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Part 1/3: Many Voices — Customers Discuss Why Understanding Their Needs is the Gold Standard

Discern the profile of your customer, their demographic, their desires, and how they manifest those desires into purchases.
Image from Cloud Cherry

Almost every company would agree that their business revolves around their customers. Each phone complaint, positive tweet, or question via chat provides an opportunity for companies to improve their products, identify sales opportunities, and enhance their service experience.

To give you a personal view of these opportunities and challenges, we’ve created a 3-part series on how different stakeholders (Customer, Company Executive, Customer Support Lead) think about understanding the customer’s voice.

Voice #1: The Customer: Your Company’s Heartbeat

We sat down with two avid-consumers to hear how they interact with brands who understand their voice. Meet Nikki and Rosalie:

Nikki is originally from Southern California and a Senior Director at a multinational biotechnology company. She lives in Suburban Boston with her husband and two teenage daughters.

Some of Nikki’s favorite brands include Target, Sephora, and Wegman’s

“Great companies understand the drivers that will keep me as a loyal customer”

Rosalie is originally from Suburban Chicago and a Director at a national nonprofit. She lives right outside Chicago with her husband and three sons.

Some of Rosalie’s favorite brands include Amazon, J Hilburn and Trunk Club

“Customer service has been what has kept me as a customer”

What does understanding the voice of customer mean to you?

Nikki: It means understanding the real issues important to me and being able to solve them. Even when the company makes a mistake, they own it and do whatever it takes to make it right.

Rosalie: Being able to discern the profile of your customer, their demographic, their desires, and how they manifest those desires into purchases.

Can you walk through an example of a time when a company really understood your needs and leveraged that to deliver a better experience/product/service?

Rosalie: J Hilburn (Menswear) — My husband is 6’4 and their consultant listens to my husband’s trepidation on not being too trendy and meets him in the middle. She takes the time to recommend things that fits his style, but pushes him a bit more beyond the basic. She engendered his trust at the beginning and we have spent a lot of money with them.

Nikki: Sephora (Beauty) — The salespeople are friendly and helpful without being pushy. They give good recommendations on products because they listen to what I like/dislike. And they’ll make a recommendation for something I may like better.

On a scale from 1 to 10, how much more would you spend with a brand that understood your needs vs. another company? (E.g., Switching to a new brand that had a better customer experience)

Nikki: 7 — There are other grocery stores in our area that have slightly lower prices, but Wegman’s consistently has the best quality food, well-trained employees to give recommendations, weekend wine tastings, and they have THE BEST music playlist going every time I go in there.

Rosalie: 10 for my husband and 7 for me. I switched from more inexpensive online stylists to Trunk Club and my stylist figured out my style pretty quickly. My trunks don’t come as often, but I keep more and they are at a higher price point.

What channels (in-person, social, phone, email, etc.) are the best/worst at providing a personalized experience?

Nikki: Best: In-person provides the best experience. If I’m dealing with customer service outside a store, I’d rather do phone or chat.

Worst: Email is the worst because I get so many, I ignore most of them unless there’s something specific I’m expecting

Rosalie: Best: I’m a pretty savvy e-shopper, and I’ll look up reviews A LOT. However, In-person interactions tend to give me better results faster, vs. going through multiple purchases and returns.

Worst: Social. I bought a pair of Rothy’s and I’ll probably by another pair, but my Twitter and FB feed are filled with those ads. It’s annoying.

From your experience interacting with many brands, if you can change one thing around the customer journey (e.g., product, in-store/online experience, customer service) what would it be and why?

Nikki: For me, it’s all about convenience — make it easy for me to get what I need/want and don’t hassle me if my original purchase wasn’t quite what I thought.

Rosalie: A customer should not have to pay for a company’s mistake, especially if they can’t replace the item and can only offer a refund. If it is not handled well it sours your relationship.

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