Dealing with the opinions and comments of your customers, prospects, partners or even critics is not always easy … Yet this is the best avenue for improvement and inspiration that you can find, for the unfulfilled expectations of today’s customers represent as many strong points for you tomorrow!
It is a view shared by company managers, of whom more than 75% believe that consumer insights are essential for accelerating their growth.
However, despite this growing awareness, taking action remains difficult for many, and few can pride themselves on having built an effective strategy for handling insights. Thus, only 20% are capable of transforming the data into insights that lead to effective actions… Methodology, required organisation, tools: here are a few tips to follow, and the practices of companies that are already effective in this field!
In search of insights…
There are three sources of insights:
- internal company data: all data related to transactions between the customer and the company: frequency of purchase, average basket amount, exchanges with customer service …
- data gathered from the web: captured opinions and comments of customers, as well as prospects, partners, even employees, from social networks, online opinion sites etc …
- survey feedback: in this case, insight is solicited directly from the interested parties. Surveys are particularly appropriate for collecting respondents’ expectations and perceptions.
“These three sources of insights are mutually complementary. Transactional data alone is not enough to get an accurate representation of reality, while opinions expressed on the web sometimes remain too isolated to be meaningful, and therefore usable. This is why it is better to make use of a combination of all three“, advises Thierry Aubert, co-director of MediaTech Solutions. It is in fact the practice of 67% of the most successful companies in this respect, who report mixing multiple data sources, against only 34% for the worst performing companies.
How to collect?
Although internal data accumulates in the CRM, the gatherings from the web and survey feedback require a little more expertise. For this, artificial intelligence can be harnessed to serve companies, in the form of software platforms, which themselves interface with the CRM.
“The customer’s voice management platforms share insights with employees in real-time and in a personalised way so that everyone can adapt their decisions and their actions on a daily basis,” underlines Thierry Aubert.
In other words, these tools not only help with data collection, but they also help to optimise the customer-related actions of everyone within the company: “The best insight management platforms incorporate artificial intelligence capabilities, which help identify and prioritise the factors influencing satisfaction or recommendation“, adds Thierry Aubert.
|According to company managers, what are the best measures for promoting the gathering and exploitation of insights?
Source : Forbes Insight study, 2016
Although these tools provide real-time collection of insights, this should not be systematic. “Gathering inputs from all customers and all the time is not the solution. Furthermore, collecting insight creates expectations in customers, who anticipate that there will be a response or an action as a result of their participation. Also, the gathering of insight should be conducted intelligently and cautiously, to avoid the risk of generating frustrations at the customer“, warns Thierry Aubert.
Thus, the collection must address a relevant target for the company, and be made at the appropriate moment. “The collection of insight must be thought through and be designed to fit into the organisation’s continuous improvement processes. It is also often preceded by the company’s intuition about possible areas of improvement“, he states.
Adapting the organisation
Although we often hear – and rightly so – that the customer experience concerns all employees, what about the collection and processing of insights?
A first observation: although in 52% of companies, data and customer insights are managed at the executive level, in most cases employees are encouraged to contribute, for example by updating the CRM following a customer contact.
Insight can concern and originate from one or more departments within the same company … Which is clearly what the most successful companies in the exploitation of insight have grasped, for 69% of them have teams that are dedicated to insight, working closely with one or more operational departments (sales, marketing, customer relations …)
As far as what we may call insight analysis is concerned, this mission is usually the responsibility of the marketing and/or customer relations department. But more and more, especially in major accounts, we are seeing the creation of groups that are specifically dedicated to insights. “This type of organisation offers a more transversal view. But care must be taken to prevent it becoming a bottleneck which monopolises the voice of the customer! The ability of these teams to involve the entire organisation, and in particular the operational units, will ultimately be the key to their success“, cautions Thierry Aubert.
From objective to ROI
What should be expected from the collection and analysis of insights? Thierry Aubert identifies 4 levers:
- Structural improvements: in other words, an evolution of the commercial offer, the marketing promise, the pricing …
- Operational improvements: transforming practices within teams for greater customer-centricity, local operational improvements at sales outlets, contact centres, etc.
- Remedial leverage: addressing dissatisfaction and other risks thanks to the collection of real-time feedback; bounce-back on business or loyalty creation opportunities
- Capitalising on customer insight: disseminating customer feedback – mainly via the web – in order to improve the reputation and image of the brand, its points of sale, and to contribute to the development of its activity
These 4 levers make it possible to obtain tangible results.
First of all, there are often savings in “non-quality” costs. Among these: the loss of revenue related to a high churn rate, the costs generated by the processing of complaints or too many calls to customer service, etc…
Secondly, the analysis of insight leads to strategic actions that enable an improvement in commercial performance, and therefore in sales. In addition, customer insights offer many occasions for commercial bounce-backs and therefore opportunities, not only to build bridges leading to cross-selling for example, but also to re-engage the customer for the long term.
Finally, something which is more complex to measure but no less real, “a concrete exploitation of customer insights within the organisation is an extremely powerful lever to accompany and support cultural and/or organisational business transformation programs“, explains Thierry Aubert. And to cite the example of Engie Home Services, a MediaTech customer: “This company is undertaking a shift in its positioning, putting the customer at the centre of its organisation, and no longer simply offering a boiler maintenance service. Thanks to the sharing and exploitation of customer feedback, Engie Home Services agencies and employees are positioning themselves more naturally in favour of this new corporate culture. The insights help to illustrate and legitimise the changes“.
Boston Consulting Group study, August 2016
Insights study, 2020, Kantar Vermeer
Forbes Insight study, 2016