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Customer Conversations Need To Be A Core Part Of Your Business

Customer conversations should be the cornerstone of any business, no matter the size. In fact, these customer conversations can create the foundation of your business. And if you don’t invest in listening – customers notice.

According to Acquia, 53% of consumers feel brands fail to meet their experience standards. Forbes points out that companies with a customer experience mindset drive revenue 4-8% higher than the rest of their industries. 

Whether you’re a large corporation or a small business, you can’t help but think about your customer at many points during the day. However, most companies put little to no effort into understanding the customer’s needs. As a result, they spend more time selling products and services to the customer than understanding whether anyone wants them.

A customer conversation allows you to address and respond to the specific needs and wants of the customer.

The Importance of Conversations

In the Harvard Business Review, Werner Reinartz points out the massive reward that customer conversations can represent. 

“In most companies, customer intelligence — that is, the collection and analysis of customer data — is largely used for improving customer relationships. Understand your customer’s buying cycle better, and you can target your mailings and product offerings more effectively. Smart companies realize that intelligence about their customers can actually lead to a lot more than greater marketing effectiveness. It is a powerful tool for identifying innovations, especially with the opportunities for data gathering afforded by smart technologies and social media.”

Without understanding what your customers need, you are bound to miss opportunities to grow and improve. You won’t find out what people want from you by only looking at your data dashboard.

The only way to improve  your customer experience is talk to your customers yourself and do it with a particular problem in mind.  

Data isn’t enough without context.

The major obstacle companies face is that they simply don’t know what customers really want. A complete understanding of the customer requires a rich contextual data set. In this next era, big data isn’t enough. Only context can provide the dimensions on which real customer experiences depend. 

In Martin Lindstrom’s book Small Data, he tells the story of how Lego made a business-turnaround decision by getting intimate.  The company was close to going bankrupt.  In 2003, profits were down 30% from the previous year.

Relying heavily on big data they changed the size of the small, tiny bricks to huge building blocks because the numbers said that the rise of the fast-flippant generation would kill their time-consuming products.  Profits fell another 10% in 2004.

So the company decided to go into the homes of consumers across Europe.  What happened next is key to LEGO’s success story.

They met up with this young German boy and they asked him, “What are you most proud of?” The kid replied back, “This pair of sneakers.” He showed them an old, worn-down pair of sneakers. Then he told them why. He said, “Well, because it shows I’m the best skater in town. If I slide down the skateboard, I am number one, and these scruffs and marks are my evidence.”

The Lego executives realized the importance of showing off your skill and that by mastering a certain craft, children would attain “social currency” amongst their peers. After refocusing its strategies, they re-designed products to ensure their young customers could build their LEGO cred. The business rebuilt its brand to become the world’s largest toy maker.

There is proof that gathering this context drives better outcomes.  According to Hot Jar CX Trends for 2019, companies with successful CX initiatives prioritise talking directly to their customers much more than their less successful counterparts. 

Authentic listening is crucial.

It makes no sense to build, launch, market, and advertise if you don’t understand the customers’ needs and wants. By listening carefully, you can gather valuable insight to help improve your brand experience but also understand what new innovations to put in place.   You will understand the products or services your customer needs and uncover the motivation behind those needs. 

Most marketers today have forgotten the importance of being present with their consumers.  But if you want to find the real opportunities and grow your brand, you need to get granular.

A focus on authenticity and a core understanding of your customers can be the difference between remaining relevant and falling behind. 

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