Understanding customer behaviour


Understanding customers’ complex behaviour is crucial to meet or exceed customer expectations. Many companies need the support and co-operation of their customers to help with this.

When customers help with research, companies can plan for future customer needs and wants.

There are many theoretical frameworks on experience creation. They all presume companies can understand and predict customer behaviour. It does need close interaction with customers though:

Communications company, Three, launched a customer experience project. They wanted detailed customer insight about how their service could improve. Before, they had just relied on complaint data to understand why customers were unhappy.

Nationwide Building Society uses a different way to understand customer behaviour. Each week the District Sales Manager visits a branch. They approach it from a customer’s perspective. It includes reviewing the front and window displays then in the branch.

KC are one of the UK’s leading communications providers and part of FTSE 250 company KCOM Group PLC. They began regular face-to-face customer forums. Each forum focuses on a specific topic such as broadband speeds.  Each has around 15 customers who have complained or contacted KC about the topic in question. Attendees include members of the KC customer experience team and relevant internal stakeholders. This has created 152 improvement initiatives in a year. A KC customer said: “I can’t believe how much you care about your customers. I think it’s fantastic that you want to hear what they have to say“.

World First has several ways to share client feedback and staff suggestions. These include weekly huddles, management meetings and suggestion boxes. They always read and respond to comments and feedback within 48 hours. The Board review suggestions in the same timescales.

Clothes2Order recently undertook a major project used user testing laboratories. They saw target customers using their website and those of their competitors. The aim was to identify online issues and find  ways to delight their target market when online. “As a customisation process, ordering personalised clothing in bulk has been difficult. We’ve taken that away with our redeveloped website”.

Motability Operations is a not-for-profit company under contract to the charity, Motability. They discovered from customer feedback and behavioural profiling that their customers enjoy television. They started to use DVDs, called “A steer in the right direction”. The DVDs had an engaging, story-telling based format. Topics included understanding the Motability Car Scheme and choosing a Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV).  A customer explained: “When we needed a WAV, we didn’t know where to start. ‘A Steer in the Right Direction’ gave  a useful set of pointers, so we are now more confident.”


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