Anticipating Your Customers’ Next Move – What, Why & How

/ 24 February 2022

It’s commonly cited that acquisition costs five times more than retention. Whether or not that specific stat is still true, one thing’s for sure – repeat business is vital to success. It’s practically impossible for organizations to succeed on new customers alone.

In other words, you want a growing base of customers that keep coming back for more. To achieve that, you need to keep existing customers happy. The problem? Most customers won’t think twice about jumping ship.

If they’re not happy with something – be it customer support, product range, or just price – it’s much easier for them to find another company that provides the same as, or close to, what you do.

So, how do you stop that? The answer is by truly getting to know your customers and anticipating their next move. Read on to find out how…

Do you really know your customers?

“The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing” – Socrates

What Socrates said almost two and a half millennia ago still holds true today. Ask most businesses whether they know their customers and you’ll get a resounding “yes!”

They know about their age, gender, marital status, income, education, employment – and probably plenty of other demographics too. But do you really know someone just by being able to say they’re a 42-year-old married woman, educated to degree level in a full-time job?

For anyone in doubt, the answer is no. Customers are far more than a profile made up of facts and figures. They have specific wants, needs, and preferences that determine how they engage with, interact with, and develop a relationship with your company.

To (wildly) paraphrase Socrates, the wisest brands are those that admit they don’t know their customers – and continually try to find out more. These are the brands that are best-placed to anticipate their customers’ next move – and here’s why it matters…

The power of knowing your customers

The benefits of knowing your target audience starts with acquisition. Just over three quarters (76%) of customers expect brands to understand their needs. That refers to both the functionality and value they’re looking for in your products, as well as the service that goes with it.

By understanding what they want, you’re better placed to tailor customer service to their preferences. A whopping 91% of consumers say they’re more likely to make a repeat purchase after a positive experience, with just over two thirds (67%) saying they would pay more for a great customer experience.

Digging even deeper, you can get to know your customers’ values. This is the pinnacle of knowing your customers, with 89% saying they stay loyal to brands that share their values.

Getting to know your customers

So, how do you get to know your customers? The most common method is by listening to their voices. Asking for feedback is a simple, age-old method of finding out how customers feel about the service you provide – whether it’s by email, over the phone, or a pen and paper survey in store.

You only have to look at Microsoft’s State of Customer Service report to see why that’s important. 77% of customers have a favorable view of brands that ask for customer feedback.

That said, feedback has its limitations. For one, just 52% of customers believe that brands actually take action on feedback provided by customers.

On top of that, it’s typically a one-off interaction. Customers provide feedback after a transaction has taken place, when their decision might already be made. If the feedback is critical rather than positive, their preferences are only useful to shape your services for future customers.

Rather than anticipating your customers’ next move, you’ll be reacting to their last move and hoping for better next time.

A proactive approach

To stay ahead of the game, brands need to take a proactive approach to customer attitudes, behavior, wants, and needs. Rather than one-off interactions, this means creating an ongoing relationship where customers’ opinions matter from the very start – not just at the end!

Gamification is a great way of achieving this. Put simply, it’s the integration of game thinking and mechanics into non-game experiences to increase customer engagement. Gamification creates a two-way value exchange, where customers want to engage with your brand because of a fun, interactive experience. Our work in the casual dining sector is a great way to see this in action.

Zizzi customers

Zizzi wanted to obtain behavior and preference data from their customers that went beyond basic feedback. To achieve this, we built a bespoke board game, with customers initially encouraged by the opportunity to win a holiday to Sardinia.

Users got a number of dice rolls each day. To get more dice rolls, they had the option of social sharing or completing one of two Zizzi quizzes. ‘All About You’, focused on key demographic information, while ‘What Foodie are You?’, dug deeper into eating preferences.

The second quiz was of particular interest in terms of anticipating customers’ next move, as Zizzi discovered that a significant portion of respondents were interested in vegan, vegetarian, low-calorie, and dairy-free options. This allowed them not only to better target those customers with items from the existing menu, but actually introduce a number of new menu options tailored to their preferences, like vegan pizzas.

As well as preferences, the board game gave Zizzi insights into customer behavior. By monitoring how customers interacted with marketing messages and particular prizes, they had a better idea of what worked and what didn’t. That allowed them to optimize marketing messages and improve brand loyalty going forward.

It’s your move…

Want to know more about your customers so you can always stay one step ahead? 3radical can make it happen with bespoke customer engagement solutions that create a valuable two-way relationship. Contact us today to request a demo.

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