Why are User Personas Important to Customer-Centricity?
Customer-centricity is a buzzword that means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. Though at its core, it’s about understanding who your target audience is, what they want, and what they need before you start creating a product or service that will be useful to them. This can be difficult to do, especially when you’re trying to build an entire organisation around customer satisfaction. This is where user personas come in handy! We use these personas to inform every decision we make from product or design to internal policy changes. User personas are an invaluable tool if you want to develop a product or service that best serves your customers.
What are User Personas?
In order to create an effective product or service, you need to know who your customer is. This seems obvious, but it’s a step that many companies fail to take seriously when they start building a product. How can you create a product or service that will meet the needs of enough people if you don’t know who you’re targeting?
User personas are an archetypical representation of your target audience where you define their characteristics as you go. It collates all the information you need to create products or services for your target audience in one place - the persona document itself. The document should contain relevant details about a user such as their likes and dislikes, hobbies and passions, attitudes and behaviours about your offering, and more. This is done through customer interviews which will help you:
- Understand your user's goals and motivations so you can know what features they need in order to accomplish their goals.
- Understand the types of problems your users face and which ones matter most to them. This will help guide your development process so that your team knows exactly where their efforts should be spent so they don't get distracted by small details or side projects.
User personas stem from demographic segmentation - the oldest form of market segmentation which dates back to the 1500s. Unlike traditional marketing which is based on a one-size-fits-all approach, demographic segmentation is based on dividing a population by certain characteristics, such as age, gender, geographical location, race and religion, income level, or any other category we can think of. This division is based on individuals’ answers to specific questions that help you understand how they behave differently from one another.
Where does customer centricity come in?
Customer-centricity is the process of identifying your customers’ situations, perceptions, and expectations. It’s an approach that asks you to consider the end-user first and focus on solving their problems with your product or service, rather than simply producing something that looks good.
With this approach in mind, user personas are one of the many tools that can help you create and deliver products, services, and experiences that foster satisfaction, loyalty, and ultimately advocacy from your customers.
By creating personas and understanding their characteristics and perspectives, you can easily identify which product or service they might or might not want or need. You can also determine which channels would be best for your customers based on their respective personas.
The Financial Services Associations (FSA) Example:
Financial Services Associations (FSAs), managed by K-Rep Fedha Services Limited (KFS), is a membership-based financial institution offering its members credit, savings, and money transaction services. We conducted human-centred design (HCD) research to review their strategy, organisational structure, and their offering to their customers, in an effort to transform their organisation into a customer-centric organisation.
Through focus group discussions, key stakeholder interviews, and online workshops, we were able to identify and create three personas that highlighted the needs of KFS and FSA customers:
- FSA Staff Persona
- Muungano Persona
- Non-Muungano Persona
Each persona had a different age group, income level, and technological advancement which helped convey their needs, desires, and expectations.
Through engagement with personas based on internal and external customers, we were able to map out their customer journey (how the customers might interact with the organisation and their value proposition). From the awareness stage to the loyalty and advocacy stage, we highlighted each persona’s activities, goals and expectations, and pain points which would help both KFS and FSAs work to achieve the desired outcome for their customers.
The benefits of building user personas
User personas play an immense role in implementing a solution-oriented strategy for your business. They also serve as a perfect source for carrying out continuous feedback and insights from the customer back into the company. You can use them in many ways:
- To create a realistic yet simplified representation of actual audience members who share common traits (e.g. age, gender, income level) and goals (e.g. information seekers).
- As an organising tool for data analysis - a way to make sense of customer feedback through the process of creating more detailed profiles based on interviews with real people (and therefore more representative than relying solely on statistical averages.
When you have a clear idea of who your audience is, it becomes easier for you to create solutions that cater to their needs. You can create solutions based on their goals and expectations, which will help them attain their objectives faster compared to if you didn’t have any prior knowledge.
The key insights gained from using your user personas
While some user personas may not require much customization, others may require more effort than others. You can gain meaningful insights into all your relevant stakeholders by having conversations with them which will help you:
- Define your customer base
- Guide product development
- Understand how people interact with the world
- Understand how people want to interact with your brand and the products or services you offer
In summary, user personas are an essential tool for customer centricity. They allow you to understand and empathise with your customer base in a way that traditional marketing techniques like demographic segmentation have never been able to do. By understanding and comparing your customers’ differing perceptions, you can ensure that you provide consistent experiences across all your various customer touchpoints.
Are you looking to create user personas for your business? Email us today at firstname.lastname@example.org so that you can step into the shoes of your customers and deliver products and services that meet them where they’re at.