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3 Key Questions to Ask When Identifying Your Customer’s Persona


Scott Kendrick

July 21, 2014

Business woman standing on bullseye
Business woman standing on bullseye

Let’s face it: The days of single channel communication with customers are over. In today’s digital era, customers are everywhere (social media, mobile, email, etc.) and expect to be able to communicate with companies via their preferred channels. Research shows that the contact center industry is responding to increasing customer expectations by offering multichannel support that includes telephone, social, web chat, mobile, fax, email, and more.

But, with so many channels to manage, it can often become difficult to maintain a single view of the customer and offer a seamless experience across channels. So what can companies do to provide customers with a satisfying experience?

One answer is to tap into the Voice of the Customer to develop an understanding of what truly matters to consumers. Doing so involves researching customer personas to ensure the customer experience caters to an individual’s specific wants and needs.

Here’s a list of 3 key questions that can help you identify your customer’s persona and ultimately lead to better business results:

1)     What are the customer’s pain points?

Assuming you already know the most basic information about your customer (i.e., age, gender, occupation, geographic region, purchasing habits, etc.), the next most logical place to begin is to ask yourself: What are my customer’s pain points? After all, the very idea behind customer service to help customers resolve issues or provide assistance with a product or service in order to make the customer’s life easier (and thereby encourage repeat business).

“People prefer to hear themselves speak rather than to listen to you,” claims columnist Mark Suster on Inc. “It’s just human nature. Your job is to tease out as many discrete pain points as possible. Write down the customer pain points so you don’t forget them and ask questions the whole time.”

Identifying customer pain points not only helps you provide the right kind of experience for your customer, but it can also help improve sales effectiveness by offering the right kind of solution to address a specific problem.

2)     What does the customer value most?

Once you’ve identified your customer’s pain points (i.e., what they don’t want), it’s a little easier to figure out what it is that they do want. Try thinking about it like this: What is it that your customer values the most? What would make them feel excited about your product or service?

This question is just as essential as the first for one very important reason: Understanding what your customer wants the most enables you to figure out a way to deliver it. Tools such as Voice of the Customer Analytics can combine data across channels (phone, chat, email, surveys, social media, etc.) to give you a true picture of your customer, allowing you to create a better customer experience overall.

3)     Where does the customer go for information/what are the preferred channels of communication?

As with the above two questions, determining how a customer consumes information can help you provide an improved customer experience catered to an individual. But what’s the easiest way to go about doing this?

Real-time customer feedback not only offers a platform for a customer to express opinions/share views and ideas, but it also allows you to actively listen to what the customer has to say and strategically implement changes.  Speech analytics solutions can also help you monitor and analyze customer interactions across channels (i.e., calls, chat, email, social, etc.) and deliver actionable insights that can lead to improved customer experience (including how and on what channel to contact a customer).

Digital marketer Corey Eridon presents yet another benefit: “If you know how [your customers prefers] to gather information, you can make yourself present in those spots and work on establishing credibility in those communities.”

Final Thoughts

Customer personas can be useful for a number of reasons: to identify customer pain points, values/priorities, preferred channels of communication, and more. With the customer experience becoming increasingly important in today’s digital landscape (research, in fact, shows that global companies with customer experience strategies in place are five times as likely to get referral rates than companies without), your company simply cannot afford to overlook this critical aspect of providing quality customer experience.

What steps has your company taken to identify your customers’ personas? Which questions would you add to the above list? We’d love to hear your suggestions in the comments below.


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