Customer insights are what reveal the real truths about customers. They tell us what our customer think of us, what they need from us and how we should be responding.
They are invaluable in shaping well-informed customer experiences, successful sales strategies and marketing campaigns that stand out from the crowd.
Customer insights should gather data on behaviours and perceptions and can be used to identify the needs of target audiences as well as how and why they respond as they do.
When it comes to insight, there are 4 key elements that will deliver value for your organisation.
1. Start with the right data!
With customers interacting with our organisations through a wide range of channels, on different devices, taking different paths through their journeys with us and increasingly with less interaction, it can be challenging to know where to turn to get your hands on relevant data that will drive insights.
The important message as you embark on insight gathering is not to discount any source.
We can learn about our customers from a host of places we already have in place, often negating the need to set up any grand research programmes, in order to build our knowledge of customer need. Potential sources of customer insight include:
- Social media interactions
- Website analytics
- Location check-ins
- Purchase history
- Call volumes
- Display advertising
- In-store or branch visit frequency
- Complaints data
- Use of loyalty programmes
- Desk research about consumer, industry and market trends
You should focus your insight gathering on three broad areas to create a holistic view of your audience. These are:
- The consumer themselves
- The consumer perception of your brand
- The consumer feeling towards your industry
2. Look for themes and refine the questions you need to answer
With such a wealth of information available, it is easy to lose focus and feel like you’re drowning in data.
Start by grouping into themes, for example insights that relate to onboarding, sales processes or customer service. As you see themes emerge, define specific questions you want to answer (often these will relate to issues you see emerging from the data) such as:
- Why is our repeat purchase rate lower for a different geographical region?
- Why do so many people drop out of the sales process when we ask for an address?
- Why do most our complaints relate to calls out of hours?
To keep focus on these emerging themes, you should link back to your overall business KPIs. According to research by Think with Google, 95% of leading marketers agree that “to truly matter, marketing analytics’ KPIs must be tied to broader business goals”.
Keep it simple and hone insights down to simple statements of no more than a couple of sentences that you can share around your organisation, making sure that everyone is privy to the information and, whether your role is Brand Director or call centre adviser, you are able to translate the insight into relevant responses to deliver better to your customers.
Create personas and journey maps
Using meaningful customer insights to understand who your audience is, what motivates them, the challenges they face and what their priorities is the key to turning insight into action.
From the blend of both qualitative and quantitative data from a range of sources you should be able to create well rounded pictures of your customer base and the audiences you want to engage with. Turn your insight into a set of customer personas that you can use to hold the customer in mind and create propositions, processes and content that is tailored for them.
You can also use the data you have gathered to better understand the end to end journeys that your customers experience when they work with you. Create living customer journey maps that show the path a customer will take, where the pitfalls can be and what changes you need to make to create easy and meaningful interactions with your customers and prospects.
Use the insights in context
Insights without context are pointless. If 2020 has taught us anything it must surely be that the world can look very different very quickly, that priorities shift and contexts change.
The lens we examine insights through must take into account broader themes from the world our customers are facing. This means that the insight we gather and interpret today should inform what we do now. When it comes to planning for the future (even near-future) we must be prepared to recapture, analyse afresh and examine with fresh context.
Insight should drive change and the response to insights should be as swift as is reasonable to do. Procrastination has no place in an insight led organisation and one which truly wants to respond to customers and create value-filled and lasting relationships with them.