Creating the right impression of your brand to the right people is critical to the success of your business; everyone in your organization is either directly or indirectly working to do this every day, regardless of job title or responsibilities.

Customer service representatives are on the front lines of this objective, but the information to answer the questions below could easily add value to other areas of your organization.

Question 1: Who are our customers and how much do we know about them?

This may seem like an obvious necessity, but actually pinning down a strong, data-supported answer to this question can be very difficult.

The foundational pieces of information are age, gender and, for a B2B company, job title. There are several reasons this information is critical, but the short answer to “why” is this will help you determine your customers’ priorities and make yourself as relatable to them as possible.

For instance, your target consumer’s age alone can help you choose the right communication channels for advertising (more on that below). You could even select aspects of your business to emphasize based on a given group’s general buying habits. A good example of this is the rising dominance of millennials as the largest share of the population. Because millennials tend to have strongly-held views and value philanthropy and sustainability, you may notice more businesses emphasizing their charity initiatives or responsible use of resources in advertising campaigns.

Free information on the general buying habits (i.e. priorities) of various age groups are just a google search away, and an easy way to start yourself on the right path to a usable buyer persona.

Question 2: What is the best way to reach our customers?

Attempting to contact customers via a channel they tend to neglect is like trying to have a conversation in a language you don’t speak; you may be able to express some basic information with gestures but will likely fail to get your message across. Additionally, failure to meet your customers where they are may demonstrate neglect to understand them and thus damage any relatability you’ve worked hard to develop.

Finding the right communication channels for your audience is a mixture of process of elimination, research and asking existing customers. Starting with the research, build from your established buyer persona(s) and do what you did to create them: search for free, reliable information.

This Gallup poll and this fact sheet from Pew Research Center are great illustrations of how channel preferences differ by age group, and can act as a springboard for the more precise answer pertaining to your business and customers.

Question 3: What are our success metrics?

This last question/answer will rely heavily on what you conclude from the first two questions, as well as your company’s business model and goals. Perhaps it’s a reduction in churn rate or an increase in dispute resolutions. Perhaps you just want to gauge the engagement level of a particular group or incentivize past customers to return.

Establishing a clear, specific success metric is how you or your customer service team will create a roadmap to improvement; if you want to gauge a group’s engagement, you’ll plan a campaign through their preferred channel and set a desired response rate. If you want to incentivize your customers, you’ll do the same but target incentives to your buyer persona (a charitable donation based on responses, a special discount code, etc.).

Another point to consider is how success metrics go hand in hand with identifying pain points. Ideally, a success metric will directly address (or at least shed light on) a pain point you or your team encounters fairly regularly.

For pain points and initial information on the devices your visitors tend to use, Google Analytics is invaluable. This platform can also inform or even represent a success metric. For a basic introduction to recommended use of Google Analytics, visit their solutions page here.