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How to create a customer persona

For marketers, 2016 is the year of customer experience (or CX for short). To actively create a positive experience for your customers, you will need to empathise with them. Building up a picture of your customer is one highly effective way to help you make this happen.

When you create a representation of your customer, you are actually making a “customer persona”. This involves analysing your data and making educated guesses about who your customers are and how they feel.

We have put together a beginner’s guide to creating customer personas:

Where to start

To make an effective customer persona, you need to gather data and carry out research to base your representation on.

  • Conduct surveys – get to the bottom of customers’ challenges
  • Hold customer interviews – identify the goals and challenges
  • Review customer logs – what questions are they asking?
  • Study Google Analytics for demographics and interests
  • Facebook search for your customers’ hobbies and interests

Your data should cover: job titles, age, gender, marital status, level of education, hobbies, interests, goals and challenges.

Here’s a really great link for using Facebook to get some research about your Ideal Customers.

It is important to note that without this data your customer persona will lack real human qualities. If you proceed to the next phase solely focused on the sales process, this will lead to a 2D persona that you will never be able to empathise with. Empathy is the key to great CX results!

What else you need to include

You can include anything that you feel will be relevant to your business and its customers. This could be values, salary, family. Are they sporty? Nerdy? Caring? Decisive?

How many customer personas you need to create

This can vary greatly depending on the size of your business and how many customer segments you have. Ideally you would have no more than 5 – any more than this and your business may struggle to stay focused.

Build up your customer persona

Now that you have your data, you should begin to collate it together. How you do this is up to you, you can simply place them into tables or you could start to generate a diagram.

Begin with the basics like name and demographics, then move on to your other findings such as hobbies and interests.

With all the factual data entered, you can start to add more human aspects to your persona. Think about their goals, challenges and objections. Where you are uncertain, make educated guesses based on your research. Giving your personas names and faces can really help to bring them to life.

To make your persona even more human, hold idea mapping sessions with your colleagues. Get as many people involved as you can and cover lots of perspectives. Ask them to think as your persona. How would they feel after a touchpoint? What are their values? Write it all down. They may think of challenges or solutions you haven’t thought of before.

Implement

You will have a good idea who you customer personas are now, so it’s time to implement. These are usually done in a very visual format. For ideas search for “customer persona templates”.

You should also include a graphic or photographic representation of the persona for psychological reasons. It will make it easier to empathise with your customer and you will see better results in your marketing.

Empathising with your customers is one step to developing CX, however, Customer Journey Mapping moves beyond this. It allows you to also analyse your business processes so you can make adaptations to: reduce costs; increase efficiency; and improve your CX further.

If you need help to develop your customer persona profiles, then we would be more than happy to help. Give us a call on 01536 560 435.

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