Creating Buyer Personas to Improve Customer Experience
By Ron Welty, Founder & Chief Client Officer
Meet Michael. Michael is a senior sales manager for a national brand. He’s in his mid-40s, holds an MBA, and has been with his current company for over 10 years. With so many associates to keep track of—not to mention his own goals to meet—Michael wants to find a way to recognize his top performers across the country. He’s invested in a few performance tracking programs over the past few years but hasn’t found one that’s manageable in his already-busy workload. Oh, and by the way, Michael isn’t an actual person. Michael is an example of a buyer persona.
A buyer persona (or customer persona) is a profile that represents your typical or target customer, based on market research. Well-crafted buyer personas allow you to personalize the customer experience at scale by grouping your customer base by similar attributes. Learn how to create buyer personas and use them to improve customer experience at your organization.
Creating Buyer Personas
The idea is to imagine a buyer persona as if he or she were a real customer, so you can personalize experiences to them. These experiences should address the specific needs and wants of your customers. Different groups of people may buy your products or services for different reasons, so you’ll likely need to create more than one buyer persona.
When creating your buyer personas, each one should include:
- Basic demographic information: Use website, social media, and market research to collect data like age, location, and income.
- Behaviors: How do your customers communicate? What tone do your customers take? What activities do your customers enjoy?
- Goals: What does your customer hope to achieve?
- Pain points: The flipside of your goals. What problems or hassles are your customers trying to solve?
- Buying patterns: How do your customers prefer to shop? When are your customers most active?
Remember, a list of characteristics does not a buyer persona make. A buyer persona needs to be a realistic description of a person. It’s a lot easier to personalize an experience for Michael than it is to “manager.”
Using Personas to Improve Customer Experience
Understanding your customer is paramount to improving experiences. Here’s how buyer personas can help your brand improve customer experiences.
Engage with your customers at the right time.
A good way to think about buyer personas is to think about the customer journey. One buyer may just be starting to consider the product or service you offer, whereas another buyer is a repeat customer who might like to know about other products or services you offer. Timing is key here. A potential customer may feel overwhelmed if they’re presented with too many options from the get-go, compared to a repeat customer who would welcome a more personalized experience. Use your customer journey to ensure you’re delivering the right message to the right customer at the right time.
Customize your omnichannel experiences.
Nowadays, every business should have omnichannel reach. It’s important to craft your experiences to the different audiences on each medium your business employs.
For example, the majority of your brick-and-mortar customers may be in their 40s or 50s, whereas your online orders may predominately come from Millennials. While Millennials, for example, may prefer to dine in a restaurant with low lighting and loud music, if they’re just ordering take-out from your app, then you don’t necessarily want to cater to them in your brick-and-mortar restaurant. Customize the messaging, buyer journey, and overall experience to the different personas on each platform.
Solidify your brand message.
Delivering consistent messaging can be challenging for large companies who employ many associates and may even have multiple locations. It’s important for all your associates to be on the same page to avoid delivering mixed experiences.
Mixed messages have the power to negatively impact customer the experience. In True Story: How to Combine Story and Action to Transform Your Business, author Ty Montague says, “The best-run and most successful companies convey one clear, understandable story through every action they take.” Make understanding and telling your company’s brand vision, mission, values, and corporate messaging a shared responsibility across the whole organization to attract and retain customers.
Improve products or services.
Buyer personas can help you understand what your customer likes and dislikes. This information will then allow you to identify any missing gaps or make any modifications or improvements to provide an enhanced customer experience.
For example, a health-conscious restaurant might create buyer personas as a way to test and refine their menu. While there may be nutritional dishes for the fitness nut and meatless options for the vegetarian, a vegan buyer persona might be turned off by a menu that has few vegan plates. Taking a closer look at who your customers really are will show them you understand and care about their needs and wants.
Bringing Your Buyer Personas to Life
Whether it’s in person, online, or over the phone, IntelliShop’s mystery shopping programs can leverage your buyer personas to test initiatives, provide quality assurance, improve customer experience, and more. Our field evaluators think, act, and shop just like your real-life customers to help you understand exactly how customers interact with your brand. We’ll track the entire customer journey and present our findings to you in a detailed, actionable InSite™ report to create a strategy that will help you define buyer personas and improve customer experience.
Whether you’re our Michael, Lauren, Maria, or Paul (you may recognize these buyer personas from our homepage), contact us today to see how you can use personas to enhance the customer experience at your organization.