Customer Experience: Do You Really Know Your Audience?

It’s no surprise that the increasingly social web have enabled customers to be heard while helping to improve the very products and services they’ve purchased.

As millions of people continue to search online for the product they need and the service they want, do you know how the recession has impacted your customer’s value perception?

How are you going to improve the customer experience to optimize your products and services?

Your customer may have already shifted their spending in favor of private label brands over name brands or reduce the quantity or frequency of buying altogether.

Perhaps the freemium business model has become the new standard to get your customer to try your product.

Whichever way you look at it, consumer’s perceptions of an interaction are influenced heavily from their purchasing experience, by how they research to who they trust.

To understand and improve customer experience, companies should first research their customer’s natural behaviors, and then seek opportunities to influence those behaviors through targeted strategies and niche offers.

According to a recent Nielsen analysis revealed generationally shopping habits that reflect diverse lifestyle preferences and economic habits.

nielsengenchart02 Customer Experience: Do You Really Know Your Audience?

Naturally, Boomers have the highest earning of any group, followed by Gen X, then Millennials and finally Greatest Gen.

What’s interesting is that according to the study, “Millennial and Gen X shoppers favor mass supercenters and mass merchandisers over more traditional formats like grocery or drug stores which remain a draw for the Greatest Generation and Boomers … Millennials today represent the largest population segment—over 76 million strong—just slightly larger in number than the Boomer segment. The two groups together represent half of the U.S. population.

From these data, marketers should apply behavioral economics to further understand the minds of their customers.

Once you understand the patterns contributing to buy and not buy, you can craft highly targeted campaigns and behavioral tracking techniques to connect with customers.

Couple that with direct customer research such as surveys or focus groups, you will end up with a customer segmentation metrics that can help you define how changes of an offer can influence the way people react to it.

However, it’s critical that a more systematic approach to behavior targeting is used when defining your customers.

This will help to make irrationality more predictable in an attempt to understand the behavioral economics of your customers.

Here are some questions you should consider to help you improve customer interaction:

  • Where does your customer go when searching for your products and services? Online communities, offline advertising, word-of-mouth, search engine, blogs etc.
  • How and where did they obtain the knowledge necessary to make a purchase?  Do they know how to find what they need?
  • When and how do customers gain access to your products and services?
  • What kind of lifestyle and overall financial situation are they in?
  • What does value mean to them? Where is the line drawn between getting a bargain vs being cheap?
  • Who and what influence their buying decision? And why?
  • What conversations are generated around the ‘benefits’ of your product and services?
  • What are some of the potential barrier to purchase? Lack of knowledge, confusion in the market, price points, product features etc.
  • Who are your competitors and how are they perceived in the customer’s eyes? What other options do they have if they don’t buy from you or your competitors?
  • In your vertical, does you customer look at brands first or price first? Is the service or support more important than the product itself?

You may consider paying for research from companies such as ComScore, Ipsos, Harris Interactive, TNS Group or Hitwise just to name a few.

If you’re not ready to pay for research, you can always conduct direct customer survey yourself or simply start gathering free data from sites like Consumer Reports, MarketingCharts, Pew Research Center or eMarkter on a regular basis.

Here is an example from the Compete Online Shopper Intelligence study that provides a high-level overview into the complete online shopping experience.

competechart01 Customer Experience: Do You Really Know Your Audience?

Often times, paid research firms will provide complete free report as well, you just have to keep an eye on it or subscribe to their newsletter.  Here is one focusing on eCommerce from ComScore: State of US Online Retail Economy in Q3 09


State of US Online Retail Economy in Q3 09

You can also search on sites like Docstoc, Scribd or SlideShare to find more supporting data.

Keep in mind most of the data on those sites may be dated but you can still use them to investigate current trends or form your own insights.

The take away: Because of the many factors contributing to consumer’s buying pattern and media habits; there is no silver bullet to improve customer experience.

Instead, the goal is to minimize wasteful spending while learning to invest in the drivers of customer satisfaction from desirable customer interaction. Do you know what makes your customer tick?

Further Reading

 

dd newsletter2 Customer Experience: Do You Really Know Your Audience?

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Comments Closed

  1. March 12th, 2010 at 05:02 | #1

    Directly asking customers via a poll and an online form has somehow worked for us, but I will seriously consider the other techniques you’ve included in this post. Thanks.

  2. March 13th, 2010 at 11:08 | #2

    Julius,
    Asking your customer for feedback is one of the most overlooked area by businesses. If you have good intentions to improve your product or services, often times people are willing to help because at the end you’re helping them. With the addition of behavioral targeting, it’s to extend and prove what you’re doing right as well as what you’re doing wrong.

    Thanks for your comment.

  3. Marleen
    March 15th, 2010 at 16:29 | #3

    Hi Eric, I just want to thank you once more for the skype conversation. You not only provided me with a lot of interesting information that I can use for my master thesis, but you also opened my eyes about the potential social media and the mobile web have. Cheers! :)

  4. March 16th, 2010 at 13:36 | #4

    Marleen,
    Anytime, glad I can help.

  5. April 1st, 2010 at 17:40 | #5

    Another use for your checklist would be to decide what your prefered client sweetspot is. A great exercise would be to get the answers from your best customers, create a profile, and then search out others that fit that profile.

    PS Love the comment set up you have going. The replies look exactly like a conversation – exactly how interaction should be!
    .-= Ted Hessing´s last blog ..This Week in Website Design and Development – March 27th Issue =-.

  6. April 3rd, 2010 at 01:45 | #6

    Ted,
    Those questions are meant to be used to segment your target audience so you can rank your prospects and leads. Thanks for the feedback.

  7. WheelaDadarse
    May 24th, 2010 at 11:12 | #7

    Thanks for making such a valuable blog, learned a lot sincerely Kobos Mathers.

  8. ffxiv gil
    July 27th, 2010 at 08:46 | #8

    as a MMO service site, i should treat the feedback as important as i can, thx for your essay!

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