There is SO MUCH we can learn about our customers by reaching out to them asking about their experiences, opinions, and lives in general. But the purpose of gathering customer feedback should be to support business objectives and decision making. So, there needs to be an intentional, organized approach to gathering, analyzing, and apply customer feedback. Otherwise known as a Customer Insights Strategy.
Too often we see brands launch ad-hoc, one-time surveys on a “need to know” basis. A question pops up internally – whether related to marketing, experiential development, or any other business objective – and feedback research is conducted in search of short-term answers. While feedback research is the right idea, conducting sporadic and isolated surveys with a short-term mindset can lead to more questions and missed opportunities.
Instead, we encourage every brand to develop a Customer Insights Strategy that ensures feedback research produces actionable, reliable, and impactful results. In working with clients of all sizes, across a variety of industries, we’ve found the most common scenario is that the pieces are all there but connecting and fitting them together is their main challenge.
Taking a step back, I’d like to address a few topics and common misunderstandings we continue seeing in the world of customer insights.
Conducting multiple surveys does not constitute a Customer Insights Strategy.
Many brands blur the line between research and strategy. Clients bring us on to refine or polish their Insights Strategy, but we find a series of individual research projects that are missing cohesion and alignment. This is not to diminish or discredit their efforts, but rather it is an honest assessment of where things stand regarding their customer feedback approach. We are always thrilled when a brand prioritizes customer feedback and is willing to invest in giving their audience a voice. By connecting a few dots and filling a few gaps, small steps lead to big leaps in overall impact.
The most effective Customer Insights Strategies are clean and simple.
A common misunderstanding is that insights strategies need to be complex and complicated to be effective. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. That said, it can be challenging to boil down and simplify broad, wide-ranging objectives such as increasing customer satisfaction or strengthening marketing effectiveness. The goal is to map a clear plan of action based on specific, measurable objectives. By identifying and trimming efforts that are not inching you closer to your goals, we maximize efficiency and redirect energy toward results-oriented projects. When everyone can visualize and understand how one step leads to the next, then results application process will be efficient and effective.
Internal efforts are strengthened, not disrupted, by external support.
As the inclusion of customer insights when making big decisions becomes increasingly mainstream, brands are investing more to develop their own internal customer insights teams. This is great to see and incredibly beneficial to the brands who are making that investment. But as we all know and have experienced ourselves, internal teams have a max capacity. Especially with something like customer insights, everyone wants a piece of the action. When every department is submitting requests and asking for reports, it can be overwhelming.
This is why external strategic support is helpful, not disruptive. While it may feel like hiring a third-party is unnecessary considering investments are already being made internally, the truth is adding outside support often increases return on that internal investment. When demand is high for individual projects from varied departments, the overall strategic vision becomes secondary. Keeping up with day-to-day requests is prioritized over big-picture initiatives, and that will gradually reduce return on internal investments. Many of our clients bring us in to work alongside and collaborate with their existing insights team. Our purpose is to alleviate stress and address big-picture, strategic initiatives. In doing so, our clients regain balance, alignment, and overall focus.
Whether in a strategic or tactical capacity, we are passionate and motivated in helping brands get the most out of their customer insights. If you are considering or interested in learning more about how a team like ours can empower a team like yours, I’d love to chat!
Even if it turns out MacKenzie is not the best fit for your brand right now, I’m more than happy to share ideas and recommendations based on our 35+ years of experience.