Understanding your target audience (essentially, your customers) is crucial to running a successful business. It should come as no surprise then that millions of dollars are spent every year on demographic research and, odds are, your business would benefit from better understanding your customer base.
They Know They Aren’t Numbers
It’s easy to get bogged down in numbers and statistics. But remember, your customers are real people, each and every one of them. Sometimes your customers will have the best ideas for how to improve your business: the Institute of Management Sciences conducted a study which showed that 60% of all successful innovations were the result of taking customer ideas into account. Find a way to find out what your customers want and how you could better solve their problems for them. Common ways to accomplish this are through surveys, targeted questionnaires, or—depending on the size and nature of your business—by simply asking.
They Know Their Friends
We live in a business world that offers us hundreds, if not thousands, of unique marketing channels and pinpointed demographic targeting (which has been refined to the point of being borderline creepy). But don’t forget that a simple recommendation from one friend to another is often the best advertising money can’t buy—so how are you rewarding your most loyal customers for being your ambassadors? Developing a rewards or referral system might be the best way to show them your appreciation.
They Know Each Other
There’s a reason so many companies are doing everything they can to get their customers to fill out anonymized surveys: this is the actionable type of information which gives you a current, honest look at what your customer base is interested in and, perhaps more importantly in some cases, what they aren’t interested in. In recent years, many of these surveys ask about the customer’s understanding of the needs of their family, friends, and people similar to them. These kinds of insights may provide you with useful data you couldn’t have gathered otherwise.
They Know Where They Want to Be
Brand loyalism isn’t just consumerism run rampant, it’s quite literally at the heart of our tribal DNA. While that might sound extreme, consider the loyalty garnered by sports teams, favorite television shows, and brand names. By offering your customers a community platform to share ideas and interact with one another, you’ll have a better understanding of what they want and how they think collectively. Online forums or real-world meetups are the primary ways of obtaining this kind of data.
If you use business instant messaging software to communicate with your customers, make sure your customer service representatives are expressing your message politely and clearly through chat. This can put the customer at ease when dealing with your company’s online presence and encourage them to express themselves further (and more positively) online.
When you understand the things your customers know, you understand your customers. And, when you understand you customers, you become empowered to provide them with the best service possible—service which will yield loyalty for years to come.