4 Reasons Your Business Needs Customer Personas

4 Reasons Your Business Needs Customer Personas

If you’re not familiar with customer personas, you may be unaware of all the reasons your business needs customer personas. Customer personas are useful to many aspects of the business process, including selling, marketing, user experience, and customer experience. Below are four reasons why you should develop customer personas for your business if you haven’t done so already.

What Are Customer Personas?

Customer personas are profiles of individual customers that represent a key demographic of your customer base. They often include such information as:

  • Name
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Race
  • Brief Story
  • Needs
  • Frustrations

An Example Persona

Here’s an example persona for a route-planning app:

An example persona named Robbie, published to 4 Reasons Your Business Needs Customer Personas

Reasons Your Business Needs Customer Personas: #1 Selling

The first reason you need customer personas for your business is selling. Not all customers are alike. Each different type of customer you’re trying to attract has different needs, wants, and frustrations you can help solve. In order to understand how to sell your product or service to each individual you encounter, you need to be able to quickly analyze who they are and what makes them tick.

Consider asking your sales leads questions like the following:

  1. What is your biggest frustration as a [specific type of person]?
  2. What is your greatest need right now as a [specific type of person]?
  3. What solutions have you tried in the past to solve your [specific problem]?
  4. Tell me a story about your average day when you are doing [a specific task].

Questions like these can help you understand how to cater your product or service to different customers so that you learn how to serve each individual that comes your way. Once you get enough answers to these questions, you can then group the answers into different categories and develop unique personas.

Reasons Your Business Needs Customer Personas: #2 Marketing

Of course, in order to sell your product or service to a customer, you must first reach them. Similar to the selling process, marketing is all about reaching specific groups of individuals. Whether you’re marketing over Facebook or on a local radio station, you need to make sure that you’re reaching the types of people who match your customer personas.

This is where digital marketing really shines, of course, because on platforms like social media you can target ads directly to key demographics and behaviors. With traditional advertising, you get put in a single channel with a large audience, but there’s no guarantee potential customers will ever really engage with your ad.

Regardless: knowing the four or five specific types of people you’re trying to reach can mean the difference between a successful marketing campaign and a big waste of money.

Reasons Your Business Needs Customer Personas: #3 User Experience

Another reason to develop customer persons is user experience, or how easy it is for customers to engage with your key touchpoints as a business. Rather than having a website, mobile presence, social media presence, etc. that is designed for everybody, in other words, you should design these touchpoints for specific people: your customers!

Developing personas can help you design each touchpoint to appeal to the specific types of people you’re trying to reach. This process should start at the level of search engine optimization and should extend throughout the look, feel, and features of each touchpoint. The more you know about your customers and their wants, needs, and frustrations, the more you will be able to tailor your touchpoints to engage them.

Of course, nothing beats usability testing with live users for optimizing your touchpoints for specific types of customers!

Reasons Your Business Needs Customer Personas: #4 Customer Experience

Finally, customer personas can help you refine the entire customer experience. If you think your customer experience–meaning the entire process a customer goes through from the moment they first engage with your business to the moment you earn their loyalty as a repeat customer–should work the same for every person, you’re wrong! The modern customer experience is all about personalization, about making every individual feel like your customer experience was built just for them.

How do you achieve this? By tailoring all the touchpoints of your customer experience to each individual persona. Sometimes, yes, this means having different campaigns for different types of customers, but many times it means making sure that the landing page you just developed doesn’t alienate your main customer types!

Regardless: you should be considering every touchpoint in your customers’ journey from their perspective. Understanding what motivates a specific type of person to engage with your business is key to understanding how to earn their business, and hopefully their loyalty, for life.

3 Reasons You Might Need Help Documenting Business Processes

3 Reasons You Might Need Help Documenting Business Processes

If you haven’t done it before, you might find documenting business processes to be very tedious. This task, however, is also very necessary, especially as your business grows.

Just think about all the business processes that have to occur every day to keep your company running. They might include, according to Simplicable:

The specific ways you carry out the day-to-day operations of your business will depend on your goals, of course, but the point is: there are a lot of things you need to do to keep your business running, not to mention flourishing!

At this point you might be thinking: okay, sure, but I know how to do all those things. I know how to run my company. I’ve been doing it for X number of years!

The question, though, is: do other people you work with know your company as well as you do? Remember, running a company is a team effort. The real reason to document your business process is so that others can help you achieve your goals: partners, stakeholders, employees, etc. Below are three reasons why you should be documenting your business processes and some potential consequences of not doing so.

Reason #1 For Documenting Business Processes: Avoiding Confusion

The first reason to document your business processes is to avoid confusion. No matter how your company is structured, whether it’s a small group of five people or a large corporation with multiple departments: your team will spend at least some of their time confused if you don’t have key processes written down.

This is never more true than when onboarding a new team member, which is an essential activity if you want to grow. Whether they’re your new IT manager or a customer service rep, if they start out without documentation of their responsibilities, key workflows, and other important information, they’ll have to learn all of this on their own!

From the employee side, this typically feels like a lack of training, which is one of the #1 reasons for employee turnover. And you can only cram so much information into that 2-day or 5-day orientation. They’re going to need a reference guide to fulfill their duties! And if they don’t have it, they will be confused until they figure out how to operate, which will cost you time, productivity, and money.

The opposite of confusion, of course, is clarity. When team members are crystal clear on the goals they need to achieve and the best way to achieve them, then they perform better! They also need to learn to operate on their own, however, which means they need documentation they can reference in their day-to-day.

Reason #2 For Documenting Business Processes: Avoiding Waste

Another important reason to document all your business processes is to avoid waste. Waste happens in a business when people put forth efforts that don’t result in positive outcomes. Imagine if individual salespeople in your company use a sub-optimal method of getting sales from customers. Now magnify that by your entire sales team. Will your sales increase or decrease?

You don’t want individual team members wasting their time, which is one of your most valuable resources. Highly-trained professionals don’t come cheap. If you’re paying them to waste time, then you’re also wasting money.

The opposite of waste, is, of course, efficiency. If your IT manager understands how to maintain all your business technologies in the most efficient way possible, that frees him or her up to focus on the important thing: business growth. The human brain can only retain so much information, however, which is why documentation was invented: to hold the information we need to reference to perform a task better.

Reason #3 For Documenting Business Processes: Avoiding Redundancy

One final reason for documenting business processes is avoiding redundancy. Redundancy happens a lot in many different types of businesses when individual team members replicate the efforts of other team members. This can happen especially in the realm of customer service. Whatever kind of product or service your business delivers, this product or service has to go through many hands before it reaches the customer. And even after the customer purchases it, you probably have a separate support team in case the customer experiences problems.

But how do you know that all these people are working harmoniously to produce the best experience for the customer? Documentation can help with this process by informing individual team members as to their part in the greater whole. If individual team members understand not only their specific duties, but how these duties contribute to the overall customer experience, they are much more likely to meet and exceed your expectations.

We’ve been continually surprised over the years by how many of our clients “wing it,” using meetings, emails, and other temporary forms of communication to keep their team members in the loop. If you talk to anyone who has grown a business to a large scale, however, they understand the power of documentation.

Unless you want to spend significant time orienting confused employees, ensuring individual team members are on-task, and trying to figure out if different parts of your company are working at cross-purposes, you need quality documentation that can provide a crystal clear understanding of all your core business processes to every member of your team.