Up to this point, I’ve focused mainly on what to do while conducting a customer insights project. From keeping an open mind to encouraging creative problem solving, these points are most relevant during project planning and execution. But it’s just as important to discuss why customer insights projects are launched in the first place.
As businesses, our customers are the reason we exist. Their support and loyalty allow us to continue doing what we love. So, this fundamental truth should remain front-of-mind throughout the entirety of any new project or initiative. At each step along a project’s timeline, we encourage our clients to step back and assess how their efforts will benefit the customer. If the positive impact is unclear, we revisit the approach and adjust as needed. This part of our strategic approach will differ from one project to another, so it’s worth digging in a bit further.
The natural order of operations for a customer insights project has the customer impact at the end, which is neither good nor bad. It’s simply how the process works. We start with project planning, run through the project phases, determine the best course of action, then customers see and feel the impact of those efforts. With so many variables and moving pieces to consider during the early stages, it’s easy to lose sight of the customer’s place within the project.
So, during each stage from beginning-to-end, we pause and ask ourselves, “how will this benefit the customer?” Not only does this help keep the entire project on track, but it also helps avoid spending time and resources on things that aren’t serving a clearly defined purpose.
When initially setting the project objectives and desired outcomes, the customers thoughts, feelings, and/or experiences should be included. That’s a given. But their inclusion isn’t limited to post-project impact or outcomes. They will be playing an active role throughout the process. Gathering customer feedback requires their participation, so their experience should matter as much as the information being received.
When scripting a feedback survey, the questions need to be as important and relevant to them as it is to your business. Taking a survey is a brand engagement touchpoint, so it needs to be treated like any other point along the customer journey. Authenticity, brand identity alignment, and overall experience matters. Communicating what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and how their insights will be used helps bring them into the process. It helps them feel connected with the brand and shows how much they are valued. These elements are often overlooked and result in missed opportunities to strengthen customer relationships.
In addition to customers, it’s important to keep our team members in mind. If we’re gathering customer insights to guide decision making, what types of insights will be most beneficial for those involved? How should results be formatted and delivered to best serve their intended purpose? Each step and action should be determined with your people front-of-mind. This will establish a framework and provide creative direction as we seek wisdom and explore creative solutions.
At the end of every customer insights project, we want to have actionable next steps that move us forward along the brand development journey. We also want to have provided positive experiences for everyone involved. Maintaining people-first mindset throughout the project planning, logistics, and implementation stages will help increase overall success likelihood.
At MacKenzie, our approach is built on a foundation of being creative, curious, and customer-centric. We genuinely want our clients to achieve their goals as efficiently and effectively as possible. So, the only way we achieve our goals is if our clients achieve theirs.
If our strategic approach and mentality aligns with yours, we’d love a chance to partner on your next project. Give us a call or send a note to learn more about how we can put our knowledge, skills, and experience to work for you!