Decoding the Customer

Decoding the Customer

Bring customer insight to life through personas: CX Mini Masterclass – E40

May 16, 2019






This CX Mini Masterclass explains how to put your Voice of Customer (VOC) insights to work through personas. Show host and customer experience expert, Julia Ahlfeldt, teaches listeners how to build a persona and shares ideas on how organizations can leverage personas to foster customer-centric change. If you’ve been looking for a way to maximize the value from your customer insight efforts and would like to help teams empathize with customers, this episode is for you.

A versatile CX tool

Episode 39 covered the definition of Voice of the Customer and why customer insight and understanding are so important, plus some of the most popular methodologies for gathering VOC data. But customer insight is only as good as what you use it for. Once you’ve gone through the effort of gathering information, it’s time to put that to work. The challenge with VOC research is that organizations will often employ multiple methodologies, and while each will unearth different insights, you still need a way to bring everything together.

The good news is that customer personas are an excellent tool for bringing the customer insight to life through a format that is relatable.

So what is a persona? A persona is essentially a fictitious personification of a customer segment. Personas often incorporate demographic data, as well as insights on customer wants and needs, as well as perspectives that are pervasive within a segment. Think of the persona almost like a character who represents the typical customer within a segment. Teams often give these personas names so that they are even more relatable. And in some cases, these persona characters can become fixtures within the business and key features of conversations about product innovation or journey evolution. (I.e. What would our persona "Jessica" think about this new product?)

Building the persona with customer insight

I suggest building the customer persona through a couple of different layers of customer insight:

* Demographics and characteristics - information like age, occupation, income, family status, where the person lives, etc., will help paint a picture of the persona’s life. This helps teams conceptualize who the persona is and what his or her consumer habits might be. Teams may want to add deeper contextual insights around the persona's favorite brands or what products feature prominently in their life. * Motivations and Drivers - insight about the persona’s aspirations and fears, along with their wants and needs will provide clarity around their goals and "jobs to be done". This information can be gleaned from focus groups, surveys or interviews and will help teams understand what products, services or experiences might attract or repel a particular customer group. * Specific journey or experience perceptions - insight into how a persona might react to a specific product, service or experience. This might also include their opinions about how the experience relates their goals or fears. This is where teams can tailor the persona format and content for their use.

If you are struggling to bridge the gap between VOC insights and drivers, click here to download my empathy map template.

Using your persona

Personas have long been used by marketing teams, but CX professionals also quickly adopted this tool to help foster customer-centric change,