You may already be familiar with the subject of customer insight – after all, you’ve probably been on the receiving end of it plenty of times before! Customer insight includes all the information that is collected from consumers which can then help businesses better understand who they are, what they need, and how they feel.
Customer insight can be gold dust for your business if used properly, and getting your hands on it can be the ticket to growing your brand, getting more sales and ensuring that your customers come back time and time again. With growing competition and savvier shoppers comes a need to be even more precise in how you market your business. Simply casting your net as wide as possible and hoping someone will bite is no longer enough. Gathering customer insight lets you get to the heart of what they want and reach out in a way that will really resonate with your audience.
Just gathering customer insight isn’t quite enough, though – customer insight marketing is all about using the right tools to help turn this insight into action, and make changes that can have a positive impact on your business.
It’s all well and good gathering customer insight, but the magic begins when you use the data to make smart decisions, and that’s where customer insight marketing comes in. By using the right technology and tools, you can take a deeper look into your insight to discover whole other dimensions to your business – from predicting what your customers are going to do next, working out what it is that they really want, and what influences their behaviour.
By detecting patterns, spotting opportunities and picking up on trends in your customer insight, you can shape your marketing strategy and campaigns to help improve every aspect of your business.
Using your customer insight effectively can do so much for your business too, helping you to:
Customer insight marketing can open up a wealth of opportunities for your business, but it’s not something you can jump into headfirst - you need to develop a comprehensive customer insight strategy first.
Here are our 7 steps to building a great customer insight strategy.
What are you hoping to achieve by implementing your customer insight strategy? Is there something you’re trying to get to the bottom of? Perhaps you want to know why your customers are churning, or why your basket abandonment is so high. Are you getting a lot of returns and need some answers? Are your marketing campaigns missing the mark?
Get input from every department in your business to work out which areas you need to focus on as a company, and which issues are having the biggest effect and need prioritising.
Once you’ve got a clear list of objectives it will help you target the right customers, and ask the right questions at the right points in their journeys to get the answers you need.
Every effective strategy needs some deadlines. In the case of your customer insight marketing strategy, you’ll need to consider:
Make sure you’re realistic when you set your timelines! Take into account any barriers that might slow down the process, such as resources, budget and any potential slow periods of business.
This is an important one – the part where you work out who exactly you are hoping to collect customer insight from. This is where you’ll need to refer back to your objectives to figure out who you need to be reaching out to in order to get the answers you need. For example, you might want to know which of your stores is performing best? In this case you’d need to ask customers from a particular region about their in-store experience once they’ve visited.
It’s not all about collecting data from your existing customers – some of the most useful insights come from those who haven’t dealt with your business yet. If one of your objectives is to find out why your website isn’t converting, rather than reaching out to customers who are already using your business, you’ll need to talk to those who are slipping through the net. Likewise, if you want to get a good idea of how your brand is perceived from an ‘outsider’s’ point of view, then gathering insight from potential customers is a good way to go about it.
The next step in your customer insight marketing strategy is all about putting yourself in your customer’s shoes and getting to know their journeys inside-out. The best way to do this is by creating a customer journey map.
Customer journey mapping helps businesses understand every interaction that their customers will ever have with them. Knowing how, when and where people come into contact with your brand means you can start to pinpoint exactly when in the customer journey you need to collect customer insight to get the answers you need.
You’ll need to plot every single touchpoint in your customer’s journey – from the first time they see or hear from your brand all the way through to the customer service you give them after they’ve bought from you. Through each of these touchpoints your customers will have lots of different experiences which shapes their opinion of your business – and that means lots of valuable customer insight there for the taking!
Mapping out your customer journey may also encourage you to re-visit those objectives we talked about in step one. By laying everything out on the table, you can spot any potential gaps and inconsistencies in your processes. Perhaps your customer journey isn’t quite in-line with what your business stands for, or you haven’t quite hit the nail on the head with your messaging. Having visibility of these issues at this stage isn’t a setback – it means that you’ve created even more opportunities to gather more precious customer insight!
Every customer journey map will be different, so there’s really no right or wrong way to do it, so long as you’re thorough. Here are a few pointers to get you started:
Keep your different customer personas in mind. Not all of your customers are on the same journey! If you have lots of different customer personas, start with your most common and go from there.
Get all your departments involved. Customer journey mapping isn’t just about how customers interact with your website – it includes everything from paid ads to customer service and sales calls.
Make a note of all the actions your customers have to take. Working out exactly what your customers have to do when dealing with your brand helps you to realise what your customers are expected to do to achieve their goals. Perhaps there is a way you can reduce the number of steps?
Collect insight as part of the process. The purpose of your customer journey map is to help you pinpoint exactly where you should be asking for feedback, but collecting customer insight as part of the process can also be really beneficial. Using surveys, for example, can help you add some reasoning and emotion to your customer journey map to help you realise why your customers are making the decisions they’re making; whether it’s clicking away from your website too soon or taking the long way round before they hit the checkout.
At this point, you should know your objectives, have a clear idea of who you need to target, and have a comprehensive map of your customer journey. You’ve homed in on the areas that you need to improve and the right places to ask for feedback – now it’s time to start collecting your customer insight!
There are lots of different ways of collecting customer insight, all of which can be grouped into two main categories; quantitative and qualitative.
Quantitative customer insight
Qualitative customer insight
Collecting customer reviews is another great way of getting plenty of qualitative insight from your customers.
You can collect feedback on the products you sell, the service you provide, individual stores and branches – anything! Using tools like Feefo’s Campaign Manager Tool, you can even pinpoint exact moments in the customer journey to ask feedback.
This is where you can refer back to your customer journey map, focusing in on the areas that you feel need improvement. If you need better insight into how smooth your booking process is, for example, you can arrange for a feedback request to be sent right after a customer has made a booking. Giving your customers the opportunity to share their thoughts in their own time means you’re likely to hear how they really feel. Perhaps you’ve had some complaints about your delivery service – Campaign Manager Tool allows you to collect feedback whenever you like, so you could check in with your customer right after they’ve received their order.
We spoke before about mixing qualitative and quantitative methods with surveys, and you can do the same with customer reviews, too. Net Promoter Score is a simple question which asks your customers whether they would recommend your business on a scale from 1-10 to determine if they’re ‘detractors’, ‘passives’ or ‘promoters’ when it comes to your service. This can be sent out as part of your feedback requests, so not only can you plot where you stand on the scale, but you can also take a deeper look into the sentiment behind the scores by checking what your customer have said in their reviews.
Once you’ve gathered your customer feedback, analysing the data is simple so long as you’re using the right tools. If you’re drowning in customer insight and don’t know where to start, here are a few steps to sorting through your data:
Include everything – good and bad!
There’s really no point in collecting customer insight if you pick and choose which data you include in your analysis. Say you’re collecting customer reviews, for example. Whilst sifting through your negative feedback may not give you much of an ego-boost, taking your weaker areas into account when looking at your business as a whole can help you find the answers you need to make all the right changes.
No need to run scared. Negative reviews can actually work wonders for your business. Find out how to make the most of them in our handy guide.
Categorise your feedback
To get a good view of how your customers view your business, you need to start categorising your customer insight into themes. This will obviously vary depending on your business, but these categories could be anything from customer service, website performance, delivery, the returns procedure, the booking process, the site facilities – the list goes on and on. Identifying the most reoccurring themes in your feedback, whether they’re mentioned in a positive or negative light, will help you figure out what’s being talked about the most. Putting your customer insight into categories may even highlight some areas that you didn’t even know were causing issues.
Take another look at your objectives here – don’t lose sight of what you set out to achieve! There are no guidelines when it comes to catergorising your customer insight. Every business is different, and the right tags for you will depend on what you provide, and what you’re looking out for.
Feefo’s Insight Tags tool allows you to tag and track themes across your customer reviews, so you can discover what people are saying about your business. Tag themes such as ‘quality’ and ‘price’ to track and manage the reviews mentioning these topics, and use the insight to better understand how your customers feel about these areas, making sure that you implement changes that really matter.
“Insight tag reporting across all our customer feedback has given us fantastic insight into our business. It lets us recognise trends, quickly identify customer concerns, and monitor customer experience initiatives across the business”.Adam Cornish, Customer Experience Manager, Expedia
Look for the trends
You’ve got your customer insight in the bag, you’ve sorted it into categories to focus on your main issues – now it’s time to take a deeper look. Of all the steps you take in your customer insight marketing strategy, identifying trends is one of the most important. This is where you discover exactly where you’re hitting the mark, and which touchpoints could do with some work.
So, how do you go about spotting these trends in your customer insight? Looking through everything manually is time-consuming, laborious and let’s face it – pretty boring. Luckily, there are tools out there which can do all this for you. Letting software do the hard work has plenty of benefits; not only is the process infinitely quicker, simpler and easier on your resources, but it also eradicates the chance of human error and bias.
Performance Profiling is Feefo’s AI tool which automatically analyses your customer feedback, identifies sentiment and gives you an at-a-glance view of the main issues that are affecting your customers. Performance Profiling can instantly analyse your customer insight with:
“We wanted the ability to show we listen to our customers and Performance Profiling has given us the perfect opportunity to connect and demonstrate our fantastic customer service. Performance Profiling helped us to see what we could do to improve our delivery processes and opened up some really interesting conversations between us and Our Customers. The conversations were fed back to the relevant decision makers, who were then able to take action and improve the customer experience”.Rachel Lewis, Customer Response Co-Ordinator, Iceland
Hopefully, by this point you’ll have uncovered all sorts of insight, but we’re not finished yet. It’s time to turn your data into decisions! Without this step, all this precious customer insight that you’ve collected will be for nothing.
Of course, this stage works on a case-by-case basis. No two businesses will have the same findings, or the same objectives. Here are some examples of how small, medium and enterprise businesses could make valuable changes using their customer insight:
With increasing competition from larger chains, the owners of a small independent coffee shop were looking for ways to keep hold of their customers. By using Feefo Places, they were able to implement customer reviews and ask their customers questions about their products and service. When looking through the most used terms and phrases in the data, they noticed a reoccurring theme. Customers loved the coffee and the ethics behind the brand, but were used to using loyalty schemes at bigger coffee chains. The coffee shop introduced a loyalty card scheme – a simple change which quickly gave them back their edge, and saw the number of repeat customers quickly increase.
A car dealership, with ten sites nationwide, noticed some disparity in the sales figures they were seeing across the different sites. They didn’t just want to know why some were performing better than others, but they also wanted to bring all the figures in-line with the highest performing locations. The business started collecting customer reviews, and quickly realised that certain dealerships were suffering due to poor customer service. The business sent surveys out to their staff, and the results showed that the staff in the worst performing dealerships felt they could benefit from more training. Customer Service training was rolled out in all the weaker locations, and sales gradually began to rise.
A well-known online gift retailer noticed that they were experiencing a sudden peak in returns, so started collecting customer reviews to find out why. After analysing the insight, they noticed that the majority of the negative reviews were about gifts arriving too late, often missing the occasion and then ending up being useless. The business had recently swapped courier companies, so took swift action to return to their previous delivery provider. A few weeks after, the returns had plummeted, and posts from unhappy customers on social media quickly got lost amongst the positive ones!
We’ve said it before, but we’ll say it again. Customer insights are perhaps the most valuable thing that you can own as a business. Having them means you can:
If you’d like to talk to us about how to use reviews as part of your customer insight strategy, get in touch with a member of our team and we’ll be happy to help.
To learn about how customer feedback can start playing a big part in your brand development, get in touch with a member of our friendly team who will be happy to talk to you about how Feefo can help.