Most of us entrepreneurial types have heard the adage “know your customer.” It seems like common sense, especially when you’re trying to take your business to the next level. Because customer loyalty comes with a true understanding of how you solve their problems better than anyone else.
Too often, however, we guess about who our customers are. (Spoiler alert: I’m gonna show you how to stop doing that today.)
But instead of guessing, what if you really knew your customer? I mean you listened to the specific pain points, the obstacles, and the goals—and offered the perfect solution. Then the business engagement would come naturally.
For example, if you sell a “How to Flip Houses” training course, your prospect would think that you’ve walked in their shoes before. They’d understand you’ve faced their obstacles—and discovered the path that will fast track their success. It would just feel right.
The challenge, then, is how to get to know your customer!
And what I’m talking about here is going deep with your prospects and customers.
That includes understanding their pain points. Practically immersing yourself in their lives. Learning their particular lingo. Hanging out where they hang out.
Sound daunting… and maybe creepy?
Look, if you study any great entrepreneur, that person invariably became a fly on the wall at customer events or forged bonds with customers to see things from their perspective.
This all sounds great, but HOW do you do it in the digital world?
The answer is simple – and efficient:
Leverage the power of Voice of Customer market research.
Voice of Customer research (aka VOC) is a market research technique that focuses on customers’ (and prospects’) wants and needs. I’m referring specifically to actionable data that includes a target market’s desires, pain points, preferences, expectations, and aversions.
Once VOC data has been captured (via methods I’ll touch on below), you can deploy it in all of your marketing messaging. Use it on your website, in emails, social media—EVERYWHERE.
The outcome is an exact match between what your prospects and customers are saying they want and need . . . and your positioning as the perfect solution.
Quick disclaimer here: VOC is a huge undertaking—too huge for just this one email. So I’m merely introducing it here because it is ESSENTIAL to an entrepreneur’s success.
How to conduct Voice of Customer research:
Some research methods I list here, such as surveys and interviews, require detailed planning, while others require nothing more than structured listening in on conversations.
The most common VOC methods today include . . .
- Surveys from your website or via email. No need to reinvent the wheel here, because companies like Survey Monkey and Qualaroo have already created thousands of surveys you can use.
- Customer interviews to discover how customers feel about a product, service, or company overall. Some of the best quotes and sound bites come from this source—and can turn out to be gold in your marketing.
Quick case study on customer interviews:
Todd Herman, WSJ best-selling author of The Alter Ego Effect, believes so deeply in this method that it’s part of his onboarding process for clients. (If you’re not familiar with Todd, he helps elite athletes, leaders, entrepreneurs, and public figures create a “super self” with his programs, training, and tools.)
Todd’s process involves asking new customers a series of specific questions about things like:
-> Their biggest pain points
-> Why they bought from him
-> What they want to achieve, i.e., how they define success
Then he takes the gathered data to identify the most common words and phrases used by his customers . . . and turns it into “gold” for his marketing copy.
And the feedback Todd receives? A ton of messages from relieved prospects and customers saying that he understands their “world” unlike anyone else.
Pretty good outcome, right?
Moving on with VOC . . .
- Online forums exist for virtually every product or service you can think of. They’re a treasure trove of customer feedback. Just check out Reddit—people are talking about everything!
- Reviews on Amazon, Yelp, Angie’s List—they’re invaluable for getting insights on how a target market feels about your product or even an entire industry.
- Question and answer sites such as Quora have engagement for literally any question imaginable. And the quality and depth of the answers can be surprisingly good.
- Blog comments are real-time feedback that can be great for VOC. But, as we all know, you’ve got to filter out the haters and trolls to get to the good stuff.
- Social media is the no-brainer of course for gathering intel. The vast number of opinions here alone can be overwhelming. But look no further than your favorite platform to join the conversation or monitor what’s being said.
Believe me when I say there’s no faster, scientific way to meet your customers where they are than a hefty dose of VOC research. And I’m sure I’ve missed some other channels to gather data.
The point is to get your focus on the customers . . . to really get to know them . . . and deliver what they’re looking for.
Meeting just the basics on VOC will make your business transactions smoother—and put an end to wrangling.
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