Shopper Experience: four ways marketers can use human insights to optimize Customer Experience


Who are your customers? What are their attitudes, behaviors, needs and beliefs? What are their expectations?

These are questions that marketers have wrestled with since the beginning of time. However, as digitization forces a rethink of the customer journey, businesses must use new ways to reach and influence digitally savvy buyers and strategically guide them along the path to purchase.


Read more: Shopper Experience: Rise of the Chatbots in Customer Experience.

“A compelling customer experience has evolved from a nice-to-have to a necessity in many industries,” a McKinsey article states. “Winners use standout experiences to attract and retain business while reducing servicing costs and complaints. The rewards can be substantial, but execution is complex, requiring a complete reinvention of customer journeys and supporting processes.”

This reinvention is doable with a well-planned, carefully executed experience designed to speak to customers’ needs, intent, attitudes and behaviors at each stage of the funnel.

So, what does that process look like? Based on my experience, there are four basic strategies that marketers can use to gain more of the human insights they need to optimize the customer experience.

1. Deeply understand the buyer.

Today’s buyers often spend most of their purchasing journey online, using Google, reviews and a variety of other online tools to perform self-guided research. As a result, they usually know more about a company’s products long before they ever reveal themselves as potential customers. Thus, it’s crucial for businesses to understand typical customers’ pain points, preferences, needs and how they search for solutions so they can deliver a relevant and resonant message at each stage of the decision-making process.

Businesses need to be answering questions such as: What terms are buyers searching for (and not searching for)? What online sources do they visit and trust the most? What is the impetus or intent behind the search? And, more importantly, what insights can be gained on how to optimize the company’s organic (search engine optimization) and paid (search engine marketing) strategies?

It’s important to test behavior, both on desktops and mobile devices, to see if and how it shifts. For example, after discovering that most car buyers start with online searches rather than coming directly to a website, an online auto marketplace that we work with revamped its site to make it friendly to search users landing on any page.

2. Understand the ‘why’ behind the ‘what.’

Businesses don’t have much time to grab a buyer’s attention and try to convert them into a lead. Analytics can show what people are doing in the time they spend on a website, but they can’t explain the “why” behind each click, tap, swipe and conversion. Without understanding the why, it’s impossible to know what to fix.

Businesses need to fully understand the customer experience on their website. Technology exists to help them answer questions, such as: What is the user’s first impression when they arrive on the site? Are there intriguing calls to action, such as offers or free trials, or content like white papers and e-books that deliver enough value to propel a prospect to take the next step? Do the forms prevent drop-off, while still capturing the right information?

Smart businesses collect this information and leverage it to provide a more fruitful experience.

3. Execute campaigns to engage buyers.

Lacking time or money to do market research on every deliverable, marketing teams often guess about whether messages and materials like emails, videos and images will resonate with customers. Guesswork isn’t good enough — it’s vital that marketers gather human insights on whether this content is hitting the mark.

Questions that should be addressed include: How well do customers understand the vocabulary we use? What message did the ad convey? How effective are we at communicating who we are and why we’re special? Which email content resonates most with participants?

4. Invest in buyer empathy to gain and keep a competitive advantage.

Top-notch marketers invest in both quantitative and qualitative ways to measure buyer empathy at every stage of the buyer journey to ensure they’re delivering both the right message and the right solution. Data-driven marketing is all the rage these days, and for good reason. Numbers can go a long way toward telling the story of how well a business is reaching customers, but qualitative, human measurements are important too.

Companies need to be wary of what Jeff Bezos calls the “manage to proxies” syndrome. “This can happen very easily in large organizations,” he wrote in Amazon’s letter to shareholders. “The process becomes the proxy for the result you want. You stop looking at outcomes and just make sure you’re doing the process right …. Good inventors and designers deeply understand their customer. They spend tremendous energy developing that intuition. They study and understand many anecdotes rather than only the averages you’ll find on surveys.”

By following this four-step strategy, companies can more profoundly understand the interactions that make up the customer experience. In today’s digitized world, businesses need these human insights into customer sentiments and behaviors to drive awareness, increase consideration and influence purchasing decisions.

Forbes Communications Council is an invitation-only community for executives in successful public relations, media strategy, creative and advertising agencies. Do I qualify?

Reciba las últimas noticias de la industria en su casilla:

Suscribirse ✉