Have you perhaps come across ‘Customer Avatars’? Well, I’ve heard this term used so frequently over the course of the past year or two that I thought it worthy of an article.
Now, I didn’t realise that the origin of the word Avatar comes from Hinduism and has more to do with an ‘incarnation’ of a Supreme Being or a deity on Earth. However, in the ‘incarnation’ we’re talking about, in the context of customer experience at least, the Avatar is the embodiment of your ideal customer.
What does that matter? Surely, the key objective in business is to sell more. Ah, but the thing is, you can waste an awful lot of money trying to attract prospects to your business only to realise later down the track, they were the wrong kind of customers for you.
Example? I have heard of banks that have actively dissuaded people from becoming a customer. Others have gone so far as to sell parts of their customer base to other providers in order to offload them. This kind of decision isn’t taken lightly and often revolves around a calculation of the ‘lifetime value’ and profitability of the customer(s) in question.
Perhaps you work in a business where certain customers come into your shops several times in the same day or ring your call centre support team with that kind of frequency. Would you agree, it costs a lot of money to have someone sitting there on the phone handling those calls, or standing in the store ready to assist your customers? If certain customers have a higher propensity to call you multiple times, they have a much higher ‘cost to serve’ than others.
Now, I’m certainly not advocating that you reduce the level of service you offer. All of this is relative to what you do as a business, what you stand for and who you are trying to appeal to. My point is, there is immense power in defining your Customer Avatar. Your ideal customer. You will likely find in fact that you need several different Avatars for different parts of your business.
You see, everyone’s needs are different. Consider for a moment my Dad who is retired, moderately tech savvy and has a bit of time on his hands. Contrast him with my Brother who has a very full-on job, has a young family and who is time-constrained and keen to do things quickly. My Brother might well be more inclined to use self-service channels if they’re available to him so he can buy or get service from his providers at times that suit him. Whereas my Dad is fairly unequivocal in that he would MUCH rather talk to someone face to face.
So, if you need some help creating your own Avatars for your business, why not start by looking at the customers you already have in your business and working out the ones you cherish and why. Look also at the ones that cause you headaches, and again, ask yourself why. Drop me a line if you need some help.
By the time you get done with the exercise, the Avatar(s) or ‘persona(s)’ will have a name, an identity, a detailed description of their needs etc. and you will have a much clearer perspective on what you need to do in the business, both in terms of marketing to those Avatars, but also servicing their needs. If you are a product company, you will be able to leverage the new-found clarity about your target market to better adapt your products and position your marketing message to address the needs of your target customers.
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Thanks for stopping by and see you for more tomorrow friends!
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