Four Steps to Quickly and Cost-Effectively Validate Customer Personas

Customer Retention | Voice of the Customer | Customer Centricity

Reading time: 5 minutes
PeopleMetrics

Creating better customer experiences

Your staff knows about what motivates customers, what concerns them, how they like to interact with your company, and for what reasons. So why not ask your staff to weigh in on your customer persona work?

Presenting your personas to a selection of employees will give you a valuable, insightful perspective. So rather than keep your work to yourself, let them in on your little secret.

 

03-customer-centricity-persona-whisperer

 

But before you get started, here are four steps to help you make sure you can validate your customer personas without undue stress or wasted effort: Here are the four steps to quickly validate your customer personas.

 

Step 1: Select the right employees.

When selecting employees for weighing in on customer personas, target employees in sales and service roles. Employees who interact regularly with customers will give more insight into whether your personas are realistic or off-base.

You should also seek tenured individuals who have had exposure to your customers for at least two years. This minimum will help you ensure that employees have more founded perspective, and aren't firing from the hip in response.

Last, ensure representation across the full spectrum of your products and services. This will help you capture a wide range of customer interactions from your first interaction, buying a product and using your support team. 

 

03-customer-centricity-persona-feedback

 

 

Step 2: Plan how to capture their feedback.

There are a number of online focus group and bulletin board tools that can make this type of exercise quick and cost-effective. Examples include iTracks, or Artafact.

Whatever tool you use, look for a solution that includes:

  • A whiteboard or similar presentation space to share your personas with your attendees.
  • Polling questions.
  • The ability to keep feedback anonymous.
  • Bulletin-board-type tools that allow for asynchronous discussions, so you can capture feedback from employees at times that are convenient for them.

If you're light on budget, you can also find alternative mechanisms to collect feedback, including free video conference tools and in-person focus groups.

 

Step 3: Design your session content.

Prepare short descriptions of each persona before your session. Wherever possible, use photos or other images to represent each customer group. When you hold your session, follow this loose flow:

  1. Ask participants if each description resonates. Do they recognize any of their customers in the description presented?
  2. Invite them to tell a story about a customer they know or have served who fits the description.
  3. If the description is not accurate, ask them to point out the elements that are missing or inaccurate.

Make sure to repeat the process for all persona types. Keep an eye out for any missing descriptors—or even personas, if that's the case.

 

Step 4: Analyze the feedback.

After your sessions, it's time for some qualitative analysis, and maybe even math!

 

03-customer-centricity-persona-analysis

 

This is where online sessions can help your cause. A benefit of many online systems is that transcripts are available for immediate download, so you can start your analysis right away.

As you review transcripts or any other records, look for common themes and threads. You should also consider putting the feedback into a spreadsheet or table so that you can compare feedback across sessions.

If you discover any new insights or inaccuracies, update your persona descriptions as appropriate. And, if necessary, re-validate.

Customer experience strategy can be a complex arena. But if you're interested in an overview of the steps to improve your customer experience, then check out our strategy map:

Customer Experience Strategy Map

 

It provides a simple, approachable look at the steps needed to differentiate your customer experience against those of other companies. As you're working through your strategy, don't be afraid to contact us. We'd be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Posted on 03-01-2017