Know your customers better since only they can help you get more leads and more sales. Understanding customers is the key to giving them excellent service which in turn results in solid customer relationships and new sales through positive word-of-mouth reviews.
From growing our one-person design team to four (and still hiring!) to speaking more with our customers — listening what’s most essential to them, and how ecommerce fits into their lives – we’re just getting started on our journey to make this transformation, and we’re learning so much!
We hope that you can take a couple of the lessons we’re learning and apply them to your business, no matter how small or big.
It’s never too late to start talking to your customers, understanding what they need, and how they made their way to you today.
Laying down assumptions, building empathy and cultivating curiosity
Anything you think you know about your consumer ought to be considered an assumption that has to be validated when going further into research. Build your hypothesis and start finding out more. For instance, if you were to outline high priority questions for your ecommerce website, you may need to ask:
- Can my customers easily reach the checkout page?
- What’s restricting them from purchasing?
- What information are they searching for?
- Can they find the information they want to help make the purchasing decision?
From here it’s a matter of discovering customers to talk with, scheduling a time to meet, and arranging your session. Ideally this can be done in-person, however, that shouldn’t stop you from talking to your customers in anyways.
Knowing and mapping a customer journey
One major element of the design process is understanding your customer’s experience, often known as mapping a customer journey.
This involves analyzing a customer’s path from the first moment they connect with your brand to the endpoint of that task. For instance, completing a course, purchasing a product, or booking a reservation.
These touchpoints can then be mapped to understand the entire picture. To understand and implement this to your business, ask yourself:
- What tasks am I wanting them to finish?
- Why would someone want to finish this task?
- How easy is it for them to finish the task?
From here, you can write out steps for every task.
Once every touchpoint is mapped, you can then vote on which are the most essential areas to focus research.
When considering tasks, it’s important to think about what stage your customers are in via interactions with your products and brand.
For Builderfly, we implement the Six Ultimate Experiences, which breaks down the consumer journey into six unique phases:
- Find out, Try, and Buy
- Getting Started
- Everyday Utilization
- Manage and Upgrade
- Use and Extend
Speaking to customers: uncovering insights & smart listening
One way to analyze each of the six phases is to speak with customers while they are in a particular stage. What initially brought them to you? Why did they need to start? How do they utilize your product or service?
When speaking with customers, it’s important to ask the correct questions. Instead of having them talk about what they need, ask customers why they do what they do. Let them show you how they utilize your product or website, then analyze how they go about it. Listen to what they say, but additionally, prepare notes on what they do.
For instance, asking our customers what they think of a new Builderfly feature that we are still planning to develop would make the wrong insights: they’d just be able to think about what they think we want to hear. An ideal approach would be to see customers finish a related task for the new feature, like adding a new product.
By analyzing and speaking with customers, we may find out that more control over customizing the product page could be fruitful as they need to be able to cross-sell a couple of related items however the theme layout isn’t what they needed. Asking them what they need would not create the same outcomes.
In conclusion, know thy customers!
Learning more about customers and how your product fits (or doesn’t) into their everyday life enables you to relate to who they are on a more personal level.
Building empathy for your customers is key to helping ensure your offering is as helpful, and accessible as possible. It’s essential to take time to understand the expectations of your customers as it’s been proven time.
If you likewise have experience with customer research for your e-commerce website, We are excited: What lessons did you learn? What challenges did you face?