Hints and tips
3 Things Your Customers Expect You to Know About Them
Posted on by Jo Shaw
Estimated read time: 6 mins
As consumers, we’ve become a lot more demanding over the last few years. When we deal with a business, whether it be going to a restaurant, opening a bank account or just buying our groceries, we expect our experience to be slicker, more convenient and more tailored to us as individuals than ever before.
Why is that?
Mainly, because thanks to advances in technology and to big data, it is now more possible than ever before to provide customers with just that type of experience!
This is a huge opportunity for businesses to stand out and grow loyalty. On the flipside, if you get it wrong – it’s a huge risk to brand and reputation alike.
So what DO customers expect us to know?
Any information that they have already given you in the past
Well, duh! When you put it like that it sounds pretty obvious doesn’t it? If a customer tells you something about themselves, then it seems reasonable for them to expect you to know that information in future dealings with them. But experience tells us, that doesn’t always happen and from a business perspective, it isn’t always as simple to pull off as a customer might imagine.
Why is it so important? Well it shows that you’ve listened to your customer and that they haven’t wasted their time in giving you their valued personal details.
It also shows a degree of competence to be able to take those details and weave them into your customer experience (and a lack of competence when these details appear to have fallen on deaf ears…).
Consider the huge difference in customer experience between these two scenarios. In the first instance, a customer receives an email from your business. You greet them by name and the email is telling them about the products that they have shown most interest in. Your customer reads the email and feels like your business gets them. They click ‘buy’….
In the second scenario, the email they receive gets their name wrong. They’re Joanne – not Joseph! To add insult to injury, the email is telling them about your latest line in aftershaves. Not something that Joanne is remotely interested in. With a roll of her eyes, she hovers over the unsubscribe button and clicks ‘bye’.
Any previous transactions they’ve had with you
As the example above shows, it’s important to know what a customer has told you about themselves directly, but it’s also key to know what their behaviour has told you – what have they bought previously? Which web pages did they linger on longest?
By understanding this, you can tailor their experience. You can show them more of what you know they’re interested in and less of what they’re not.
This has the double benefit of improving the experience for your customers, whilst also maximising your sales.
In addition, having this view of your customers’ previous transactions with your business will make life a lot easier should they contact you with queries or complaints. Again, imagine the difference in customer service when someone calls to complain about an item you’ve sent them. The more information you have about that transaction, the better service you can offer to that customer – and the better chance you have to turn that complaint into a positive experience.
Any correspondence they’ve had with you
Speaking of customer queries and complaints…. Your customers expect you to have all their correspondence on record. If they contact you on multiple occasions, they don’t want to explain the full story each time. They want to start where they left off the last time. It’s not an unreasonable expectation – but again, it’s surprising how often this doesn’t happen.
The larger the business, the more of a challenge this can be. Your customer might well be speaking to a different person each time they contact you. Unfortunately, this isn’t generally an excuse that will get you any brownie points with them if you have no record of your previous conversation!
So where possible, keep previous conversations on record – whether they took place by telephone, email, letter or in person. Make these records available to any staff who may have contact with your customer in the future.
In cases where customers have contacted you with a specific request – take action on this! Don’t wait for them to have to chase you. Delight them by ensuring you follow up appropriately.
Big data means that the information you can know about your customers is almost limitless. The opportunities to optimise and tailor their experience are huge. However, the information your customers expect you to know is much more simple. It’s achievable and if you just focus on these three fundamentals then you won’t go far wrong in your customers’ eyes.
Are looking to grow your customers this year, or to ensure the data you have on them is up to date? Speak to one of our Experian B2B Prospector Account Managers today by calling 0870 012 1111 and see how they can assist with your data management.
Updated September 2018