What does it mean to be customer centric?
A lot of marketing gurus online use the term “customer centric” or “putting customers first” all the time. What does it really mean?
There are some definitions online that defines it, but Paul Baog from CXL institute defines it as “
“drawing on customer research and user design to help craft marketing campaigns”
If that’s a little mouthful fear not – we’ll break down some key things on what it means to be customer centric in this post:
- How has digital changed our relationship with customers
- Some things we can do to understand customers?
- Tips on using surveys to understand customers
- Using Top Task Analysis to be customer centric
- Drafting a customer journey map
- How to involve customers in marketing campaigns
- How to test marketing campaigns before launching
- How to do monitor your marketing performance
How has digital changed our relationship with customers?
There are namely two areas in which digital have changed customer behaviors – leveling the playing field and giving a voice to customers
Leveling the playing field - back in the stone ages, big companies had billions of dollars to put into printing massive fliers and renting big stadiums to promote their products.
Remember Superbowl ads? Well, today most of that stands except for one big large glaring exception – small companies can get in front of their customers for the lowest cost.
Think of how Facebook ads let you start advertising to super-niche audiences for a little as $10? And how think of how many smaller brands get bought up by bigger companies these days? – that’s all clues to say that the big and powerful is no longer the only dominating company out there. The playing field is leveled.
Giving a voice to customers – there was a story of how a British airway customer Syed Hasan was frustrated with how the airline lost his baggage. He didn’t just stop about tweeting he also bough tweet boosting ads and got British Airways to hear him out and also thousands of people retweeting the same thing creating a public relations nightmare!
And the best part is, this wasn’t one-off viral complaints that happens on the internet, these things happen all the time. In fact, except these kinds of things to happen almost all the time in the future since the internet gives people the voice to share what they really think.
On the flip side, if this can happen when customers complain, can you imagine the same happening when you get glowing reviews from a delighted customer? Yes – that’s the power of word of mouth and in this digital era it’s amplified like no body’s business.
Some things we can do to understand customers?
But first things first – answer this question:
“How can you convince someone you don’t know to take action on something?”
Simple – you can’t. That’s why understanding customers are going to be key to navigate any business challenge that life throws at you. Remember at the end of the day – customers are the ones paying your salary.
How can you start researching customers?
If you’re in an organization:
- Talking to salespeople – salespeople are often an untapped source of information in companies. Talking to salespeople will help unearth sentiments and key pain points customers have as well as understand the type of objections that people face when buying your products so that you can start figuring out how to convince them better
- Talking to the customer support team – another vast untapped resource is your customer support team that troubleshoots customer problems daily. Understand what is the hardest part or the least desirable aspect of your product directly from them unfiltered
If you’re a small business:
- Social media – browse through comments, likes shares and etc. to understand “who” buys and interacts with your contents and also what about the product that makes them love it or hate it
- Google analytics – this is a free tool that people can use to understand which page has the highest dwell time and lowest bounce rate to see what appeals and what doesn’t to customers. There is also a demographic portion that helps you understand some key things about your customers e.g. what they like or don’t through the “affinity category” headings
- Competitors social media and blogs – why not? If you’re targeting the same group, chances are the same pain points are happening with them as well. So why not learn from their mistake to be better for yourself.
So what do you do with your customer research then?
So you’re done talking, reading and browsing the internet to gather all possible information about your customers – now what?
A very important tool here is the empathy mapping
We’ve written in length about this to learn more
Tips on using surveys to understand customers
Surveys are often overused to be ineffective in gauging customers. Here are some key tips that will help take your survey to the next level:
- Have specific goals in mind - You can read our tips on smart goals here, but in essence, having a crystal clear goal with clear end game is the single best thing anyone can do before launching a survey
- Keep it short – having a one-question survey is something the best solution possible. Long lengthy survey don’t and will not work
- Have closed answers vs. open answers – through your customer research, you should be able to pinpoint key areas that you need answers. Instead of letting your customers do the heavy lifting, you can list the many possible options in your survey answers for them to pick
- Incentives – giving our incentives is a great way to persuade people to take a survey. Examples of incentives could be free product use or even a discount.
Using Top Task Analysis to be customer-centric
A common thing when it comes to creating marketing campaigns is “not sure what information do you include in your marketing campaign” and “what do you leave out”. If you provide too much information, you risk drowning your message and waste your marketing campaign to be ineffective. To solve this – we can use the top task analysis.
#1 Identify all the questions you feel are important to your customers from your customer research (empathy mapping) e.g of questions:
- How much is the product?
- Is the product expensive?
- How long is the warranty?
- How do I sign up?
- Is it safe?
#2 Group similar questions together (e.g below):
- How much is the product?
- Is the product expensive?
#3 Categorize the questions:
- Product safety
- Signing up process
#4 Conduct a survey among your customers asking them to rank from 1 (least important) to 5 (most important) what is important to them?
#5 Use the results from the top task analysis to craft the contents of your marketing campaign.
Drafting a customer journey map
Creating empathy maps and top task analysis will only give you a snapshot of what the customer feel in their overall buying journey. In reality, before the customer buys from you, they do a lot of steps before they reach you.
- they discover your brand online,
- then they research about your brand,
- they finally purchase,
- they get the delivery of the product,
- they ask for help if needed
Your job is to apply that customer research to this sheet to understand specifically what are the task they do, questions they ask, touchpoints they have, emotions, and influences they have, and any possible weakness or objections that might hinder them in this step.
So why is this important?
- You can get to pinpoint which part of the journey do customers typically fall off
- As well as what is something you need to do increase your chances of getting them to complete the journey
Conclusion: So now that you know how to research your customer and how to get inside their heads, the best part is applying those to your marketing campaign.