Posted 10th August 2015 by APSIS

3 simple questions to ask your customers today

How can you build a great customer experience if you don’t know anything about your customer?
The wealth of customer data presents a real opportunity for businesses and brands that want to make the most of it. To do this, the data needs to be collected, analysed, enriched and shared across all technologies, platforms and channels to ensure consistent, relevant and timely messaging.
So what do you need to know about them?
Here are three straightforward questions you should ask of your customers, starting today. The answers will hopefully guide thinking to what a great Customer Experience should look like…
Question #1: What are you doing?
Your typical customer will interact across your multiple assets – both digital and offline – multiple times as part of any single customer journey. They will likely use multiple devices before purchasing. For instance, before buying a barbecue I might view the product on my work PC, watch a promotional video on my mobile on the way home, check reviews or comparative products on my home PC in the evening; I may even see a relevant TV ad by chance along the way too! All of these contribute to my buying journey, each influencing the final decision on its way.
A single view of every customer and prospect, captured and shared with your business systems in real time, allows you to listen and observe each customer’s behaviour at every stage of the customer journey. Since different messages are likely to be more pertinent at different times, this means you can tailor your communications not only to behaviour, preference and personality, but buying stage as well.
Question #2: What are you trying to do?
This question is much aided by the answer to the first, since observing and analysing customer behaviour provides the barebones of customer journey mapping. Understanding customers is an iterative learning process – it starts with listening and observing but this question allows an element of anticipation and even prediction, which can really set brands apart from competitors.
Shockingly, our research found that less than 30% of businesses surveyed actually insisted on customer journey mapping as part of their CX strategy, which implies a missed opportunity for delivering timely and relevant messaging.
Question #3: What do you think of us?
Feedback is a gift, and nothing can replace a real-life customer giving you a real-life opinion. Net Promoter Score and customer surveys are great ways to gauge sentiment and collect feedback at multiple stages of the customer journey (before, during and after purchasing). Even offline channels such as call centres and in-store exchanges can provide invaluable information on how well (or badly!) your brand is delivering against expectations and demands. Plus, finding out about those expectations and demands perpetuate the process of listening to – and thereby understanding – your customers.
Knowing the answers to these relatively simple questions will empower any brand to deliver a suitable and superior Customer Experience. However, as with any data, knowledge is useless if not put in to action. Each answer needs to be shared across all internal systems and teams, to develop internal knowledge and ensure consistency of message. The questions should then be continually revisited – customer experience is not a moment in time, it is continuous.
This post was written by Martin Wallace