Small Business

5 ways you can get to know your customers

Customers are the lifeblood of any business, but it’s easy to get so caught up searching for new customers that you stop paying attention to your loyal patrons. (Plus, if you own an online business that doesn’t require face-to-face interaction, the distance between you and your customers can feel especially big.)

That’s why you’ll want to mark your calendars: July 19th is Get to Know Your Customers Day! This day, which falls on the third Thursday of every quarter, is a great opportunity for business owners to double-down on customer care. It’s the perfect reminder to dive into your customers’ world and examine your business from their vantage point.

Why it’s important to know your customers

Knowing basic details about your customers’ location, age, background, and spending habits can help you evolve your business model, devise a more strategic marketing plan, and align your product or services with the right people.

If you sell boots online, for example, and discover that the majority of your customers find you through the internet, you can nix promotional flyers and devote your time and resources to crafting clever email offers and social media posts instead. And if you understand their values and priorities, you can write email and social media copy that doesn’t just persuade them to act, but also resonates emotionally.

Plus, on a personal level, getting to know your customers gives you the tools to provide more high-quality, tailored service, which, in turn, helps you gain your customers’ loyalty and trust.

If you’re unsure where to start, try these five strategies to get to know your customers better.

1. Send surveys

One of the easiest ways to get to know your customers better is by asking them questions. Consider sending your customers an email a few days after they purchase a product or use your services, and invite them to answer a few simple questions about their experience with your business.

These surveys can help determine whether you need to overhaul the way you operate or focus on improving upon what already works.  

2. Host an event

Consider hosting an event so you can interact with your customers in a more intimate, relaxed setting.

If you own a hair salon, for example, you could plan an evening event with champagne, appetizers, and half-off haircuts. Or, if you sell running gear, consider sponsoring a 5k race.

Whatever type of event you plan, make an effort to get to know your customers on a personal level. The primary purpose of hosting an event like this isn’t to gather data, but to form organic, authentic connections with your customers. That said, if you want to keep a record of the people who showed up, encourage customers to RSVP online or fill in an event sign-in sheet.

3. Utilize reviews

Reading customer reviews — whether through a feedback button on the website or online rating platform — is an excellent way to figure out what your customers like and dislike about your business.

Honest, detailed feedback gives you a better idea of what’s working well and what isn’t. Try scanning through your reviews on a weekly or bi-monthly basis to see what your customers appreciate about your service, whether they think your pricing is fair, which areas they’re not satisfied with, and more.

Make a point to respond appropriately to anyone who had a negative experience and thank customers for using your business. Then, using the information in your reviews, create a monthly or quarterly email update for your employees that summarizes the business’ strengths and successes, as well as the areas that need improvement. This will help ensure you’re meeting your customers’ needs.

4. Take advantage of social media

Harness the power of social media to learn more about your customers. Observing patterns can give you information on everything from who follows your business to which products are most popular. From there, you can make small adjustments and experiment with new ways to appeal to your customers.

Many consumers expect brands to be active on social media, so make an effort to reply to customer comments (both negative and positive), field questions, and reach out to loyal customers to share important information.

5. Revamp customer service

Attentive, personalized service can propel your business forward, while poor service can permanently damage your business’ reputation and cost you valuable customers and profits.

Every quarter, use the feedback you receive as a jumping off point to reevaluate your customer service and take stock of what’s working and what isn’t. From there, brainstorm concrete ways you can improve your customer service, whether that involves issuing returns quicker or sending follow-up emails after purchases. Even seemingly small changes, like thanking customers for visiting your shop when they walk out the door, can make a big impact.  

Bottom line: The more thoroughly you understand your customers’ needs, interests, concerns, and motivations, the more insight you’ll have on how to best serve them. It’s a win-win!

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