Five Ways to Better Understand Your Customers

Updated: Mar 2

Customers are the lifeblood of nearly every business. Without customers, there would be no business. So you want to take care of your customers, make sure their needs are being met. You want to make sure you are giving them what they want. You want to make sure they are happy. One way to do this is to get to know your customers better. A 2017 survey by Microsoft states that 80 percent of brands (businesses) do not have sufficient data on their customers. How can a business be successful if you don’t know what your customers want?

You are not just a number to them. So don’t let them become just a number to you. What your business is, what it represents, what it offers, means something to your customers. When a business gets to know its customers better, it feeds off of that loyalty and commitment they have toward your products and services and creates a stronger bond.

Here are five ways your business can better understand your customers.

Use Social Media

You may be thinking, “my customers don’t use social media, so I don’t have to worry about this.” To this we say, don’t make assumptions about your customers! What you may perceive about your customer base may be far from the truth. The older generations are catching up with digital trends and the younger generations utilize them daily (ok, let’s be honest, hourly).

Social media gives your business an insight into what customers like and what they don’t like. It can show you what they are buying. In addition, it can help you resolve complaints. While feedback on social media platforms can go downhill fast (especially if it is a negative comment), businesses can address the issue right away. Also, this platform allows other customers to comment. Previous customers can endorse glowing reviews or refute negative ones. This can help prospective customers get to know your business better and show the importance your business places on customer satisfaction.

two girls taking a selfie with coffee and muffins in their booth

One way to increase discussions with your customers is through user generated content (UGC). This may sound complicated but it couldn’t be easier. It is basically allowing your customers to showcase your business through their eyes. This can be done through photos with your businesses designated hashtags, or videos that can be posted on your business Facebook page or website.

Having customers add their own content to your business’s social media helps them to feel ownership of your brand. A picture of them on your site eating the food you make, wearing the clothing you sell or utilizing a service you produce turns a customer into a brand ambassador. According to a survey by Business Wire, 85 percent of consumers “find visual UGC more appealing than branded photos or videos.”

The use of UGC will build credibility between customers and your business as well as allow you the business to get a glimpse into the minds of your customers. It’s a win-win.

Ask Customers Questions

In order to produce excellent customer service you must know what the customer wants. The best way to do this is to ask! Ask questions of your customers to know what they like and what they don’t like. You may be surprised to find that something you thought was very successful branding, fell flat with customers. Or, something you thought was a one and done event may be something your customers loved and would like to see on a more permanent basis. As the saying goes, you never know until you ask.

Ask why questions about your business. Why do they like using your business? Why do they come back again and again? Why do they tell other people about your business? Ask how questions? They can be open ended. How can we be better? How can you get them to come back? These questions not only give you insight about your customers, but it also shows customers how much you care about them and value their opinion. Implementing their suggestions - even in a broad sense - will indicate how important customer feedback is to your business.

Surveys are another great way to gather specific information about your customers. Sometimes it can be difficult to get customers to participate in surveys, so offering an incentive like a percentage off after completing the survey is a good tactic to get more participation. There are many survey companies out there to help make the process streamlined and easy for both you and the customer.

question marks clustered together in colorful bubbles

Host an Event

What a perfect way to get to know your customers better! Having an event to recognize an anniversary, launch a new product or celebrate a new location is an excellent opportunity to get to know your customers on a more personal level. Businesses can also have virtual events that customers can join.

An event can be a great way to kick-start a loyalty program which is always popular with customers. Loyalty programs can give your business insights into your customers, while giving them perks and discounts. Customers are 83 percent more likely to keep using a business’s goods and services if the business has a loyalty program.

Get Reviews from Customers

Social media is a great platform for getting reviews, but it is not the only place, and it may not even be the most influential place. Reviews can be given by customers on a variety of platforms including Facebook, comment boxes on a businesses website, testimonials, search engines such as Google and review sites such as Yelp.

Just like comments on social media - like Facebook or Twitter - reviews should be responded to in a timely manner. When a customer sees their review has been responded to, it humanizes your business and helps the customer feel validated. It also reinforces your businesses commitment to customer service, Ninety percent of consumers state that online reviews impact their buying decisions.