Have you heard of buyer personas?

A real understanding of your customers is absolutely crucial in delivering the customer experience people want. Too many organisations think they understand them, base their knowledge on old intel or make assumptions rather than delving a little deeper….but that will only get you so far.

A buyer persona is a ‘customer profile,’ the design of which encourages you to gain the level of understanding you’ll need to work out what a customer really wants. The idea is that most businesses will map out a few different personas that, between them, will represent the majority of their customer base – they’ll then work out which of these personas are the most important to start with, and their findings will inform their processes.

One of the key things about buyer personas is that you’re really trying to understand what people’s motives are for behaving the way they do. What emotions do they feel about things, and what are their circumstances? A great example taken from our Customer Journey Mapping whitepaper references someone who gets on a train, and the fact that (in the majority of cases) people don’t actually want to use the train; they use the train because they want to get home to their families, to a location for an event or they want to get to a business meeting because they want to win a deal. Understanding someone’s real motives for doing what they do can make such a huge difference, because it allows you to tailor your services taking all of that into account.

In terms of using what you’ve found through buyer profiling to optimize your processes, you need to evaluate them as if you’re that person. Are there any parts or ways in which you’re delivering your service that could annoy/frustrate/upset them? Are you making it clear that you can address what you’ve identified as being important to them? I’ve referenced Customer Journey Mapping above and that’s the process you need to go through – without doing that, there’s little value to the insight.

Now of course, given what Unify do I’m mainly thinking about the benefits of this in the context of a call centre. How could you benefit from understanding your buyers to this level?

When thinking about call flows, the way in which you route your calls, the channels you make available to your customers (and when) etc., just think how much you could be upsetting your customers if you’re getting it wrong. If your average customer has very little time to make contact with you because of their lifestyle, their circumstances and the order of their priorities in life then they’re not going to be willing to sit in a queue on the phone for an hour – how could you amend your call routing and/or allocate your resources differently to reduce this wait time? When do they want to speak to you? Would they prefer to liaise with you via email instead because it’s more convenient, in which case your resources will need to be assigned accordingly? That’s why it matters; you will actually really understand what it is they require, what their circumstances are and what is important to them if you’ve been through these processes.

For help getting started with buyer personas, I like Hubspot’s guides and templates which you can access here. With regards to journey mapping, this Customer Journey Mapping infographic is a great place to start – or you can request a call and we’ll give you need a hand.