Understanding your customer – why it is key to delivering the right service in APAC
The move online has transformed how consumers interact with businesses, and opens up completely new markets to companies. However, as you cannot physically see your customer it can make it more difficult to understand them and their motivations, and consequently provide a personalized customer experience.
For example, the degree of formality customers expect in written and verbal communications will vary according to age. Using slang or adding emojis to emails may go down well with teenagers, but could offend older customers, who may well feel that a brand doesn’t fit with their lifestyle. Equally overly-formal, long winded processes and communications will infuriate those looking for a quick answer.
So understanding what makes your customer tick is vital if you are to deliver the right experience. A good place to start is by looking at recent research from the Collison Group. This analyzed mass affluent consumers around the world, including in Singapore, China, India and the United Arab Emirates, as well as Europe and the United States. It looked at their motivations and priorities and split them into four groups:
1 Mid-Life Modernists
This is the biggest mass affluent group in Singapore and is also well-represented in India. Mid-Life Modernists are extremely keen on technology, with 90% spending more than five hours a week using their smartphone and 45% spending over 20 hours a week online via a computer. Consequently they are loyal to brands that deliver a perfect digital experience, through the web and social media. Get this right and 75% say they will recommend a company to their friends and family with 74% more likely to make a repeat purchase from a trusted brand.
2 Prudent Planners
The largest group around the world, particularly strong in the UK and United States, they are focused on family and helping others. They also make up the second largest group in Singapore. Less interested in technology, they are not motivated by material things, but are keen on giving to charity and being green. Unlike the Mid-Life Modernists, they value face to face service rather than the digital experience, meaning brands serving this segment need to ensure they deliver a personal touch to interactions.
3 Stylish Spenders
This group is always looking for the finer things in life. Most common in countries such as the United Arab Emirates and China, they are focused on the material signs of wealth. Over three quarters are likely to buy leading brands (compared to 22% of other groups), and they spend the most on travel. While a relatively small group, they have high spending power, with 32% earning over US$190,000 per annum. They want access to exclusive information, destinations and products that they can tell their friends about. They are also loyal to the right brands, provided they them with the personalised experience they are searching for.
While they may not have the purchasing power of Stylish Spenders, Experientialists are equally keen on exclusive, unique experiences. They "live for the moment" and expect brands to regularly update digital content and offer something new and exciting to keep their interest. Holidays and dining out top their spending and this group is mostly located in China, the United Arab Emirates and the UK. They are also the group most likely to enjoy experiencing a different culture, with over three quarters (76%) seeing this as a priority.
Obviously every consumer is different and wants a personalized experience from your brand. However by analyzing your customer base and putting them into broad groups or personas, you can get a better idea of their motivations and then ensure you are delivering the right experience, on the right channel, to retain their loyalty. Using personas helps focus everyone in the organization’s thinking on particular needs, rather than trying to design products, services and experiences for a vague customer that you don’t really understand. So as a first step take a look at the four groups above and see which is closest to your customer demographic – it could help you deliver the perfect experience and boost your revenues.