Businesses need to understand their customers as much as possible. If you know your customer’s likes/dislikes, you can mold your business around them. Part of this involves understanding their behaviors and how they react to your business. This begs the question: how do you get to know your customers better than ever before?

Thankfully, many different ideas exist to help you do this. You can understand your customers on a much deeper level than you initially thought. Here are the best ways to do just that:

Analytics

We’ll start by looking at the most technological way of understanding your clients. Analytics will provide you with endless details on what your customers like, what they do, and so on. This is highly beneficial in a range of different situations. Obviously, you have analytics for your website, which you can use to see how customers behave when they land on your site. You can follow their journey, learn where they came from, see what products sell better than others, etc. By collecting this data, you can use it to improve your website and tailor it to your customer’s likes and dislikes. 

Moreover, you can use analytics to check customer behaviors in loads of other applications as well. Things like the Reveal embedded analytics solution let you add analytics software to your various apps/software solutions. In theory, this means you can see how customers behave when using an app that you’ve developed. It will provide all the data you need to make conscious decisions to help your business improve. The same goes for all other applications and areas where your customers contact you digitally. Analytics is the best way to get concrete data on how they behave and react to specific things. 

Social Media Polls

Social media is one of the most powerful devices for modern business. Typically, it’s used to market your company and grow an impressive following. As a general rule, a successful social media campaign will lead to a successful business. Having a large following lets you promote products directly to your target audience, which will always lead to higher conversion rates. 

Anyway, that’s not the focus of this point! Instead, you can use social media as an easy way of viewing customer opinions. Almost every social channel will let you run polls for people to vote in. These polls are anonymous, but they let you pose questions to see where people stand. A very simple example is posting a poll with four of your products and asking what people’s favorites are. At the end of the poll, you’ll see how customers feel about each product. In turn, you know which ones to push to your audience as they are more popular based on your findings. 

This is one of the fastest ways of gaining information and opinions from your followers. The only drawback is that you can’t choose who votes on social media. There’s a chance people can spoil the poll by voting without even being a follower or using your business before. Also, you have no way of knowing how many people will answer the poll. You may run one with 50 votes, and you may run one with 5,000. It really depends on the poll and when you run it – as well as your social media following size!

Focus Groups

If you want a closer look at customer behavior, you could run a few focus groups. Like with all these ideas, it comes with pros and cons. We’ll get the cons out of the way, as they’re similar to the downsides of social media polls. Mainly, the issue is the sample size; you can’t get a large sample size from focus groups. Think about it, how can you interview thousands of people to ask their opinions? It’s simply not possible, meaning you usually have a small group, including people from different backgrounds. This helps you cover all of the different types of customers in your market, getting opinions from these individuals. So, while it can give you a lot of valuable information, there are debates about how accurate it will be with such a small sample size. 

Nevertheless, focus groups are excellent at asking more in-depth questions to your audience. It’s a smart way of getting a small group together and asking longer and more specific questions. You also tend to see longer and more detailed answers, which can be more valuable for your business. In this day and age, with social distancing being a big part of life, you can run focus groups on Zoom or other online video conferencing software. 

Questionnaires

Next, we have another convenient method in questionnaires. Here, you can send out a questionnaire to all of your customers, asking their opinions on things. It will have yes/no answers and be easy for people to fill in. Well, it doesn’t have to be like this, but this is the best way to ensure they get filled in. With questionnaires, if they’re too long-winded, nobody will bother going through them all. So, yes/no answers, multiple choices, and so on, are the best ways forward. 

The great thing about questionnaires is that you can send them to every single customer you have. Will you get replies from all of them? Probably not! However, the more you send out, the more chance you have of getting a large sample size back. Questionnaires can also be emailed to your customers or mailed to them – either option works; it depends on what contact details you have for them!

Two Woman Chatting

Feedback Forms

A feedback form is very similar to a questionnaire, but it tends to be a bit shorter. Also, the way in which you use them is slightly different. With a questionnaire, you tend to send them out periodically as part of your marketing campaign. You might send one every 3-6 months, or maybe even once a year. A lot of businesses opt for the yearly option as a way of reviewing the success of the company over the past 12 months. It lets you see what people liked and disliked during the last year. With feedback forms, you use them whenever somebody makes a purchase. It’s a more instant way of understanding how your customers feel about you. 

You may have encountered this when you purchased something as a consumer. Essentially, you send an email after someone buys something from you. Or, if you work face-to-face, you hand people a form to fill in if they want. Online feedback forms are the best as you give your customers less to do. Physical forms will need to be filled in either immediately or posted back to you. Anyway, send them an email with the feedback form and a few simple questions about their experience. The best way is to have questions with a scale from 1-10 or 1-5 that customers can select. For example: on a scale of 1-10, how satisfied were you with the website? It’s a great way of getting information from customers while it’s fresh in their minds. From here, you will learn a lot about people’s experience with your business.

Reviews

You could throw testimonials into the same bracket as reviews, but they are somewhat different. A testimonial is always going to be positive; it’s your way of showing consumers how impressive you are. Nobody will write a negative testimonial – it would be pointless! On the other hand, reviews are more impartial as they can be left by anyone. Register with different review sites and ensure that all consumers can see every single review – be it positive or negative. 

The advantage of reviews is that you get honest feedback from customers. They write about what they liked/disliked, and you can go through all of these to collect data. It’s a bit harder as you have to read every review and pick out some of the common themes. However, you’ll soon be able to spot what people found appealing and what they hated about your company. Reviews also give you a general view of the public perception of your business. If you have mostly negative reviews, you know something has to change!

These are the best ideas for getting to know your customers better. However, there’s a big problem that we haven’t really addressed; how do you ensure that your customers provide feedback? It’s all well and good having all of these methods, but how can you be sure that people will bother to provide information? This is why analytics is essential as you get the information regardless. For the other methods, you need to encourage people to provide feedback and give their opinions. You can quickly achieve this with incentives; provide them with a reason to provide information. Promise a discount on their next order or give them a free gift. Little things like that will make more of your customers fill in questionnaires, attend focus groups, fill in feedback forms, and write reviews. Overall, this provides a larger sample size to get more accurate findings.

By Erica Buteau

Change Agent. Daydream Believer. Maker. Creative. Likes love, peace and Jeeping. Dislikes winter, paper cuts and war. She/Her/Hers.

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