How to understand your customer

One of the key disciplines of Customer Experience (CX) is Customer Understanding. In order to design, implement and provide an outstanding CX, companies need to know and understand their customers, and their customers’ needs.

In order to do that, companies need customer insight, that can be collected from various sources, one of them being the customers themselves. For that a Voice-of-the-Customer (VoC) programme needs to be put in place.

VoC helps you understand customer requirements, and determine what they perceive as being most valuable to them. At this point, it is important to also be aware of the Kano Model, and the fact that there are different types of requirements:

  • Must-bes: those that customers expect by default. If met, they have no positive impact. If not met, they have huge negative impact.
  • One-dimensional: those that are stated by the company. If met, they result in additional satisfaction.  If not met, they result in dissatisfaction.
  • Attractive: those that will surprise and delight customers. If met, they will “wow” the customer. If not met, they will have no impact.

(Notice that it is normal to see, over time, a one-dimensional requirement become a must-be. And an attractive become a one-dimensional).

There are various ways to collect VoC.

  • Qualitative methods, like mining unsolicited customer feedback (e.g. phone calls, emails, social media), or conducting ethnographic research.
  • Quantitative methods, like analysing data from CRM and finance systems, or gathering information through surveys.

Qualitative research is extremely important and effective. Due to its nature, it is done on a small number of customers. However, results may be completely skewed if the customer sample is not quite right.

On the other hand, Quantitative research is done on a much larger number of customers. And this will allow companies to feel more confident on a more accurate picture of customers and their needs.

Research on a significantly large sample of customers can only be done when enabled by technology. There are various platforms available. In my opinion Qualtrics is probably the best, and one of the most trusted, platforms in the world.

(I first came across Qualtrics in the Summer of 2016, and the company I work for, Capventis, quickly decided to adopt it as one of the preferred technologies. Since then we built a team of certified Qualtrics experts, and have supported 30+ clients. It can be used for CX initiatives, as well as Employee, Brand or Product Experience).

With a complete understanding of the customer, his requirements, and what he values the most (or perceives as being of value) companies – those working under CX strategies (and with VoC programmes), or those undertaking CX initiatives (in particular at the research stage) – will be able to deliver outstanding experiences, differentiate in the marketplace and ultimately succeed and grow.

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