How to Get Inside The Mind of Your Customer

September 12, 2016 Danni Friedland

How to Get Inside The Mind of Your CustomerThe key in building a successful product is about building the right thing for the right target audience.

If you think it’s all about the product you are selling, you’re missing the point. It’s about creating the product your users need and want.

Listen to your users, but really listen. That way, you’ll be able to fine-tune your product into something they will want to use and be willing to pay for. You need to get inside the mind of your customers.

Any good customer success manager will tell you that the real secret lies in the acceptance that it is all about them. It’s about making them feel like you truly get them. Like you’re really there just for them.

But how can you uncover your users’ needs? How can you put yourself in their shoes in order to truly understand them?


Four tactics that will help you get into your user’s mindset.

Pro tip before we go in:
If you really want to strengthen the relationships between your users and your product, don’t just read these tips, bookmark and go on with your life - act now!


1. Create a Buyer Persona, find their Online Habitat and do some spy work.

One of the best ways to stand out while providing quality beyond what anyone else is doing in your field is by truly understanding your target market.

Dig in and learn more about who they are and what they’re trying to achieve by using your product.

If you’re slacking and don’t have your Buyer Persona in front of you right now, here’s a guide I wrote a while back that will help you build your ideal customer.

After your Buyer Persona is all set, write a list of groups, forums, subreddits, wherever you think your audience spends their spare time. Spend some time in these groups - see what they care about, what their needs are, even interact if you feel comfortable enough to do so. Learn what they’re thinking by seeing them interact with others.


2. Watch User Session Recording to understand their experience.

The hardest lesson I learned as I watched my first user session recording, was that I didn’t know my users as well as I thought I did.

I was sure I had planned everything out to the smallest detail, that our design and flow was magnificent and that they would intuitively know what to do.

And then I started watching our user session recording.

Wherever I thought they would scroll, they hit “next” and when I thought they would hit “next” they were searching for more information.

These are not mistakes done by a newbie. Anyone creating a new product or launching a new feature will most likely make a few mistakes while making predictions. It is almost impossible to predict exactly the way the user is going to behave.

Therefore, analyze user behavior along with analytics and try using tools like User Session Recordings, which allow you to segment your users by actions, session characteristics, and demographics, to see exactly how they behave on your site and where they're having trouble.


Seeing what the real experience feels like for your customers, as a Customer Success Manager, will allow you to help them further than expected and improve their experience with empathy (we will get into that later).


3. Align your goals with their goals.

As a customer success manager, your only goal is to make sure your customers are getting what they want to get out of your product and that they are happy and delighted by the experience.

You should aspire to create value for your customers by helping them get what they need.

By aligning your goals with theirs, you can improve customer communications and you can make sure you’re focusing on the right things.

Even if your product is still crude or has some technical growing pains, understanding your customer’s goals and showing them that you’re working with them towards these goals, will get them to love the entire experience of using your product.

People want to belong to something they feel they can relate to. If they feel you really understand them and their needs,  it is more likely that we will have customer retention.


4. Be empathetic.

It might surprise you to hear empathy in terms of customer success or product development but it is a core value in the course of making smart choices.

It implies considering people’s feelings, along with other factors, in the progress of building common ground.

As you modify your product based on data and analytics, you must also take into consideration their emotional reactions. Not only will you be meeting customers’ needs, but you will also overcome their expectations.


You can show your empathy in several ways:

  1. Run surveys to collect feedback in order to sense the viewpoints of every user.

  2. Make sure your response time and customer interaction are flawless - stop worrying about your own problems and listen to THEM.

  3. Spend A LOT of time on the previous 3 tips - every minute you spend learning about your users is an opportunity to raise constructive feedback.


Being empathetic can go  a long way:

  1. Common misunderstandings regarding cross-cultural dialogue and ethnic differences can be avoided.
  2. Being more empathetic means your customers will see you care and they will love you and your product even more. You will develop and retain good customers.
  3. The key to being empathetic is once you understand what they feel and their state of mind. This is when you will actually be able to anticipate the answers or solutions you can provide in order for them to be happy.  

Empathy is what makes you an amazing customer success manager, because you truly get what goes on inside your user’s psyche and understand what their real problems are.


Now to you

Getting inside the mind of your users is mostly about being able to see the world through their eyes.

It’s not about magic, it’s about listening closely and tuning into their experience.

The more you are able to see what they see, the easier it gets.

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About the Author

Danni Friedland

Danni is the CEO of Jaco analytics, a company that aims to change the way companies analyze and understand their users. Danni’s a hacker at heart, whether it's hardware or software - He loves tinkering and making things into a reality. He has a vast experience bootstrapping a project from the grounds up and scaling it to industrial size, both as a programmer and as a team leader.

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