As Australian retailers react to Amazon’s arrival, SmartCompany magazine offers some simple advice: “Understanding your customers, and their behaviours, is key to the success of your business”.

Customer data doesn’t mean customer understanding

This sounds like common sense, but it’s far from common practice. Many organisations who want to understand their customers, are becoming distracted by the data that’s easy to capture. Quantitative data, like demographics and purchase history are easy to graph. But while this data shows you who the customers are and what they are doing, it’s not very insightful. It can’t inspire action and improved results, because it lacks all important context.

Understanding your customers requires context

Customer understanding comes from asking why? Why your customers buy certain products. Why they chose one brand over another. Why they value service or speed over price. To build this understanding you need to know what customers are thinking and feeling, as well as what they are doing. This requires asking questions, and listening to the words the customers use to answer them. In everyday conversations, we don’t ask questions with multiple choice options! Instead we let people answer in their own words. We want them to express what’s important to them, and how those experiences and priorities made them feel. This is important because it’s this emotional context that drives how most people make most decisions.

How to take action

When reviewing or designing programmes:

  • ask yourselves what your customers (or potential customers) are thinking feeling and doing at each stage of the customer journey
  • look at how you can make that part of the experience faster, simpler, more satisfying or more enjoyable.

By looking at the experience ‘outside-in’, through the eyes of the potential customers, it becomes easier to reach, engage and retain more customers.

About us

MyCustomerLens is for change-makers in the sports and fitness industry. We help clients to hear what people are really saying, understand how they’re really feeling and then take action to influence what they do next. We believe that seeing the experience through the eyes of your current and potential customers, will inspire the actions required to drive customer-led growth.