Guest Blog Contributed by Chamber Member
Kyle Bunch of American Family Insurance
If you want to build lasting, meaningful relationships with your customers, it’s important to pay attention to their needs. Improve your business by focusing on your client’s story — exploring their frustrations and their joy — and that can help you understand what drives them. You’re also able to build empathy for your clients by interacting with them regularly, and that feedback can help you create a strategy for retention.
To win repeat buyers and build brand loyalty, as a business owner, you’ve got to be able to anticipate customers’ practical and emotional desires and respond to them. That means seeking out as many points of contact as possible to really appreciate your customer’s buying behavior.
How Small Business Owners Leverage the Customer Experience
“Think about the journey as a cycle of interactions,” says David Saef, former executive vice president of strategy for Global Experience Specialists, Inc. “The more often you talk to and observe your customers, the greater your capacity for truly understanding their concerns.”
Any business, no matter the size, can take its client relationships to the next level. By leveraging the customer experience, small business owners can find insights into what pushes a customer to into buying. And hopefully coming back for more, too.
What Drives Customers to Make Purchases?
Saef provides a five-step strategy to learn what drives your consumers’ buying behavior:
Step One: Look to social media for customer satisfaction details.
You might find groups of clients in online spaces such as LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter. By knowing where to find your customers, you’re in a position to observe and adapt and potentially improve your business.
Or, if your customers have a professional space or common hobby, you can join them in the real world for a face-to-face. When they’re getting together, you want to be there to interact in an organic manner. “Where are they gathering and talking and how can you participate in that conversation in a relevant and meaningful way?” Saef asks.
Step Two: Observe customers in their native space.
Create an opportunity to watch your customers using your product. “Being in the moment of your product or service is so important,” Saef says. If you have a digital product, you can use analytical tools to see how people are using it. An even better option if possible is to physically visit clients in their office to get a better sense of their purchase behavior.
Step Three: Drive product design through customer feedback.
Focus on “design thinking” which allows you to let the goals of the customer drive your product development. One way to use design thinking is by conducting empathy interviews. You’ll gain a better understanding of not just how customers use your product, but how they feel about it. Look into review sites that offer feedback on your product as well. You may find insights on the customer journey that help you to understand why your product works, and where it falls short.
With this information, you gain a better understanding of your customer’s needs. “You need to connect more with the emotional perspective,” Saef says. “It’s about delighting them beyond what they would have expected.” When coming up with questions for an empathy interview, the Institute of Design at Stanford advises entrepreneurs to encourage customers to tell stories and always ask “Why?”
Step Four: Go to trade shows and industry events.
Trade shows and other events are a great space to find and meet existing and potential customers, but it’s not enough to just be a passive participant. “It’s important for small business ownership to take advantage of the full ecosystem of that conference,” says Saef. That means calling people up before you arrive, connecting with them during free time, organizing a focus group for your product and following up after the event to solidify your rapport.
Step Five: Improve your product by hosting events for customers and clients.
When you host your own event, you can reap the benefits of a trade show while controlling the entire experience and keeping the focus on your own business. “At your own corporate event you’re creating the circumstances to really provide an immersive customer journey,” Saef says.
Gaining insight into your customers’ buying behavior is a never-ending quest. Try hosting a holiday party or other event. You’ll be able to leverage the information you discover about your clients to improve your marketing or the products you offer.
With persistence and planning, you can reach your goals of building stronger brand loyalty, lasting customer relationships, and growing the number of repeat customers who keep on buying your products and services.
As your refining your marketing approach, remember to check in with Kyle to review your business policy. With the coverage you need to thrive, you’ll find more peace of mind to truly pursue your business goals.
For more information on this topic, contact
KYLE E. BUNCH, MBA, LUTCF | AMERICAN FAMILY INSURANCE