Your organization undoubtedly has a ton of experience, knowledge, and wisdom within its ranks. From business owners to front-line staff, nobody knows your brand and customers better than your team. So, I understand it when things like customer feedback and data-driven insights get put on the back burner. The reality is, you can make decisions, launch initiatives, and develop strategies without metrics and analytics. They aren’t required for action to be taken.
But consider this; you can drive a car without a speedometer. You can cook without a recipe. You can flip through TV channels without the program guide. There’s a lot of things we can do using our existing experience and knowledge, and many times we breeze through without a problem. But there’s always a level of assumed risk with the “we got this” mindset. Without a speedometer, we might not realize how fast we’re going and end up paying a fine. Without a recipe, we might overcook or under-season the main dish. Without the program guide, we might be scrolling so long we miss the best part of the show.
Of course, much about those outcomes are manageable. They’re not the end of the world. Same goes within a business context. If we make a wrong move, we can usually adapt, adjust, and move on. But the thing is, those missteps and hiccups are very much avoidable. With that, why take on the added risk? Why not add to our base of knowledge with up-to-date information that increases success likelihoods?
As a business owner, I often remind myself of the adage, “We don’t know what we don’t know.” In many cases, it’s only after having started the car, turned on the oven, flipped the first channel, or launched that brand development initiative that we truly realize what we’re up against. By that time, however, it’s too late because we’re already underway. So, another adage rings true here, “It’s better to have and not need than to need and not have.”
As I’ve said, I understand why internal experience and wisdom might trump customer feedback and data-driven insights. But the thing is, it’s not an either-or situation because there’s incredible value in combining the two. The speedometer, the recipe, and the program guide – they’re supporting resources that help increase the likelihood of success. It’s the same with customer feedback and data-driven insights. They’re not meant to replace your instincts and intuition; they’re meant to reinforce them.
At the end of the day, taking a data-driven approach boosts confidence by validating instincts, testing hypotheses, challenging assumptions, and filling knowledge gaps. It sparks meaningful discussion, uncovers new opportunities, and pushes back against the status quo. It also equips us with the vision and perspective to avoid pitfalls, identify blind spots, and sidestep hurdles.
If you have customer feedback and data-driven insights on the back burner, I totally get it. But keep in mind, they aren’t meant to replace your experience, knowledge, and instincts. They’re meant to reinforce your ability to leverage those intangible assets and maximize efficiency along the way.