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The importance of conducting better customer research

Conduct better customer research
Introducing the modern customer. They analyse, research and critique like never before. Making sales matters, but making brand advocates matters even more. So it’s time to have a one-on-one with your customers. Not just to learn their names, but to dive into their psyches.

The golden rule of customer service – that your customer is always right – is as true today as ever.

That's why their experience and relationship with your brand is vital to your success. It's not just how cheap your products are or how fast your check out is, it's the emotional connection you create that brings your customers back for that repeat purchase.

How your business reaches them and their path to purchase (and beyond) contribute to your customers’ perceptions of you. Here are some tips to building happy customers.

Review your customer interactions

Your unique selling point or brand promise should be reflected throughout your customer’s path to purchase. For example, if your business offers 'the best range of products in the market', then this promise should be visible in every interaction they have with you. And we’re not just talking about face to face – we’re talking social media, your website, PR, customer reviews and advertising.

Consider if you want your brand's touch points to work together or if each touch point has a different role – i.e. social media drives your offers, your website provides detailed product info, your chat room delivers service and support. Once you've defined this, you can align your touch points with the customer’s buying process.

Map the path to purchase

There are 3 key stages in the customer's buying process. Understanding them can help you attract more, stickier customers.

Stage 1: Awareness.
At the start of their journey, customers are usually unaware of the fact that your business exists, or the fact that they have a need to be solved. Buyers always have wants and needs – but how can they be interested in your brand if they don’t know it exists?

During this stage, the buyer starts to research their options so it's important to create awareness of your business so that potential customers can understand who you are and how you can help.

Did you know: 72% of buyers, will turn to Google in the research stage.

Stage 2: Consideration.
Once a want or need has been identified, the customer enters the consideration stage. This involves researching brands to find the best fit. 81% of shoppers conduct online research (hence the importance of Search Engine Marketing).

But don’t underestimate the power of brand advocates, with 88% of consumers saying they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

Did you know: 70% of buyers will return to Google at least 2-3 times during the course of their research, exploring the specific offerings of your brand (and the competition) to see if their specific pain points can be met.

Stage 3: Decision.
Once your customer is satisfied they've found the best-fit option, they enter the buying process. You want this onboarding process to be simple and enjoyable for the customer in order to build brand advocates.

Pro tip: At the final hurdle, it can be handy to share case studies and customer testimonials to re-enforce to your buyer the positive experience of other customers.

Make the journey even better

Even the best brands can have sticky points in their customer journey. Consider asking your customers for feedback, then addressing the pain points as best you can. If every part of your journey is living up to your USP, then your customers will be more likely to fall in love with you and refer you to others.