Know the actors and factors in your customers’ world
Article

Know the actors and factors in your customers’ world

Paula Bello
  • Paula Bello
  • Business Partner
Take aways
  • Customers’ needs and decisions are heavily shaped by external actors and factors.
  • Supporting customers to address their concerns makes a business relevant and valuable.
  • New services succeed when they are designed for complicated customer context.

Businesses and customers are constantly influenced by a myriad of external actors and factors, which heavily shape their needs and decision-making processes. Good business strategies and services are built on a thorough understanding of this context, and knowing when and how to be relevant to customers.

The success of a new service depends on how well an organisation recognises the complexity of people’s lives. Customers are influenced by a myriad of variables, from which emerge both opportunities and threats.

The wider context

Both businesses and customers operate in a web of relationships. The context in which all of us make decisions is complicated.

Actors shaping customer needs

Relationships shaping customers could be their business networks, such as the actors throughout a supply chain, or personal networks, such as family and friends. These external actors are powerful and oftentimes determine what customers needs – considered the needs of a busy grandmother. Sometimes these influences are not immediately obvious, therefore, recognizing them gives you a lot of advantages.

Complex business ecosystem

Imagine a business-to-business scenario where a company sells products and services to the automotive industry. Those products and services need to be configured to take account of all other players in that particular business context, such as dealers, insurers, installers and various brands. Understanding this context helps the company optimise its business strategy.

70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated

Consider technology, government policy too

Technology and government policy are also crucial factors in understanding business ecosystem. For instance, public transport. When operators are mulling new ticketing strategies, they have to consider the adoption of new payment technologies as well as the government policy on ticket pricing.

Sort things out for customers

Good business strategies and services are built on a thorough understanding of the context in which customers make decisions. You would become much more relevant and valuable to your customers, when you help them deal with the external actors or factors that concern to them most.

For instance, an insurer oftentimes interacts with its corporate clients when they are about to renew their policy. If the insurer also helps the clients meet new regulatory requirements or enter a new market, its relevance and value to customers would be increased sharply.

Get the whole picture

An organisation gets the upper hand in the competition when it offers tailormade solutions that take account of the customers’ complicated decision-making context. This way, the organisation can leverage customers’ actors and factors for its own growth.