Shoes, Spark Plugs and Satisfaction ... Online
We listened for a year and learned an awful lot. We energized our company to take action by creating user personas, or generalized background stories behind the common customer segments. Illustrating our “first date” customer, for example, helped the company — at all levels — understand our first-time buyers’ needs, wants and what specifically they were looking for infoUSA to fulfill. In contrast, our “on again/off again” customer helped us realize how different buying cycles really are from customer to customer.
This insight helped us triage obstacles to online sales and innovate our online experience with the items that would have the most impact on customer satisfaction, including: improved mail merge functionality, new search flows, tailored shopping carts, technological improvements and the addition of infoUSA’s Customer Analyzer, which takes a list of the best customers and instantly provides new prospects just like them.
The results: Online revenue more than doubled over the course of this year from listening and improving. (Note that our growth online didn't result in a decline in offline revenue. In fact, offline sales rose as well.) Customer satisfaction scores rose almost two full points on a 10-point scale.
How can you do the same? It’s simpler than you think. Try a model like this:
Step 1: Understand your customers. Talk to them. Start small; we did. After 350 or so phone interviews, you can have 90 percent confidence in the results with a standard deviation of +/- 5 percent. In short, if you ask 350 customers the same question, you have a 90 percent chance of seeing the same response breakdown, give or take a handful of them.
Step 2: Envision how they’ll interact with your product(s). Think about the full benefit to the customers. Is the benefit what you’re selling, or is it what they’ll do with what you’re selling? Mapping out this full interaction helps you find ways to increase satisfaction simply by taking a broader, more supportive role.