Back in the 19th century, when the Brothers Grimm wrote the Snow White fairy tale, the dwarfs in their story didn’t have any names. By the time Walt Disney had finished his full-length animated feature film version in 1937, the seven dwarfs had all been given names, seemingly to suit their character traits.
Our brains are hardwired to characterise
Whilst endearing to audiences of the era, some of the characters undoubtedly wouldn’t stand up in the modern day. However, we are still inclined to characterise people, whether for satirical purposes or to help define audiences. Our brains are hardwired to read and gauge other people. When we meet someone, we read their body language, tone of voice and facial expressions, and we use our own internal experience as a gauge to guide our interactions with them. When we’re presented with someone that we don’t know very well, it’s our nature to fill in the blanks. This is why we often pigeonhole people or lump the characteristics of strangers together into general traits. Think about how often we give someone a nickname based on the first impression they make on us?
As a business, it makes sense to identify traits
When you are dealing with lots of people on a more short-term basis, it does make sense to try and group them according to their behaviours, especially in the commercial world. That way, trends and patterns can be easily identified enabling the business to adapt itself. All too often, the temptation is simply to segment customers according to basic patterns, and many businesses fall easily into this trap. This broad-stroke approach, however, is a bit like naming your customers after the seven dwarfs. You might think you know them, but all you’ve actually done is fit them into where you think they should be or how you think they should behave.
Understanding customer behaviour is the key to customer retention
Properly tuning into your customers and getting to know who they are, how they behave and why is the key to customer retention and requires a more thought-out and longer-term approach. Most businesses would probably say they know who their customers are, but that in itself could be part of the problem. There are lots of examples of organisations that have clearly lost touch with their customers – we’ve all seen the recent headline about a certain US airline. In fact, if you’d asked them a couple of months ago, they would probably have told you they knew exactly who their customers were are and how they would behave. They’ve clearly suffered a case of only seeing what they wanted to see and reducing their customers to two-dimensional characters. We’re not saying that you would knowingly treat your customers in the same way, but perhaps now is an opportune time for you to do a bit of a health check on your customer service?
For your customer service health check, why not talk to the experts? At In-house, we enjoy meeting new clients and discussing their objectives so that we can help them. For a friendly chat about your customer satisfaction, call 01793 848455 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.