How well do you know your customers?

Chloe Bell
By Chloë Bell, Content Journalist

You’ve no doubt heard the saying that 'the customer is always right'. But while this may not always be the case, customers are incredibly important to all business owners.  

No matter how big or small the business, it’s nothing without its customers. 

That’s why it’s a good idea to build a strong relationship with your customers and taking some time out to get to know them, especially those who are most engaged with your business.  

Not only will this help make sure they feel appreciated and let them know you’re grateful for their custom, but it could also go a long way towards boosting your business sales and reputation in the long run. 

Getting to know your customers doesn’t necessarily mean keeping them chatting at the till or when taking an order from them, it can be something as simple as a well-timed social post or something as involved as hosting an event. 

Here are eight ideas to help you get to know your customers better. 

How to learn more about your customers 

1. Get social on social media 

Social media is a great way to easily tap into your client base and see how customers react to your posts and your company as a whole.  

By building your reputation online, you are showcasing the best of your business to your customers and potentially attracting more.  

When posting to your social channels, try out different tones, times, and techniques to test the waters and find out what your customers respond to and what they might care about most. Once you hone in on this you can make an effort to publish posts that are more relevant to them. 

For example, say you run a local nail salon owner and posts about your new nail art service are getting a few more likes and comments than usual. It's pretty safe to assume that your customers like the look of this new service and want to hear more about it, so you can tailor your future posts and take note of what your customers actually like.  

Remember to use a good mix of images or videos to help showcase everything your business has to offer. 

Business owner in shop checking Instagram social media account on her phone.

2. Ask questions 

Using social media to your advantage directly leads onto tip number two and that is to ask your customers questions. Asking their opinion really goes a long way to making them feel like you value them and genuinely care about what they have to say.  

You can ask questions by carrying out polls on social media platforms like Instagram or Twitter, or you could ask for their opinions via a newsletter if you have one set up to send out.  

Giving people something to think about is a great way to engage people, so it's definitely something you should consider. Questions don’t have to be dead specific either, you can just post a poll about something relevant you’ve seen in the news and see what their views are on it. For example, if you own a shop, you could create a poll that asks if customers will still wear masks after the 19th July when legal Covid restrictions end.  

3. Project positivity   

If you own a shop - whether a butcher, baker, candlestick maker, hip new microbrewery, or whatever -always make sure there’s a friendly face to greet customers as they come in.  

Being polite costs nothing and your positive attitude can help boost business in the long run. When a customer comes in to browse, always remember to ask them if they need any help. But remember, you must get the timing right (give them a little time to take a look at things) and make sure only one member of staff asks them once (too many questions and too many people asking them could drive them out). 

If they decide to purchase, ask them why they chose the item they did. You could maybe mention another product they might like for next time or just ask them how their day is going. People respond well to others taking an interest in them and you’ll be steadily building that vital customer relationship. 

4. Embrace the power of surveys  

Surveys are a great way to find out exactly what your customers are thinking, so why not get started on creating one? Free sites like TypeForm are easy to use and can really help you make some engaging questionnaires or, if you want to go it alone, good old-fashioned Microsoft Word usually does the trick. 

Have a think about what information you’d ideally like to get out of the survey and base your questions around that. And remember that while a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ will sometimes be enough, it might be worth asking some open-ended questions to get even more info. 

You could even ask respondents face-to-face and get an honest answer, but sometimes anonymous surveys are the best way to gage actual opinions.  

The most common way to send out surveys is via email to your newsletter contacts but you could also print a few out on paper and have them in your premises for customers to take and fill out.  

The survey doesn’t have to be that detailed, you can simply as questions like: 

  • What do you think of the service today? 
  • How can we improve? 
  • Was there anything that you didn’t like about your experience today? 

If you run an online business, you could team up with Trustpilot to encourage and aggregate feedback after every purchase or trip to your website. It’s also worth trying to get customers to leave reviews on Google too, as this can really help boost your presence in the search engine’s local listings. 

Two people seated at a table talking

5. Read your reviews  

Take some time to research your business online, head over to Trustpilot to browse through your reviews and read your social media comments.  

It's important to take note of both the positive and negative reviews because then you can be clear on what is working for your customers and what isn't.  

If possible, always to leave a reply to any reviews – if people have taken the time to leave feedback, you should take the time to respond. And make sure your replies are diplomatic, if you start an online slanging match you’ll definitely come out worst. 

Your customers will feel more valued and listened to if you’re taking on board their suggestions and making worthwhile changes in your business. It benefits you to listen to your target audience, your company will be able to grow and attract more business and the customers will get a more enjoyable experience. Win win! 

6. Plan an event 

Hosting an event is a great way for you to welcome your customers in and get to know them face to face. It’s something that is usually done as a way to launch a small business, but there’s nothing stopping you from running an event whenever you choose. 

Now that Covid restrictions are set to end, why not hold an open day where people can come into your shop or company and really see what you’re about.  

You could hold some free classes that are relevant to your business and draw people in that way. Say you run a local gym and want to create a buzz about your new facilities, you could offer some free PT sessions or guided tours around your gym to really show what’s on offer. A 

Again, use this opportunity to ask your customers questions and you’ll be able to find out what the majority of them want out of your business and adapt to that. 

7. Create a customer profile  

It’s a good idea to take note of what exactly makes your customers tick, the good news is you can probably get an idea from carrying out some or all of the tips above. By simply taking note of customers leaving comments, interacting with them on social media and in real life, you can create a profile of your standard customer.  

Although every shopper is different, there will usually be a common denominator between most of your customers, they will share an interest in your products, marketing, tone or business values. When you uncover this common theme then you can better understand your audience and get to know your customers. 

Woman wearing black and white checked shirt looking at white board showing mind map with post it notes

8. Reward customer loyalty  

Why not put on some competitions or offer a free gift. Incentives are popular marketing tools and they can really help you show appreciation to your customers. You could offer a discount for your products, offer out a free gift when they shop with you or create a loyalty scheme like many coffee shops. 

If you can create a mobile loyalty scheme using a phone app, this could help you gain even more insights. To find out more, check out appypie

By trying out incentives you are rewarding your loyal customers but you are also testing the waters to see what they respond to.