If you had a secret window into your customers lives, what amazing insights would you be able to learn? What questions would you be able to answer that have eluded you due to your simple transactional relationship?

Of course you already are doing user testing, and you interact with many of your customers via email or something like intercom; maybe you’ve even conducted the mighty focus group to dig a little deeper.

But can any of this compare to seeing your customer in their natural environment. Learning what their lifestyles are like, seeing what excites and drives them on a personal level, and uncovering unique insights to drive your customer experience?

As Harper Lee insigtfully wrote:

"You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view"

And yet... how many of us truly consider the emotional needs of our customers? How many of us strip back that extra layer to see who our customers really are?

A recent study by Colin Shaw, it was found that over 50% of your Customer Experience is about how a Customer feels and yet this is typically ignored by organizations.(read more)

Emlwood the world most effective brand design consultancy, uses Verbate to easily open these windows on consumer lives because:

"The clients are blown away. They have never seen insights like it. All in all, bloody marvellous"

But this is not just a solution for global brands, in an increasingly competitive market we should all be listening to our customers more, each competitive insight not only drives us ahead of competition, but can be used to strengthen transparency & trust too.

5 simple ways to get started

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Visual tours involve asking your customer to show you around their home or workplace using video.

Peoples homes & workplaces are a reliable reflection of our lives, and personalities. As Adam Sinicki suggests:

“If you know someone well enough to be invited into their home, then looking around their bedroom or the way they've decorated their other rooms can tell you an awful lot about their personality and this can help you to gain a better insight into the kind of person they are.”

Here is my home.What can you deduce about me? Filmed with Verbate

Remember, you are looking for patterns and meaningful connections. To start with, try to focus on:

  • Which rooms to see? If you're in food, start with the kitchen
  • Hobbies & Interestes - Sports gear, plant life, children or art?
  • Personality - Are they family oriented or egocentric.
  • Privacy - Will they even show you the bedroom?
  • Tidiness - Are they easy going, messy or slightly OCD?

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Dig a little deeper into what drives them, who they are, what are their worries and their passions.

People are much more honest on video, especially when they are not being influenced by an outside interviewer (one of the major issues with focus groups is observer dependency), and are in their own environment. Use this to your advantage to uncover their personality.

You want to uncover as much as you can about their personality, and what drives them emotionally. Is it family first and foremost, or are they more egocentric and professionally driven. Some key areas to focus are:

  • What gets them up in the morning. What keeps them up at night?
  • What is most important to them in life.
  • How do they spend their free time.

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Most of us are surrounded by people in our day to day lives. At home, we surround ourselves with people we love, and at work we are surrounded by our colegues and culture.

These people have different influences on each of us, many of which can be incredibly complex. However, understanding the social lives of your customers can only lead to deeper understanding.

Some points to consider:

  • Do they have flat mates, children, or live alone?
  • Who is the decision maker in the family?
  • Is their work environment creative, or corporate?
  • Do you have more customers in their network?

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Seeing what they say, and do not say is probably the most valuable way to understand what type of person your user is on a personal level.

When people talk to you they portray so much more than the words they expel. Albert Mehrabian first proposed the 7% - 38% - 55% rule, the respective impact of words, tone of voice, and body language when speaking. Whilst Albert’s studies have often been challenged, the base line holds true. People are complex communicators, and visualisation is key.

What people do not say, or struggle to answer, can often be more important than what they do say - and is something no other medium can capture. Ask someone what your brand represents - long time to answer...maybe your value proposition is not strong enough?

  • Watch expressions & trust your instincts - see Blink, Malcolm Gladwell.
  • Ask engaging, even provocative questions.
  • Take note where they have difficulty answering a question.
  • Have more than one person review the responses.

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Using your product on camera is a no brainer, and works beautifully with tangible items. This so insightful for testing, and new markets.

  • New users - Try to have them unwrap the product on camera, and talk through what they are thinking. This is amazing if you can do it, those first impressions are everything.
  • Existing users - Are they really using your product how you envisioned? Do they do anything unexpected, do they grimace, or do they hold it with love?

These unique insights are what successful products & companies are built upon, and its not only customers that you may seek insights from. Video used internally is the perfect way to track employee satisfaction, and give people in your organisation a chance to be heard, and better understood.

Verbate gives you an incredibly simple way to better understand your customers. Start the conversation today

Cover image credit fotopedia