Consumer insights, along with 'market research' and 'customer experience', are one of those business terms that come up often.
And for good reason -- customer insights help you prioritize business goals since they consist of data that, in the long term, you can use to manage and improve your customer satisfaction.
Improving customer satisfaction over time, above all else, has proven to future-proof businesses.
Research from Microsoft found that businesses who examine their customer behavior and use it to leverage consumer insights outperform their peers by 85% in sales growth.
The active process of observing customer behavior in order to improve future experiences is known as customer experience management (CXM), and customer insights are the golden nuggets that great CXM can fish out.
These insights indicate exactly what changes can improve your service.
In this beginner's introduction to customer insights we'll explore what customer insights are and what they are not, then move on to some great starting points so you can start finding and leveraging your own insights.
Click through to the section most useful to you.
A consumer insight is information that a business gathers about their audience to get a deeper understanding about what they need -- and their sentiment towards the business. By analyzing what both current and potential customers think and feel about a brand, businesses are able to improve their products and services.
Consumer insights are key because customer experience is king.
Accurate customer insights are the ultimate outcome from understanding your customer base's needs. By implementing your insights you will be able to increase loyalty with your existing base as well as drawing new eyes through customer advocacy -- and the numbers back this up.
Beyond the businesses that outperform brands that don't leverage insights, overall customer experience (CX) has a drastic impact on your bottom line. A Bain & Co study found that companies who excel at CX grow 4-8% above their market. Furthermore, if your customer experience management (CXM) strategy succeeds in turning customers into promoters of your brand (as defined by NPS), it increases their lifetime value by 6 to 14 times.
Information conveyed with the intention to be acted upon.
More general and encompasses any and all attempts to gather information on both customers and competitors. This can include, for instance, research on specific customer segments and their spending habits.
Or, it could be research on the average NPS score, say, within your business industry -- this kind of market research provides valuable general benchmarks for your company.
Why It Matters:
Market research crosses a fine line and becomes consumer insight when it goes through the process of data analysis.
If the analysis comes with conclusions and a narrative -- you've got insights. Insights are actionable and will lead to growth.
Let's go through the steps necessary to perform such successful analysis.
All insights start from raw data. In the case of consumer insights, you are looking at raw data from your customers, not your industry or competitors.
Now, this data is referred to as 'raw' because it hasn't been passed through the necessary software tools in order to transform it into clean data. Once your data is clean, in other words correct, consistent and usable it can be analyzed by more sophisticated software to find consumer insights.
Then, you can leverage your insights to strengthen your brand, develop deeper emotional investment with existing and new customers, and see brand loyalty trend upwards.
Before getting there, let's break down the different kinds of consumer data out there. Consumer data experts divide the totality of data out there into two camps: close-ended data and open-ended data.
Close-ended data translate directly into metrics or firmographic data (company size, location, industry), whereas open-ended data is typically text, voice, or video based (what is known as qualitative data) and requires different advanced tools but can unlock deeper, otherwise hidden, insights.
There are two approaches to gathering said data, active and passive data collection.
Active voice of customer collection programs are likely what you typically think of when it comes to gathering customer data:
1. Survey Campaigns: This is a big one. The ability to shape, distribute and collect, surveys directly to your customers is the cornerstone of all customer experience and consumer insight programs. Make sure your survey campaign approach is the best it can be with the top survey analysis tools for 2022.
2. Interviews, chats, customer support recaps: Directly interviewing businesses that have bought and have found success with your program is a surefire way to get data on what you are doing right, and even what features they would like to have in the future.
Check out our customers section at Monkeylearn -- we research and write up success stories that dig into exactly how different businesses got results with our product suite.
Chats and customer support recaps, meaning post-business interaction (i.e. post-purchase) conversations can be a great way, if the customer has the time, to review how certain chunks of your customer journey went. This direct touchpoint data can be easily transformed into insights.
Passive data collection is almost a misnomer because, to be done right, it requires effort and maintenance. Passive collection includes:
1. Parsing Online Reviews: Reviews have come a long way and the review industry has become more accessible and increasingly sophisticated as the web has matured.
Trustpilot are perhaps the best example of this. The review site changed the game by beginning to market themselves as not only a place for customers to leave reviews, but also as a business side survey response service. They allow companies to subscribe to their service, either on a freemium basis or at a monthly rate, so they can access all their reviews and shape how their individual Trustpilot landing page looks like.
Customer review data from Trustpilot is in depth and can be plugged right in to advanced analytics suites, but other staples like Yelp, Amazon etc are also goldmines for consumer insights. Gather the reviews, prepare your data, then apply some analytics and you've turned raw data into actionable insight.
2. Monitoring Website Analytics: Understanding how and where customers are running into friction points with your website, from landing page to the most obscure FAQ, is invaluable to improving their journeys.
Hotjar is a leading customer experience company, with a focus on tracking where users click the most and interact with on each page of your site. This, and other user behavior software CX solutions, allow you to passively monitor how intuitive your website is for visiting customers.
3. Social Media Input: The fluid landscape of social media popularity appears volatile and unpredictable -- because it is. However, it still contains hidden treasure troves of user behavior data if you look in the right places.
For companies looking for actionable insights, not just noise, it's recommended to prioritize customer demographic above all else when jumping into the deep end of social media data.
Take a long hard look at your current customer demographics, then research which app or site your customer segments (older, younger, nationality, location etc) spend the most time on. From there, get your researchers and data scientists to locate and prepare the data, and you're ready to make some use of it.
Speaking of, here's how to turn that data with potential into real insights.
To get the most out of your insights you are going to need the right tools.
Beyond the few listed above, it's recommended to get a CXM suite that fits your business needs. These software suites actively listen and collect VoC data both actively and passively: check out our top 8 VoC tools list here.
However, if you want to make your insight game the best it can be -- you'll need some powerful AI tools.
Monkeylearn specializes in turning complex, open-ended response data (think thousands of written reviews and customer support queries) into visual insights in real time and at scale.
But what can these insights actually accomplish?
Quite a lot. The big four improvements that consumer insights can lead to are:
This is the end all be all for most customer experience teams. The insights you gather should, first and foremost, help you decide what features to add and/or remove from your products.
Many stop there and that's a mistake, in the modern market your customer service should be treated like a product. Improving your customer service experiences is integral to great overall CX because it leaves customers with a better perception of your company, and a feeling of being cared for -- leading to a genuine connection and loyalty in the long term.
Knowing your customer is great business advice. Great consumer insights help you shape your product and teach you about your customers.
Knowing more about your varied customer segments and their buying habits and/or attitude towards your business can inform future products, survey campaigns, and customer experience strategy overall.
Roadmap, Pricing, etc: Letting your hard-earned insights lead the way in decision making is crucial to future-proofing your business.
Only with the right, most accurate data can you be sure to make the best long-term decisions. So grab as much as you can, while you can. Deep insight can inform price point, roadmap for growth, and even where you (and your competitors) are most vulnerable so necessary preparations can be made.
Customer experience (CX) has proven to be the number one differentiator between businesses in an increasingly crowded market.
Hence the rise of customer experience management (CXM) aka customer relationship management (CRM) software suites, which can help you engender loyalty, retain customers and reduce churn. The results?
Greater lifetime profits and ever-increasing brand reputation. All you need to do is listen to your customers, and their insights will hand you the keys to success.
At the end of the day, obtaining best-possible consumer insights comes down to establishing an effective Voice of Customer program so your customers can fill you in on their needs, then using effective data analysis techniques to transform the close and open-ended data you collect.
Your overall business plan is only as good as your consumer insights are accurate.
If you're looking for accuracy, especially with varied types and complexities of data, look no further than MonkeyLearn.
MonkeyLearn's text analysis and visualization suite can generate accurate and nuanced consumer insights displayed in a dashboard that's custom built for your business.\ Book a free demo to have a custom model built for your business, or jump right in and see how it world for yourself with a free trial.
March 16th, 2022