5 Ways to Better Understand Your Customers

Every company’s success depends on understanding customers’ desires. In our modern era of big data and artificial intelligence, it may seem that technology holds the key to determining the best ways to engage customers. However, while these tools offer compelling statistics about behaviors and preferences, they do not necessarily provide a global view of how customers feel. Just as customers report greater satisfaction when service has a human touch, companies gain greater insight when they engage with customers personally. Here are five ways to better understand your customers and give them great experiences using both technology and personal contact.

Ask customers for direct feedback

Sometimes, the best way to solicit raw feedback is by asking direct questions. Don’t afraid of asking customers how they feel about your brand—critical response can only help your company become stronger. On social media channels, for example, you may ask customers how they feel about a new product or service. Agents working on these channels should carefully monitor all comments, engaging with customers naturally and asking further questions if customers are critical in any way. Traditional surveys should also include free-response sections that invite the customer to provide additional comments. Lastly, companies with retail locations should always ask for feedback in person. For example, an employee might ask customers upon leaving the store how they rate their visit. Another strategy is to demonstrate new products in-store, offering customers an opportunity to engage with employees and leave their feedback regarding the product.

Conduct focus groups and events

Focus groups are an excellent way to build rapport with current and potential customers and hear honest feedback. Your company may choose to organize focus groups to test a new product, for example. In addition, you may hold events at retail locations or participate in trade shows for further engagement. Your brand may unveil new products and services at these events and offer free gifts to attendees. Focus groups and events are excellent for meeting prospective customers, satisfying current ones, and collecting valuable information about customer profiles and preferences that your marketing team can use for targeted communications.

Create customer profiles

When collecting information on your customers, always pay close attention to all demographics and ethnographic data. This may include customer ages, median income, geographic location, and even cultural identity. These statistics can offer tremendous insights into your target audience and help your brand create specific customer profiles. By defining a few key customer profiles, for example, your brand can create a customer journey map for each and determine the best ways to satisfy each person’s preferences. Be certain to clearly outline each customer’s likes, dislikes, and reasons for purchase when creating their journey maps.

Study social media habits and comments

Social media offers a wealth of information about your customers. Study their habits to determine which channels they use most frequently and at which times. Agents should work on these channels proactively, engaging customers in discussions while also responding to questions in a timely manner. Your brand should take note of all the comments on your social media channels, and listening tools can reveal other mentions of your brand across social platforms and the web. 

Analyze all data sources

Analyzing all data meticulously is essential to having a global view of your customer’s needs. Be sure to consider all kinds of data you have collected. For example, customer comments on review websites and blogs should not be neglected. Analytics regarding browsing habits on your website and keywords used to search for products on the site are especially useful for determining which webpages garner the most interest. Surveys and call transcripts likewise offer valuable information about your customers’ experiences with your company. When collecting information about your customers, analyze both data and direct feedback. A combination of engaging with them personally and studying their habits is key to understanding how to serve them best.

Deliver on brand promises

Once your company understands what your customers want, always meet—and even surpass—their expectations. It’s especially important to deliver on your brand promises. For example, product information should be clear, and any prices or promotional events that are advertised should be accurate. If customers ever experience any problems with your brand, take immediate action and appease unhappy clients with goodwill gestures and follow-up contact to make sure the problem does not occur again.

Assess customer feedback to improve service

To improve customer experiences continuously, look at all sources of feedback. Your surveys are an excellent place to start, as well as customer satisfaction scores. However, be sure to pay attention to customer emotions as well. Use speech and text analytics on all your brand channels to get a better sense of how people feel about your company. In addition, reach out to customers on social media and form focus groups to understand how your brand might improve.

Engage employees when designing experiences

Your employees can provide valuable insights regarding the best ways to improve your brand. Customer service agents may offer input about recurring issues on specific channels, for example, whereas sales agents may suggest ways to make the purchasing process more seamless. Employees may also discuss ways in which communications and practices may be improved internally, creating a better work environment that translates into better service.


When your brand is committed to improving its practices, it pays off. According to Dimension Data, 84% of companies working to improve customer service increased revenue. By taking a global look at your customers’ needs, creating the products and services they want, and involving your employees, your company can design the experiences that turn customers into advocates.