Back to the Basics: Humanizing Your Customer Insights

by Jenny on November 3, 2023 Comments Off on Back to the Basics: Humanizing Your Customer Insights

At our core, MacKenzie is a strategic customer insights firm empowering brands to gain data-driven knowledge, clarity, and wisdom. With that, we live and thrive in the world of numbers and statistics.

However, our overarching mission is to support brands in developing best-in-class products, services, and experiences that deliver truly meaningful benefits, value, and joy. So, while data and statistics are the foundation of what we do, it’s really about partnering with clients in building something special for their customers. In other words, data is the means – not the end.

To fully maximize the impact of data-driven customer insights, there needs to be more than just data. There needs to be context, internal alignment, processes, action plans, holistic strategies, and a variety of other pieces that make up the data-driven puzzle. But, perhaps most importantly, all this needs to be framed by the fact that the numbers and statistics represent unique individuals – each with unique wants, needs, expectations, and lifestyles. This fact cannot be lost throughout data-driven processes because it ties everything back to that overarching focus of delivering customers the benefits, value, and joy they’re looking for.

In getting “back to the basics” of what it means to be a data-driven organization, here I’d like to discuss a key element of bridging the gap between the numbers and the unique individuals they represent – humanizing customer insights. This is vitally important because behind the data are real people with real thoughts, feelings, and stories to tell. Staying connected with those human elements will help ensure your data-driven efforts are happening within a human-centric framework.

Walk a Mile in Their Shoes

Empathy is a powerful tool in the world of customer insights. To truly understand your customers, try to step into their shoes. What are their challenges? What excites them? What are their pain points when interacting with your product or service? By thinking like your customers, you’ll gain insights that resonate on a personal level – and you’ll gain what you need to start humanizing customer insights.

This is where customer personas and journey maps come into play. These tools are great opportunities to bring your data to life in meaningful and actionable ways. They’re also methods for socializing your data across internal teams. You can share personas and journey maps with varied departments and team members so everyone within your organization is rowing in the same direction.

Turn Statistics into Stories

While statistics and metrics are undoubtedly essential, don’t underestimate the power of storytelling. Stories stick with us because they have heart and emotion. Share customer stories that highlight their experiences, struggles, and triumphs. Since you want data to have a lasting impact, converting numbers into stories can showcase the human side of your brand in memorable and compelling ways.

Listen, Don’t Just Hear

When customers share feedback, they’re not just dropping data; they’re sharing their experiences. So, listen actively, whether it’s through social media, surveys, or customer support interactions. Pay attention to their words, tone, and emotions. It’s the little details that often reveal the most about their needs and desires. Taking a human-centric approach to listening is a key step in humanizing customer insights.

The Power of Surveys

Surveys are an excellent way to add a human touch to your data collection. Make your surveys conversational and engaging, and include open-ended questions that allow customers to share their thoughts freely. Their responses can provide rich, insightful anecdotes that can steer your strategy. This is all about asking the right people the right questions at the right time to ensure each engagement is relevant and aligned with topics that are most important to customers.

Maintain the Feedback Loop

Customers appreciate it when you take their feedback to heart. They also want to see and feel how the data they produce is being used to their benefit. By maintaining an open feedback loop with follow-up and proactive communication, you’re showing them that they’re being heard. Try sharing key findings and action items that stem from their feedback and shared data. These are tangible ways to demonstrate that their voices are being taken seriously.

In a nutshell, humanizing customer insights is about more than just data; it’s about understanding and connecting with the people who make your business thrive. Keep in mind that behind every data point, there’s a real person with real experiences. By keeping this human element at the core of your strategy, you’ll build stronger, more meaningful relationships with your customers and, in turn, boost your business’s success.


Jenny Dinnen is President of Sales and Marketing at MacKenzie Corporation. Driven to maximize customer's value and exceed expectations, Jenny carries a can-do attitude wherever she goes. She maintains open communication channels with both her clients and her staff to ensure all goals and objectives are being met in an expeditious manner. Jenny is a big-picture thinker who leads MacKenzie in developing strategies for growth while maintaining a focus on the core services that have made the company a success. Basically, when something needs to get done, go see Jenny. Before joining MacKenzie, Jenny worked at HD Supply as a Marketing Manager and Household Auto Finance in their marketing department. Jenny received her undergrad degree in Marketing from the University of Colorado (Boulder) and her MBA from the University of Redlands.

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