The Importance of Understanding Customer Behavior

I’m a curious person, by nature and also by design.

I trained myself early-on in my career to ask questions and it’s a practice I employ heavily when interacting with customers. Arguably the first step in consulting is to gain a deep understanding of your customer’s role, business and pain points. Lucky for us, people love to talk about themselves (and their problems).

In a world like today’s; where there is an automated solution for almost everything, it can be tempting to fix The Thing rather than understand The Thing. I would argue, especially in the beginning stages of a company, understanding the “why” of even seemingly meaningless customer behavior might be the clue to growing your product and org.

Customer Success is a coaching program for a business’s audience. As CS leaders, we’re hoping to influence customer behavior according to our business’ needs. We might do that so much that we completely miss potential gold mines. When testing new, ‘disruptive’ products, early stage companies should not only consider what they want customers to do but what customers are actually doing.

Day to day, I work on marketing strategy with a customer base that’s behind on digital. Customer Success is more about relationship management and almost less on driving product usage on the b2b side. Because they don’t do very much on our platform we have to gather data on their behavior manually — like checking in on how our co-marketing materials are performing.

While we encourage them to take advantage of social media in partnership with us, I recently found out they were printing our digital assets and handing them directly to customers as mini flyers! We learned the printing costs for our regular sized assets were too much for them and now we’re rethinking the tools we use to empower them.

To give another example, when I worked in Ed-tech, with a much more technical product, customers were constantly asking for an app. We weren’t sure exactly what they were hoping to get from it and when we asked we found out their need was so simple it could be solved by saving our homepage to the desktop of their mobile devices! Imagine being stuck in years of development because you didn’t ask such a simple question?

At the end of the day, no one hits 100% adoption but by forming deeper questions and analyzing patterns in customer behavior, Customer Success can inform the business of when it’s time to sunset features or build something new to create a better experience and a more engaged audience.

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