A seasoned customer experience, insights and marketing professional, startup advisor Kirsty Traill joined us for the latest edition of Giants Weekly to discuss how startups can think like their customers and deliver unparalleled customer experiences.

Watch Kirsty’s presentation in full below, or read on to learn her advice for understanding customers, building a comprehensive customer journey and why measurement should drive all customer decision-making.

Watch Kirsty's presentation in full here.

Getting Clear on your Customer

The first step to cultivating a strong customer understanding is to build a robust customer persona. A customer persona should encompass a photo of the archetypal customer, information about their background, demographics, identifiers, goals and challenges. It’s not just about listing characteristics eg; "uses Facebook", but how the user persona uses Facebook. This will help you find the opportunities to nudge people along the buying cycle faster and wrapping your sales and marketing initiatives around where your target persona is finding information.

You should aim to have no more than five customer personas (any more and you’ll be trying to satisfy too many types of people) and you should review your personas regularly.

Customer Journey Mapping

Once you’ve dug deeply into your customer persona and understood their key characteristics, goals and challenges, the next step is to align your messaging and your content to these personas. You should be aiming to remove any content that does not help move your customer along this journey, getting really clear and focussed.

Developing a content strategy to plan effective content is key. Effective content should provide a clear value to both the brand and the customer, have an intrinsic value as a standalone asset, and functional as part of a connected ecosystem (aka your customer journey)

So how do you map a customer journey?

  1. Define your customer personas
  2. Define the journey stages and Wow moments
  3. Look at the data for pain points, and talk to customer-facing teams and customers; the best way to find out what customers are thinking
  4. Prioritise, implement and measure!

Remember there’s a lot of opportunity to drive engagement and loyalty after the purchase, so include post-purchase stages to your content strategy to take advantage of this. There are also many simple, easy changes that can save a significant amount of money and deliver a great experience to customers.

Customer Dashboard

Measuring your customer experience and understanding where to deep dive in should be guided by a set of benchmarks across Awareness, Evaluation, Acquisition, Engagement, Advocacy and Expansion/Churn. Kirsty recommends measuring against industry and category benchmarks and looking for any moments in the customer experience that seem low or have an uncharacteristic score. Then, dig deeper with your customer teams and customers to work out the issue behind this information.

Developing a great customer experience is one thing, but measuring and optimising it is another. Make sure you’re continuing to test, evolve and always think like your customer.