Interacting with customers in today’s digital era brings along a mountain of data. This customer data can be in the form of past purchases or preferences, visits on the website, search patterns, interests, feedback and social media reviews. Collecting this data and systematically analysing is what we call Customer Experience analytics or CX analytics.
Using sophisticated software and techniques, analysis of this big data can help companies in numerous ways. This process follows a complete cycle:
- Constant interaction with target audiences yields customer experience data
- This data is analysed to obtain deep insights into customer behaviour and preferences, experience, feedback on the company’s products and services, and much more
- These insights are used to improve the company offerings, devise better marketing and sales strategies, improve future communications with customers and enhance the overall service experience
- Based on the customer experience analytics, customers engage in meaningful and personalised communication, which builds trust and improves the company-customer relationships
- Such valuable personalised engagement enhances customer experience and ultimately leads to improved business revenues and increased profits
Therefore, it all boils down to enhanced customer experience and the success of a business. A happy and satisfied customer means a successful business. During this entire process, developing customer personas play a key guiding role.
What do you mean by customer personas?
The customer base which a business/company targets can be represented using data. This includes demographic criteria like age group, gender, nationality, religion, region, income group, etc.
It can also include behavioural features like interests, needs, buying patterns, values/beliefs, internal and external influences of the customer, etc. Using this data, the semi-fictional, representative model of an ideal customer is referred to as a customer persona.
Basically, customer personas represent the profiles of the target audience. A persona can also be developed for partners, stakeholders, prospects, decision-makers, or any other audience the company interacts with.
For example, Tina, a busy working woman, who earns well and is digitally literate, can be the customer persona for an online grocery shopping website. She represents just a subset of the entire customer base of the company. Similarly, third-party sellers on the website are another set of stakeholders for the company. A separate persona can be developed for these sellers.
Why use customer personas?
Only when you understand your target audience and their preferences, will you be able to figure out what their demands are. Post this understanding, you’ll be able to offer customised solutions to their problems, better products and services, and build trust in the relationship.
Engaging with the customer in a way that is satisfactory and meaningful will help in building a long-lasting relationship. It will also enhance the goodwill of the company through word of mouth. Such relationships are critical to the company’s success.
However, it must be noted that customer personas are not static. Companies need to take note of the changing customer behaviour with each new service offering. Thus, brands need to maintain a dynamic profile for their customers, collecting and adding newer customer data.
What is the need to revisit customer personas?
Initially, a company has a general understanding of who its customers are. During this phase, personas are developed based on assumptions as little data is available to the company. However, this changes with time and more interactions with the target audience.
For example, Tina might not want to use the grocery shopping website in the future. She may switch to another website or to an offline alternative. This change in customer behaviour may be due to a bad experience, a new, unserviceable location or a change in income level, job, etc. Alternatively, she may switch to a competitor that offers a wider range of products.
Customer personas guide the company to cater to the needs of their audience precisely and effectively. They are a tool to better understand the customer base. However, the customers may not always behave or engage with the company as expected. Their tastes, desires, needs, buying patterns may change because of numerous reasons.
Thus, the business needs to update its marketing, sales and customer engagement strategy according to the changing behaviour and experience of its audience.
This change is not limited to just customers and other stakeholders. With time, businesses change too. They are influenced by market forces and expand their operations to different parts, interacting with new sets of audiences.
Therefore, the customer personas developed originally don’t always remain relevant and accurate. They must be updated regularly to be effective. To be as close to reality as possible, they need to be dynamic and amenable. Personas need to be revisited and updated so that the company focuses on the right type of customer. This is where data analytics help businesses.
Role of customer experience analytics
Understanding and developing customer personas is not just to build marketing and sales strategies, but also to improve customer experience.
Customer experience analytics helps revisit customer personas in the following ways:
Build an updated and effective persona
The key to developing an accurate customer persona is to regularly collect data from the target audience and try to make sense out of it. Which mode of communication is preferred the most by customers? Do people enjoy cashback or deals in kind? What bothers the customers the most? Are they building different tastes? Such questions can only be answered if data is regularly collected and analysed. Customer experience analytics helps to build comprehensive personas based on the latest trends and customer behaviour.
1. Prepare marketing strategies for product launches
Analysing customer experience data helps to understand the audience better. This information becomes handy before a product launch. Making the right kind of awareness and marketing strategy based on customer data is a key factor in bringing actual sales. Valuable insights using data analysis helps the company develop the best marketing strategy with a high conversion rate.
2. Integrate experience across all customer touchpoints
Customers need a consistently good experience across all touchpoints. Whether a customer sends a mail or makes a call, they should feel equally welcome. If you want to give a good experience throughout the customer journey, you need to be aware of the positive and negative aspects of all touchpoints. Analysing customer interaction across all channels helps you pay attention on where you lack. Filling in those gaps helps to integrate customer experience across different platforms and at all stages of the customer journey.
3. Hitting the Mark
Personas help develop the image of an ideal customer. In order to be effective, they need to be detailed and reflect the specific needs of different customers. Customer experience analytics help differentiate personas so that each one of them can be addressed to a different set of audiences. Sending emails to working women and displaying TV adverts for housewives can only be done if we develop a personalised persona for different types of women customers.
4. Understanding psychology
Customer experience analytics helps businesses understand the psychology of the target audience and how it changes with time. What motivates the customers to buy the product? What are the emotions behind the purchase? Such insights about the core customer base are only possible with data analysis tools.
Competition in markets is increasing day by day. For a business to thrive, it has become crucial that it keeps itself in tune with customer demands. The key to success for a modern business is the customer-centric approach.
This is where customer experience analytics come into play. It helps in developing a comprehensive understanding of the target audience which is based on the latest customer data and general market trends. Customer satisfaction can only be achieved by targeted strategies which are themselves a result of in-depth analysis.
Kritik Verma is a marketing enthusiast with a specialization in digital marketing. He is currently working at Servetel, leading cloud telephony providers offering cloud services like IVR Service, Toll Free Number service, Virtual number system and many more to boost business success. He enjoys cycling, travelling, indies music, and reading about the latest digital marketing trends.