Derek Phillips
Derek PhillipsDirector of Content Strategy

Posted on: April 15, 2014

In: Content

Think about the last really great night you had at a restaurant. What was great about it? The venue? Sure. The food? Certainly. But wouldn’t all of that pale without great service? And what made that service so great? It’s likely that your every need was anticipated and met. Good servers respond quickly to your request for a refill. Great servers deliver it before you know you need it.

Help customers complete tasks

As we focus on optimizing our digital experiences—not strictly through the business lens of efficiency, revenue and profit, but as a way to humanize our online lives—we need to think about why it is our customers engage with us online in the first place. What is it they want and how can we provide it? How can we anticipate and deliver on their needs?

Task completion is one of the key factors in determining customer satisfaction. The ability to easily find the info you need and direction on what to do next colors your whole perception. Think about it: do you go to a site for the beautiful layout or to find some information? For easy customer optimization wins, identify keys tasks and surface supporting content.

Four tips for understanding your customers’ needs

It starts with segmentation. Ideally, we would personalize as much of the experience as possible by defining what content is influenced by what data we have on the individual. That’s easier when users are authenticated (i.e. signed in to an account), but that doesn’t mean we can’t identify common tasks among user sets.

That might sound like it’s easier said than done, so here are a few tips:

  • Focus on call-drivers: What are the common questions your call center or front desk receive? Can these be easily answered online?
  • Look at search queries: Internal and external search queries can tell you a lot abut what your customers are looking for…and the language they use.
  • Do some path analysis: Where are your customers coming from and where are they going? The first will tell you a bit about what they’re looking for, the second will tell you will tell you where they think they’ll find it.
  • Listen to your customers: Yes, you could use surveys and user groups, or you could engage in conversations via your social media channels. What’s driving conversations and where are their frustrations?

Once you understand what it is customers are trying to do online, it becomes much easier to focus your energies into creating content that meets their needs. If a customer walks away feeling like they’ve accomplished what they set out to do, that’s a win for them…and you.

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