We couldn’t agree more with Jack Ma when he said: “A Startup, for entrepreneurs, is like a baby”. If you are an entrepreneur, you surely felt every word of this statement from the core of your heart. When you spend endless sleepless nights, putting in your best efforts into something, there is no greater joy than seeing it grow.
While you figure out and implement the best strategies for the growth of your startup, there’s a crucial element that you cannot afford to miss out on. We are talking about the most treasured resource for an organization, i.e, its customers. When you are still in the initial stages of building your startup, placing a prime focus on understanding your customers, becomes altogether more important. The simple and straight logic to this is that it is your customers who help you get more business and eventually, let your startup grow.
So, how do you do it then? Of course, there are several primary and secondary data sources for customer research. Also, while there are a million books out there on understanding your customers, the best way to do so is already readily accessible to you. We are talking about ‘customer conversations’ here. Imagine getting direct access to every customer interaction that happens. While being able to do so in real-time would be wonderful, it is far fetched from reality. So, customer conversations are the next best thing. Reading between the lines from your customer conversations is an untapped gold mine.
Using the analysis of customer conversations, Shopify developed a learning framework for their sales team.
If you are new at this and wondering how you can record the customer conversations, here are some common ways that businesses adapt:
1. Using a Secondary Recording Device: This is the most old school method used for recording customer conversations. While you/ your team members get on a call with customers, you can put it on speakerphone and use a secondary voice recorder.
2. Using Automatic Call Recorder Apps: Both Android, IOS and other software provide apps that help automate the process of call recording.
3. Three-Way Calling Services: You can call into avail such services and set up the recording before you decide to pull the other party into the conversation. For such services, you would be charged on a time basis.
4. Using Conversation Intelligence Softwares: With the advent of technology, Artificial Intelligence is taking the lead. Softwares like Convin help you record and analyse your customer conversations.
Now that you know how to record your customer conversations, let’s dig a little deeper and figure out what kind of conversations you should be recording.
There are two main kinds of conversations that happen between startups and their customers:
Sales’, in itself, is a conversation. Customers come to you and show interest in your products/ services when something they resonate with, has been communicated to them by your organization. This type of conversation happens with your buyers in several phases. Starting right from the first cold call to the last conversion call. When you/your team interacts with a potential buyer/ client to respond to their interest in your product/ service, it accounts to be a sales conversation.
Every sales call will be loaded with useful information that you can utilize in one way or another. Recording sales calls help you keep a track of every conversation that you have with your prospects/customers
2.Customer Support Conversations
As you might already be aware of the literal meaning of ‘Customer Support Conversations’, we will throw some light on the importance of it.
According to Help Scout, 74% of people are likely to switch brands if they find the purchasing process too difficult. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that ‘Good Customer Service will act as a long term asset for your company. For sure, customers still care about the price and quality of the products/ services you provide to them. But, along with that, ‘customer support’ has also become a very crucial factor for customers to choose you over other brands/ organizations. As they say, “People will never forget how you make them feel”.
Customer Sales calls and Customer support calls will be the prime prized possessions for your startup, once you know how to utilize the effective analysis of the same.
Let’s get into the precise details and discuss how analysing customer conversations can benefit startups:
1.Understanding how customers feel about your products/ services
When you are starting with your business, you must spend time understanding what your customer needs. ‘Customer Feedback’ is a very underrated resource for startups. Understanding your customers in a better manner is the key to providing good service to them, which will eventually lead to better customer relationships. While you are on a sales call, pay attention to all the queries and ‘what-ifs’ that your customers may have. Those will help you uncover what they feel about your offerings. While you are on a customer support call, pay heed and be a good listener.
While you would surely be attentive during the calls, recording those is a good practice so that you can go back to all that has been said, uncover the values and implement those in your offerings.
2.Using Customer Conversation Analysis For Personnel Training
While you are in the initial stages of building your startup, it is very important to bring in the right people and train them to do the right thing. After all, human resources are the resource that will ensure the efficacy and effective use of all your other resources. They are the intermediaries who convey your brand values to the outside world. Training helps you make sure that they convey it in the right way. You could compile the best PowerPoint presentation with renowned theories in the world. But, when it comes to learning, nothing tops the method of learning from experience. Insights from recorded customer conversations can provide you with a clear reference that you can use while conducting the training sessions. When your team learns from real-life scenarios and experiences, they understand better about the ‘why’ and ‘what’ is appropriate in a particular situation. This way, the training process is not only easier and more effective but also, more engaging.
3.Understand and Refine Your Customer Personas
Usually, when a startup is incorporated, the top management defines their customer persona. In simpler terms, a ‘customer persona’ is a fictitious model of what an organizations’ ideal customer looks like. It includes the details and demographics such as age, gender, location, occupation and more psychographics such as their likes and dislikes. Understanding a customer persona helps companies in achieving better targeting.
When you know specifically who you are talking to, you can figure out the best ways to resonate with them.
In an early stage, startup founders might have a certain set of attributes for their customer persona. And at times, pertaining to some of those attributes, the actual potential customer might differ in reality. Because of this gap, you might find yourself pitching the wrong ideas/ using the wrong way to approach your target group.
Frequent sales and support conversations with customers, help you figure out if there are any disparities between the set Consumer persona and the actual potential customer. Based on those, analysing those conversations can help startups change their ways and refine their customer personas. Having an accurate idea of the customer personas, startups can also better their targeting approach and reach their ideal target audience with better accuracy.
4.Recognising The Loopholes In Your Products/ Services/ Systems
When you incorporate your startup, you do so with an objective. To reach those ends, you have to travel through a path of means. In order to reach your destination faster and avoid the objectives, you need to identify and eliminate the loopholes on your way. Loopholes can occur when your startup is missing out on something important or, there’s something that feels right to you, but is not. When you frequently converse with your customers, you get to know what they value, what their concerns and pain points are and what they expect from you.
Therefore, when you know the ends, you will be able to better understand the means. On analysing the customer conversations, you might find that many of them share a similar concern, this will help you figure out what exactly you are missing out on. Apart from the customer side, when you go back to recorded customer conversations, you will also get to know how your team members converse with the consumers and what exactly they say. Eventually, this can also help you in figuring out internal issues, if any.
5.Maintaining Detailed Records And a Pool Of Important Information
We’re sure you wouldn’t be unaware that customer data is a treasured possession. Customer data helps you unlock diverse possibilities and avenues. If you adopt this habit from the start, it can work wonders for you. As a startup, information such as who is buying from you, how often they are doing that, and in what way can be an invaluable asset for you. This information can also be used as insights for your sales, marketing, customer service, financial forecasting and future planning. When you have recorded your customer conversations, you have a source to always rely on.
Also, while your team/ customer service agents are on a call, the prime focus might be on responding to the customers. In such a case, you might not pay heed to things beyond what they say upfront. When you go back to these conversations, it gives you a chance to read between the lines, identify insights and make use of the same.
6.Formulating Better and Efficient Strategies
According to CB insights, ‘not being able to pivot quickly from a failed strategy, has been stated as one of the top 20 reasons startups fail’. A well-planned strategy is one that helps you stay afloat in the market. How we wish there was an alarm to alert you when things are going south. But, customer conversations are the closest thing that can do that.
Analysis of customer conversations helps you identify loopholes and also understand your customers expect, what they value, what they object and what they like about your competitors. When you have these things sorted, you can implement changes in your strategies and formulate more ideas that would eventually work well and align with the needs of your customers.
7.Providing Better Customer Services
We are back to the end of this full circle. As we discussed in the start, happy customers will eventually help you get more business and achieve greater heights. Analysis of customer conversations has a direct relation to startups being able to provide better customer service. Insights from these calls can help you understand what the customer expects, what your team is providing and if there are any gaps between the two of those things.
You can then use these insights and implement them to train your customer service personnel. Good customer service is essential for startups because they help improve your public persona and strengthen your brand image. ‘After having a positive experience with a company, 77% of customers would recommend it to a friend’. (Help Scout). Hence, good customer service can eventually enable startups to reach more potential customers.
Summing It Up
After having said this, we know that you already have multiple scenarios running in your mind wherein analysis of customer conversations can come to your rescue. So, what are you waiting for? Customer conversation analysis is a solution that is cost-efficient and yet, effective.
Results first, payment later.