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Most successful businesses and marketing departments know that defined customer personas are essential for determining the direction and focus of their business development and outreach efforts. Companies thrive, and their success depends on, alleviating customer pain point(s). Knowing what keeps their clients up at night is essential to ensuring a positive customer experience and fueling business growth.

However, what many businesses fail to understand is that customer personas should not be a one-time effort. After all, you can’t expect your customers’ needs and interests to remain stagnant when their environment is constantly changing. In addition, with stats showing that 76% of customers think it’s easy to switch to a brand that meets their needs, it’s in your best interest to constantly stay on top of meeting their expectations. Therefore, to make your marketing and business stand out in a rapidly-evolving market, continuously revisiting and revising your existing customer personas must be a priority.

While interviews, market research, and other resources can offer important insights to help you develop your initial customer profiles, listening to your current customers is the most useful tool for improving your understanding of who they are and what they want. Having an up-to-date perspective of how your existing clients feel about your product or service and their future goals can better equip you to engage them and deliver what they need before your competition steps in.

Are you convinced that it’s time to update your customer personas yet? If so, the following listening tricks will deepen your understanding of your customers and enable you to improve your product and marketing strategy to better address their interests and concerns.

Check In with Your Customer Support Team for Real-Time Feedback

While many of us marketers are more than happy to let the customer support team serve as the front line of defense when it comes to tackling customer grievances, we severely underestimate the wealth of knowledge that exists among within the customer support team and often fail to leverage it. These folks are the first to hear when our product or service is not meeting customers’ expectations, and often get great insights into features customers wish they had access to.

Therefore, tapping into this resource is extremely important if you want to continuously refine your customer personas. Talking to your customer success team from time to time will enable you to not only stay up to date with what your consumers want and need, but it will also help you learn to speak their language and improve your overall messaging for improved engagement.

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Make it A Priority to Ask for Feedback

Although you should invest time connecting with other departments across your organization to gather customer feedback and insights, it doesn’t hurt to be proactive and directly reach out to consumers. From time to time, send out a survey asking your customers to rate their experience with your company and provide suggestions for how you can improve. Make sure to also ask your customers to provide details about who they are and their top priorities so you can use this information to further flesh out your buyer profiles.

If you want to get really serious about prioritizing customer feedback, companies like AskNicely offer NPS (Net Promoter Score) software that enables you to easily collect responses and share them with your team. This provides everybody at your organization visibility into who your customers are, what they like and don’t like, and creates accountability across the board for delivering a product or service that puts a smile on their face.

Interview Customers to See What Is Working and What Is Not

Gathering feedback via a survey is a good place to start a conversation with your customers, but that’s not where your interaction should end. Once you’ve sorted through responses, identify customers that you would like to follow up with to have a more in-depth chat regarding their experience with your product or service.

In addition to gaining a better understanding of their experience, take this opportunity to learn about what attracted them to your product in the first place, the most pressing pain points you can help alleviate and how they are looking to grow in the future. Use this information to expand your customer profile and build out a strategy for how you plan to address these concerns and interests in the future.

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Tap into Customer Forums

The internet makes it easier than ever for people to air their grievances or rave about a company they truly love, and you can bet that many of your customers will be more than happy to add their two cents if given an opportunity. Although that can be a marketer’s worst nightmare, it also makes for a great tool to measure customer sentiment.

In addition to helping you understand how consumers feel about your product, browsing through topics related to your industry can give you insight into some of the challenges your target customers face on a daily basis, allowing you to better flesh out your customer personas and possibly leading you to your next big idea.

Continuously updating your customer personas enables you to stay ahead when it comes to meeting your customers’ expectations and keeping both retention and demand for your business at an all-time high. With studies demonstrating that 61% of customers claim that a company’s commitment to ensuring their satisfaction furthers their loyalty, making it a priority to know your customers and deliver solutions that match their needs can only strengthen your business.

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