bring to the fight. And that fight gets better every day you learn and apply new lessons.
Are you devoting enough energy to improving your continuous learning for yourself and your team?
Need some help in building better customer insights from your customer engagement? Creative ideas to help grow your customer base?
Call today for a FREE consultation or a FREE quote. Learn about some options to scope your job of growing customer insights and pay for results.
Call Mike at 607-725-8240.
All you get is what you bring to the fight. And that fight gets better every day you learn and apply new insights that you have learned.
When things are not what you want them to be, what’s most important is your next step. Call today.
Test. Learn. Improve. Repeat.
Are you devoting enough energy to improving your continuous learning for yourself and your team?
Mike Schoultz is the founder of Digital Spark Marketing, a digital marketing and customer service agency. With 40 years of business experience, he blogs on topics that relate to improving the performance of your business. Find them on G+, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Digital Spark Marketing will stretch your thinking and your ability to adapt to change. We also provide some fun and inspiration along the way. Call us for a free quote today. You will be amazed how reasonable we will be.
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