What are consumer insights?

Consumer insights are analyzes used by businesses to summarize how their audience thinks and feels. By analyzing human behaviors, companies can spot ways to optimize their service to better meet customer needs.

As Bruce Tempkin, head of the Qualtrics XM Institute, explained to CX Network: “Organizations focus on many different elements with CX, but at the end of the day CX is about human beings.” Preferences and behavioral insights can guide customer experience improvements and act as a basis for new CX projects.

How to collect customer insights

Consumer insights are gathered from customer data, which can be collected from a number of sources.

The value of survey data in consumer insights

By inviting customers to complete surveys, companies can identify trends in the experiences of many customers, which provides a range of insights to build CX strategies from.

Fern Roberts, customer experience insight manager at Tesco, gave tips on how to strike the right balance with customer surveys: “You need to get the survey questions right. It is always a challenge balancing survey fatigue with being data rich. At Tesco we are continuously reviewing our customer surveys, and asking ourselves to consider: what are we using the data for? What is it feeding?”

By evaluating survey results with analytics technologies, companies are able to identify key trends at scale. These insights can then contribute to building a better idea of the customer and their digital behavior, thus contributing to future CX initiatives.

The power of customer journey mapping

A customer journey map is a visualization of when and how customers come into contact with a company both on and offline.

Customer experience management tech provider Quadient defined customer journey mapping as: “The process of capturing what the customer is doing, thinking and feeling as they complete an interaction or transaction while attempting to achieve some goal or outcome. It is a visualization of the steps that the customer takes on the journey, from the moment they had a need until it is fulfilled.”

Journey mapping can help create consumer insights by deepening a business’ understanding on customer needs, pain points and the best touchpoints to use certain technologies, such as self-service systems or automated interactions.

By mapping out the customer journey, brands can begin to understand not only who they are designing their services for, but what is holding back current user experiences, therefore creating useful consumer insights that can be used in future CX projects.

Contact centre enquiry mining

Contact centres are moving beyond their traditional role as a resource to troubleshoot user issues and are instead becoming a key component of CX strategies. They are also a data-rich resource that companies can utilize to gain consumer insights.

Frank Sherlock, VP of international at CallMiner, explains how this data can help reduce customer churn: “With the right technology, contact centres can automatically draw out deeper meaning across all conversations. This allows organizations to uncover unexpected trends, so they have the opportunity to address those fracture points before they lead to customer churn.”

By mining enquries at contact centers for data from interactions, companies can glean useful information about customers. Customer sentiment can be measured at the moment of truth, such as the interaction between the customer and the agent and gaps in CSAT survey data can be filled using a well-designed internal quality monitoring framework.

Values and outcomes of customer insights

Boosting ROI in CX

Consumer insights empower brands to calculate the returns of investing (ROI) in customer experiences. By using customer insights to optimize e-commerce capabilities by improving the end customer experience, this can help increase ROI. By putting the customer listening to valuable feedback, businesses are empowered by consumer insights that lead to business growth through cost saving and revenue generating opportunities.

Anders Normann, senior director of customer experience at DSV Panalpina shared his advice on proving ROI from CX: “All this ‘getting ROI from CX’, to me is a journey. I would also advise organizations to carefully consider the ROI discussion in the early days because yes, you collect feedback from the customers and then what? You have insights and new information. Now it becomes a leadership decision to act on it and have the guts to make new decisions from a toolbox that you’re not used to. [For that] you are up against many years of legacy.”

Additionally, by using customer insights, companies are able to rapidly uncover the root causes of customer pain points. This can ultimately help to boost customer lifetime values as the issues holding back experiences and frustrating customers are solved.

Upgrading customer experiences in real-time and pre-empting issues

Once companies have the set up to analyze consumer insights, they can use them to react in the moment and upgrade experiences with real time analytics. With predictive analytics, brands can prempt issues and address them before they even become a known problem for customers.

To utilize the amount of interaction data available via customer interactions, a growing number of organisations are looking to real-time conversation analytics.

The insights created by real-time conversation analytics helps provide a deeper understanding of customers, employees and the overall status of the business as it provides a snapshot of the current status of the business and customer understanding. The process of data analysis can often take weeks or even months, while real-time analytics are instantaneous. This means they can be used in the moment by agents, even while they are communicating with customers.

CX Network contributor, Joshua Tye customer experience leader at Wellstar Health System, notes the benefits of a brand using analytics to develop a real-time presence in a customer’s decision-making processes: “It creates a concierge-like atmosphere that lends itself to the customer’s goals, promoting consistent quality and efficiency. The stronger your presence is in the decision-making process, the greater the likelihood of consumers making decisions that work in your favor.”

For businesses to optimize customer and employee experiences, they need a holistic view of the entire journey. This requires an in-depth view of updated data, so the latest insights are used to sharpen decision making.

Challenges with capitalizing on consumer insights

Actioning insights gathered from customer data

CX Network recently found that actioning insights is a challenge that many CX practicioners face.

Just over a third of the 155 CX practitioners surveyed in The Big Book of Customer Data and Analytics cited turning insights into action as one of the biggest data challenges they face.

Source: The Big Book of Customer Data and Analytics

Actioning insights can be difficult for CX practitioners as the sheer amount of data collected can complicate locating insight or trends specific to individual customers to boost their satisfaction.

Sean Cramer, senior director of customer insights at Palo Alto Networks, stated in The Global State of Customer Experience: “Insights without actions are absolutely useless. If there is no action to resolve customer concerns, then we are spinning our wheels to create shiny dashboards that capture and learn as much as possible, but if there is no action it is useless – no progress is being made in reality.”

Ensuring data integrity

If a company’s focus to solely on collecting data rather than ensuring the integrity of that data, it can lead to a limited understanding of customers, flawed business decisions and incomplete customer profiles. Data, data integrity and accuracy are critical success factors when it comes to creating accurate customer insights.

Bad data integrity can complicate accessing representative insights to base CX projects on. Incomplete customer profiles and diverse data sources can complicate the insights given by blurring the visibility a company has on past purchasing behaviors and customer preferences.

Case study: Volkswagen

Volkswagen recently actioned consumer insights in order to launch an ecommerce site that helped boost vehicle sales, even during the pandemic.

After implementing a real-time voice of the customer program, CX Network contributor, Jason Bradshaw, former chief customer and marketing officer for Volkswagen Group Australia, discovered that real-time conversation data was instrumental to informing CX business cases. With the data collected, Volkswagen was able to determine that 30 per cent of customers were happy to buy a vehicle online. Once ecommerce access was launched to one of their models, it sold out within 12 hours.

Bradshaw explained: “With the pandemic taking hold March 2020 was forecasted to have no vehicle sales for three to four months as a best-case scenario. We set the team to research and within days had enough data to show that customers were willing to buy online.

“Most customers didn’t even want to do a test drive and this drove the implementation of our ecommerce platform. We combined brand experience data about what customers wanted during the pandemic and CX data from online sales to improve.”

Source: What are consumer insights? | CX Network

Eelco Krikke

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