Your organization undoubtedly has a ton of experience, ideas, 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 why customer feedback and data-driven insight gets put on the back burner. The reality is, metrics and analytics are not necessary to make decisions, launch initiatives, or develop strategies. You’re fully capable of doing those things on your own. However, the roles of feedback and insights aren’t meant to be load bearing, they’re supporting.
Think about it this way; 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 over-season or undercook 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 adapt and adjust. But the thing is, those missteps and hiccups are very much avoidable.
In addition to the outcomes themselves, there’s a level of frustration, stress, and pressure throughout the processes. But 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, it’s too late because we’re already underway. There’s usually a time-sensitive nature to our efforts, and it’s important to get the most out of our invested resources. So, while it would be great to just restart and take a different approach, that’s not always a viable option.
So, yes, I understand why internal experience and wisdom might trump customer feedback and data-driven insights. But it’s not an either-or situation because there’s incredible value in combining the two. Those metrics and analytics that are often deemed unnecessary are the speedometer, the recipe, and the program guide. They’re supporting resources that help increase the likelihood of success. They’re not meant to replace your instincts and intuition; they’re meant to reinforce them.
When making a business decision, you might be certain of 99 out of 100 key points. But what does that one lingering point represent? It might be the biggest one. The point that ultimately determines the outcome. In that situation, when success is on the line, wouldn’t it be nice to have a gut-check? If you’ve reached that stage of the process without having gathered customer feedback or data-driven insights, it’s already too late because a decision needs to be made. It becomes a woulda, coulda, shoulda situation.
Perhaps everything works out fine. Or perhaps it doesn’t. In either case, having those metrics and analytics is never a bad thing. Rather, it boosts confidence, validates instincts, and fills knowledge gaps. It sparks meaningful discussion, uncovers new opportunities, and challenges the status quo. At the highest level, it empowers us to avoid pitfalls 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, ideas, and knowledge. They’re meant to reinforce your ability to leverage those intangible assets and maximize efficiency along the way.