Peter Drucker was quoted: The customer never buys what you think you sell. Drucker certainly understood the basics of improving customer intelligence techniques, didn’t he? The end state quality of what the customer received is what counts. And the better you know the customer and what drives his decisions; the better off you’ll be to winning his business. It is that simple.
Check out our thoughts on customer focus.
Most valuable customers
We categorize customers into four basic groups: prospects, customers, advocates, and former clients. The most important group is the proponents. You should be paying special attention to them and those in the customer group that you believe could become advocates. So their insights are most valuable, by far.
What are customer insights?
Customer insights are associations between objects, actions, and communications that solve or help solve new customer problems.
Customer intelligence … customer reluctance
There are 3 key reasons customers are reluctant to give inputs to business: business makes it difficult and inconvenient; there is no mutual equitable exchange of value for the input, and employees act like they don’t care. Your job is to eliminate this reluctance by fixing these issues as soon as you can.
Putting a priority on searching for change and opportunities that arise from change? Customer insight is a great place to start. Simple analysis of these ideas can be a great way to improve your business.
Yet many businesses either don’t put a priority on collecting inputs from their customers or don’t know how.
Now before I give you some your clients ways to achieve smashing concern insights, let me give you an example of ways these insights can aid your marketing. Just before Labor Day, I was in a local restaurant for breakfast. Since there was a short line, I was reading the bulletin board to kill the time.
On the board, someone named Nancy was advertising her services as a babysitter. I’d give this ad a “B-” because Nancy did a good job — but she could have dramatically increased her chances of getting hired and added a minimum of 20% to her hourly rate.
She includes the fact that she is a student, which is good since parents need flexibility
She notes that she has CPR experience, which is great, and is willing to cook and do light cleaning. The perfect way to add to your value.
She does not include her hourly rate, which would have been pointless. With babysitters, first get them to love and trust you, then discuss price.
She wastes space by saying things like “I love children.” Of course, you do. I love oxygen, but I don’t tell people about it.
More importantly — and now we’re getting into the psychology of this flyer — what do parents care about? Care about? What’s their #1 fear?
#1 fear: Safety and security of their children.
#2 fear: That you’ll be IRRESPONSIBLE, like missing an obligation and, leaving them stranded.
If you had developed excellent customer insights, you perhaps could have solved those two concerns and made price necessarily become a mere triviality.
99% of babysitters will waste time talking things that customers care very little about their love of children, their college major, or their interests. Remember you need to talk to customers about their interests and not yours and that is where insights take center stage, eh?
Nancy has hints of a terrific banner — but she falls short where it counts.
For example, she talks about how she has six years’ experience. Where are the testimonials from past clients?
Where are the SPECIFIC things she helped prior kids do (e.g., learn to read, take them to swimming lessons, coordinate their weekly meals)?
Where is the testimonial from her boss, which says “Nancy is the most responsible aide I have ever worked with…she has never missed a commitment.”
Do you see the point?
This is just a FLYER right now. It’s not true, full marketing. It’s not bad, but it’s not GREAT because she hasn’t thought carefully about who she wants to reach out to.
She’s targeting “everyone,” when she should be targeting a VERY specific list of people. Moms, who have kids (which age?), are upper-middle class, and are looking for their (first-ever?) babysitter. Each of these characteristics subtly changes the way she approaches her marketing.
Once she’s clear on who EXACTLY she’s looking for, all tactics fall from that. For example, once she knows precisely who she’s targeting (not “everyone,”) she would probably reconsider hanging flyers in local restaurants that these clients frequent.
The bottom line:
With training and experience in obtaining customer insights, you can start to see psychology — or the lack of it — everywhere. And with some subtle tweaks, you can dramatically increase your chances of better earnings with better clients who pay more.
Customer intelligence tools : ways to achieve smashing consumer insights
Listen, observe, and draw conclusions
Not rocket science here. Pay attention to what customers are saying and what they are doing. You will then be in an excellent position to draw real insight conclusions.
Instead of asking customers to watch and just passively consume, try getting them to participate actively, create and collaborate in activities related to your business. For example, ask them to define what would make shopping easier for them.
Customer insight techniques … share expertise freely
Relevant and helpful knowledge is usually always welcome. This domain information helps build trust.
Be more personable and social. Create and nurture customer relationships. Create friends who will share feedback more easily.
Show you listen
Listen to the right ideas. Pick the best ones and act quickly to implement. Show customers you are listening by publicizing the change with simple recognition of the basis of change.
Customer intelligence examples ,,, two-way dialog on decisions
Ultimately focus customer conversation on helping them with purchase decisions. Listen and learn from what customer has to say.
Connect more and different information
Connect the dots on all the bits and pieces of information you are gathering. The more connections you can make, the more insights you can find.
Integrate social media monitoring
More and more business is moving on-line. And customer communication as well. Pick some tools to help you monitor customer feedback (both intended and casual) on social media channels.
Connect and always try to move closer to all your customers and especially your best customers. You learn most when you build close relationships with them.
Immerse your perspective
Change your perspective and consider alternative roles. Try and eliminate the single character perspective at all costs and view things from as many angles as possible.
Never overlook details
There are no details you should consider as ‘unimportant.’ Until you put all the pieces of the puzzle together, it ‘s hard to know the importance of each of these customer needs and priorities.
Look for connections
Do you consider connections between seemingly unrelated observations? Try and connect the dots between different facts and observations? It is crucial to continue iterating and building the puzzle of events and their relationships.
Always dig deeper
Digging deeper is essential for uncovering more details. Can you think of ‘just one more question’? Use all of your curiosity and imagination. Each new fact that you discover often generates new information needs.
Use your personal experience
Use what you have learned previously, but don’t be biased by it. Don’t let your values and views take charge of getting the real picture.
Validate and continually refine
Always look for evidence to prove regularly and improve the insights you have gained.
Communicate in new ways
Lots of new communication channels exist today, particularly online. Put more of these channels to work. Do some experimenting to find which ones work best for you.
Make collecting customer inputs and converting them to insights everyone’s responsibility. Get the employee staff together every few weeks to exchange information.
The bottom line
Here’s the thing, social isn’t just a new way of marketing, it’s a new way of running a business. Many small businesses certainly have figured this out and are using social marketing and improved customer insights to grow their business rapidly.
Need some help in building better customer insights from your customer engagement? Creative ideas to help increase your client 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 this struggle gets better every day you learn and apply new insights that you have gained.
When things are not what you want them to be, what’s most important is your next step. Call today.
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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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