8 Ways Your Customers Can Give You a Competitive Edge

Here’s how analytics about your customers can help boost your company

Competitive-Advantage

In a global economy that’s becoming more competitive each year, every customer (and customer’s opinion) counts. Every customer interaction counts. Every dollar spent on keeping customers happy and coming back counts. Additionally, every leader needs a strong, working knowledge of customer analytics. Companies can’t afford to have “black hole” departments, like sales and marketing for example, where costs and outcomes are fuzzy to those on the outside, says Jeff Sauro, author of Customer Analytics For Dummies (Wiley, $29.99).

“Your company’s success and even its survival depend on attracting customers and keeping them happy. And proceeding on guesswork and assumptions just isn’t a viable strategy,” he adds. “Everything is measured and evaluated these days. That means decisions across all departments must be made using solid research and cold, hard numbers. And leaders must understand this data.”

Bottom line: If you know what those numbers (or metrics) are, how to collect them, and how to evaluate what they mean, you will increase your understanding of what drives your customers and increase your company’s competitive edge. You’ll also be better equipped to meet their constantly evolving needs. “Good customer management comes from good customer measurement,” Sauro explains. “The more you know about collecting and interpreting data, the better decisions you’ll be able to make about—and for—your customers.”

[Related: 3 Ways To Stand Out In A Crowded Market]

Sauro’s new book provides working knowledge of how to measure each stage of the customer journey, and how to use the right analytics to understand customer behavior and make key business decisions.

Here, he shares eight things customer analytics can do to help your company:

Develop products customers want. Figuring out what customers want and what they will purchase is the holy grail of product development. Customer analytics offers several methods to help you define and prioritize what features to include in your products.

“For example, one of these methods is a technique called “follow me home,” which I learned while working at Intuit,” Sauro shares. “You literally follow a customer home or to his workplace and then spend the day watching him do his job. Look for pain points and problems that might shine a light on opportunities for improvement.”

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