Developing customer profiles, sometimes referred to as customer personae, is a hot topic. The concept makes sense. In order to better understand your customer, create a fictitious profile of them complete with their name, job title, industry, educational background, pain points and ideal solutions. This can be done within a framework of a customer empathy map that will help to guide your discussion. Such a map is developed around the five senses, which will make it easier for you to summarize the customer experience and how customers perceive your organization.
With in-depth knowledge of your ideal customer, your sales representatives are better prepared to have productive discussions with both prospects and current customers. This additional layer of insight, reflected within the information you’re already tracking within Salesforce.com, gives your sales team - and you - a critical edge in deciding where and how to focus your efforts.
From the layout of your website - graphics, font, and so on - an online visitor has plenty to take in. Make sure that what you are presenting on the screen is consistent with your brand. As well, because you are a brand, the concept of “Seeing” goes beyond your primary web presence and extends to any social media channels that you might. Make sure the visual story hangs together across all platforms.
How many of your customers can clearly articulate what you do? Creating consistent messaging and using that messaging across the board is more than half the battle. What are the words they use to colour their experiences? Are you listening to what they have to say and using that information to make your company better? Company culture should inform this messaging, which leads us to the next category.
There are multiple avenues for how your customers hear from and about you, many of which are within your control. One way is through your advertising and promotional content. Your marketing department likely has this aspect of representing the brand buttoned down, but what about when a customer calls you? Your auto attendant and IVR need to reflect your overall image. Think of every means by which a customer hears from you. Whether it’s text, video, audio or graphics, they need to be hearing the same message.
This may seem obvious, but you need to think about what it is that you want your customers to do. If you run a platform or utility site, make sure that you take usability into account when designing layout to create seamless navigation to encourage better workflow. A customer should never have to wonder about what to do next. Even so, providing easily accessible step-by-step guidance in the form of video tutorials, text-based knowledge articles and helpful Q&A forums will also bolster your efforts in this regard. Everyone learns differently, so using a variety of media to aid a customer in taking the appropriate steps for an effortless user experience is important.
To glean information about the customer experience, you need to join the conversation and engage customers in a variety of places. Remember, also, to keep an ear to the ground for customer discussions taking place outside of traditional channels. One way of taking the pulse of a customer’s feelings is to regularly survey people who have purchased something from you. By doing this, you can learn who your champions are, who may be indifferent, and also people who might need a little extra TLC.
Mapping It Out
One of the best ways to bring these ideas to life is by using a whiteboard. At the center of your board, draw your customer (just a smiling face will do.) Then, create separate areas around the customer image where you can, in an interactive team format, jot words down related to Seeing, Saying, Hearing, Doing and Feeling. Once you have gone through all the senses, take a picture of your Customer Empathy Map so that you have a record of it. Keep that picture close at hand as you continue to develop your customer interaction strategies and tactics.
With an empathy map in hand, creating customer-centric processes becomes a fairly straightforward exercise that ultimately leads to better customer engagement. If you aren’t yet using one to unleash the business potential within your Salesforce.com data, now’s the time to get started.
David Ciccarelli is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Voices.com, an industry-leading website that connects businesses with professional voice talent. Since founding the company, David has helped connect over 125,000 voice actors with clients like ABC, NBC, Google, Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo. David is the author of Voice Acting For Dummies and a sought-after speaker.