Today, thanks to modern technology, brands have access to a lot more data than ever before. They have deeper insights into every step of the customer journey. Using customer data touchpoints to enhance customer experience is essential in creating market differentiation.
74% of customers are likely to buy based on positive customer experience alone.
Nearly 16% of customers are willing to pay a premium price for a great customer experience.
According to Gartner, great customer experience drives more than two-thirds of customer loyalty.
Clearly, customer experience is a major driver behind the success of a business. However, it is not possible to measure customer experience by a specific number or a single metric. That is where customer experience analytics steps in.
What is Customer Experience Analytics?
Customer Experience Analytics, or CX Analytics, is the collection and analysis of customer data.
Examples of customer data include reviews on social media accounts or the frequency of purchases on your website. Gathering and analyzing customer data helps organizations better understand their customers and work towards making their interaction with the brand more meaningful and satisfactory.
CX Analytics allows one to make data-driven decisions on how to improve products or services from first contact to customer service. Additionally, it reveals issues or hurdles that your customers may be experiencing that you are not aware of.
CX Analytics helps create a more tailored and personalized experience for each customer. Furthermore, companies can now develop user personas to serve their customers better.
What is a Customer Persona?
A user persona or a customer persona is a semi-fictional model that incorporates mental models and characteristics of target buyers. Basically, this is a profile of “imaginary” individuals that reflect the core customer base of a business. User personas are created as if the individuals were real, but they do reflect common attributes across a cohort of people. Their characteristics are gathered by observing real-life individuals.
However, user personas are not user journeys – they define who you are creating an offering and marketing message for.
On the other hand, user story mapping helps map out user stories and other backlog items visually. A user story is a short description of what your product users want to achieve. User stories usually contain three elements – the desired feature, the user persona, and the objective of the feature.
User stories are grouped under corresponding epics, describing specific tasks that users may require. An epic describes the overall activities of a user. During story mapping, user personas are usually bound to dedicated epics that they will be involved in.
User personas reflect the priorities and pain points of your customer base. They are also a key determinant of your marketing strategy. However, user personas are only effective if they are accurate. In life, nothing is constant. Companies shift direction, business models change, and even your customers evolve. The personas that were the main focus of your marketing strategy could be outdated.
Therefore, it is important to revisit your user personas regularly to ensure that they meet your target audience.
Why Do You Need Updated Customer Personas?
Creating customer personas is not a once-off task, these personas should be kept as a reflection of how your business is evolving. The following are reasons why one must keep updating their customer personas:
1. You learn more about your customers with time
As your business develops, you learn more about your customers. As you interact more with your customers over time, you learn what works, what doesn’t, and who your product or services are best suited to. Such consumer data insight helps you take actions that increase efficiency, revenue, and profits. However, in the early stages, there may not be a lot of information available about your customers.
Thus, your early user personas are only based on a fair assumption and a little data that you may have on hand.
With time there may be realizations that user personas are missing something or were inaccurate. Over time, businesses develop a better understanding of what content resonates with their customer base and which kind of marketing messages truly attract them.
Current market trends could also have a significant impact on the characteristics of a customer persona. Ideally, as a business continues to learn more about its customers, it should ensure to update the personas as well using the customer analytics.
2. Your business evolves
How many businesses do you know of that are exactly the same as they started? None, or perhaps very few. All businesses evolve and change with time. As you learn more about what targeted customers really want, products and/or services also evolve. With time, new product lines may have been launched and new features added based on market research and customer feedback.
It is also not surprising for a business to discover that they need a complete change in direction. It may become evident that it is more profitable to launch an entirely new product line or to cater to a new target audience.
Any time there is a change in offering(s), businesses should consider revisiting their user personas. Customer personas should accurately reflect the position of the business right now.
3. Clarity to your team
When customer personas are up-to-date, the organizations’ team has better clarity on the kind of content they need to create. Being clear about user personas makes delegation easier, whether it is to other team members or outsourcing. Whether they are handling content, marketing, or sales, they have a clear idea about who they are communicating with.
Even if businesses are not delegating, updated personas prompt businesses to check for any tasks that need to be done.
How to Update Your Customer Personas?
Understanding the importance of customer personas is one thing, but how does one go about updating them?
1. Follow your buyer’s journey
What is the buyer’s journey? Simply put, it is a customer’s path to making a purchase.
Customers today are increasingly aware. Thanks to technology, they have a lot of information available at their fingertips. Customers no longer make purchases on a whim. They go through the process of brand awareness, consideration, and evaluation, and only then do they make the decision to purchase (or not).
It is important to think about user personas and how they interact with the company’s website. It is advisable to review the navigation bars or the landing page for more information. Additionally, consider A/B testing to assess which strategies are working for each persona and update the personas accordingly.
2. Look at customer experience analytics
As your business evolves, so do the customers. Look at your recent customer data and transaction histories to get more information about customers. Which marketing messages are being received well? Which advertisements are effective and create more conversions?
Customer data collected recently, and regularly, can provide more information about the demographics of a target audience and their consumer behavior. With this information, it is possible to create new and updated user personas that are accurate and reflect the current customer base.
3. Dig deeper into what makes your customers tick
Earlier there was only limited data to work with. With time, more information about customers is gathered using customer experience analytics. This aids businesses in determining the consumer behavior and psychology of a target audience. It means that marketing efforts are more targeted. It is suggested to obtain as much information as possible about the emotional state of buyers when they make a purchase.
What is it that drives them to respond? What helped them decide to make a purchase? Dig deeper to understand what made them choose a specific brand. Thus, enabling a company to update its personas accordingly, resulting in a better customer experience
4. Consider negative personas
A user persona defines an ideal buyer. A negative buyer persona helps to identify anyone that is not suited for the company’s offering. When starting a business, reaching negative personas may not be a goal. Don’t spend time or resources reaching out to people who won’t do business with you.
However, as your business grows, your target demographic could shift, resulting in a completely new demographic being targeted. On occasion, if you are tapping into new markets, you may be able to convert a negative persona into a new persona.
Once personas have been updated, start working on the communication and marketing strategies. Understanding the customer base will influence the tone, voice, and/or the content that is used in campaigns and advertisements. It is also possible to widen marketing efforts to reach the target audience identified as the potential buyers. Creating and prioritizing content accordingly is equally important.
The more information you gather about customers, the more relevant the content created can be. Content will begin to be tailored to address the specific pain points and issues. However, you should always remember that change is inevitable.
A lot of effort goes into building user personas, but you can’t use the same personas forever. It is essential to keep a keen eye on the changes in the market and the new challenges customers face. This will act as a guide on how to adjust personas accordingly.
Revised or updated personas enable businesses to have a deeper and more meaningful understanding of their customers. Essentially, knowing someone well allows one to easily identify when they are satisfied or dissatisfied. Customer experience analytics can be used to update customer personas and these personas, in turn, allow customer experiences to be improved upon.
Guest Post – Author Bio
Jonathan is a technocrat and an avid outdoor enthusiast. He is a community manager and a committed team member at Userwell.com – a subsidiary of saas.industries. When he isn’t working to make the internet a better place, Jonathan can be found exploring the great outdoors and beautiful coastlines with his sidekick, Zen, a very energetic Weimaraner.