Finding & using CUSTOMER INSIGHT
Focus customer insights around customer’s behaviours, needs and issues/ friction points.
Customer data is exploding, so please don’t start in channel performance data weeds. Focus insight reports around customers. Start with the basic customer questions; ‘What do our most important customers really want?’ ‘How many customers do we have in each segment’, ‘Are they growing?’, ‘What is the value/ profitability of each customer’. Set hypothesises that if answered will directly guide business decisions. That way data gathered stays useful.
Treasure moments with customers.
Treat every customer interaction preciously; when the customers is using the product, when they are on the phone, on your mobile site i.e. engaged with you. Invest to ensure interactions represent the best of your brand.
Hire quality researchers.
There is an incredible range of research quality. You need to find the right partners who know how to extract the real underlying customer needs and motivations, so customers’ ‘why’, along with the ‘what’. Just knowing ‘what’ they do will only get you to first base.
Use Behavioural Economics theories to improve customer experience design.
You don’t need to start your customer understanding from scratch. Humans are incredibly predictable beings with underlying needs and motivations. They also therefore respond to stimulus in remarkably consistent ways. The application of Behavioural Economics theories can quickly improve marketing effectiveness. It is very usefully applied to; choices, pricing*, selling, and their end digital interface design.
Align the business around one customer segmentation, make it real time and data easily available to users.
A business needs to agree one customer segmentation framework, otherwise the company is not aligned on products, services, npd nor targeting. Segmentation is needs based (often strongly linked to an industry or how the product/service is used). Segments are homogeneous within them and heterogeneous between them. Don’t have too many segment for your resources, they have to be profitable to target and serve. The customer data for each segment needs to be ready and active at the fingertips of all departments who need to use the segments.
Model customer lifecycles.
Model customer acquisition, retention, drop off and lifetime value (LTV) metrics. Do you have emotional or transactional loyalty and which one are you trying to improve? Which metrics are improving and why?
Meet customers in their world.
During my time at ?Whatif!, an innovation agency, the approach was to really understand the role of a brand in customer’s lives by taking part in them. Techniques included; ideation workshops, co-creation, depth interviews and ethnography research, so visiting people in their homes and going shopping with them. Bring real customers into the boardroom at critical points.
Create a Customer Listening System.
I advocate creation of a Customer Listening System that tracks customer interactions and responses that follows the entire CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE. Where to listen; staff including front & back office, complaints logs, staff surveys and internal comms platforms like intranets, customer (& non customer) surveys, product reviews, social media sentiment & messages, UGC, customer npd workshops, and for the very modern company a managed crowd platform for ideas sharing between chosen customers and the company. However this is only one side of the listening story. There’s zero point in doing this without the process in place to analyse the results, flag the issues and then for the company to act. Key issues should be discussed at Executive level with project teams briefed to rectify customer issues limiting growth. Cspace offers an interesting model of managed customer communities to gain insight and test innovations they call ‘customer inspired growth’.
*In most markets price driven customers represent 10% of the base. Buyers tend not to know the price of items if shown them in isolation, they will seek a price reference point.