DYNAMICS OF CUSTOMER INSIGHT: A Strategic Review
You may have probably heard of this popular statement; “Customer is king”. In addition to this, some people also say this; “Customers are always right.” These are clichés we often hear from across the counter, or in settings involving transactions of various sorts; small or large. This stems from the age-long belief or conception that customers are the basis for the establishment or maintenance of any business. This statement can hardly be disproved because are set up, to render services whilst make a profit in return; with the customers remaining the active players in-between.
Business owners extol their customers, for the aforementioned reasons and also for the fact that it enhances customer-owner relationships, which in turn has a positive effect on the business. In addition to this, business owners have strategic ways through which they get an idea of the transactional behavior of their customers, without invading their privacy or even stalking them. This is simply known as; Customer Insight.
Furthermore, Customer Insight which can also be referred to as consumer insight entails gaining an informed understanding of the behavior and personalities of their customers. In other words, customer insight refers to a pool of information, gathered through a series of applications and analyses, used in understanding customers’ behaviors. This involves interpreting the available data, in a bid to understand the wants, needs, and preferences of customers, in addition to having an idea of the basis upon which they arrive at conclusions surrounding their transactions.
The insight explained above is gained by imploring a series of non-invasive analytic approaches or methods which includes the use of; questionnaires, market research as well as strategic surveys, all in the quest to arrive at a plausible judgment as regards customers’ disposition. Using these tools effectively, business owners have clear-cut ideas for discreet aspects of their decision-making process. Of course, part of what the business owners get access to is the purchasing history of the customers and all other yardsticks relating to this. When professionally and effectively done, this process enhances the communication channel between customers and business owners. In doing so, the relationship is cordial so much so that individuals patronizing a business have a sense of importance, thereby instilling more confidence in the business. With the establishment of this, the business owners are better placed to sample their ideas to the people with whom they make transactions, leading to an increase in turnover as well as the satisfaction of both parties.
Customer Insight and Market Research
“Customer Insights” and “Market Research”, are two terms that are steadily used interchangeably. Though they are in the actual sense, closely related in meaning, but then, they have slight differences, especially in the application. Of course, it is always pertinent to understand in practical terms, what each term stands, for to have the benefits accrue to the business in question.
Meanwhile, customer insight aims to enhance decision-making about certain aspects of the business including; customer reliability or satisfaction, as well as the long-term plan of maintaining patronage. Of course, these are achieved by giving the business owners inkling into the reasons behind what was discovered to be happening, following the feasibility studies or research done earlier on. And the aim is to advance the development of the business, through the professional delivery of both narrative and data inputs.
Whereas, Market Research, rides on the reliability of both the statistical records and the knowledge garnered from the process. It entails a set of activities aimed at understanding the characteristics of the entire market as well as those of the customers. When rightly done, market research brings entrepreneurs into know the true state of; the needs and sizes of the markets, just as it uncovers all there is to know about customers and rivals alike. In order words, Market Research, paints a clearer picture of the occurrences in the markets, while Customer Insights give concrete information as to why that is occurring.
Factors That Enhance Accurate Customer Insights
Since we have earlier outlined what customer insight ideally involves as well as its difference from market research. But one thing that is worthy of note is that carrying out or applying the results from the conduction of customer insights is usually a daunting task. Nevertheless, it can be a bit easier, when done accurately; using the necessary techniques and putting the needed factors into consideration. Below are some of them:
i. Database or Archival Marketing
This type of marketing is such that involves a customized or direct form of customer-owner correspondence, which is initiated, using the earlier-stored records of the customers. And this is usually predicated upon research carried out beforehand. Of course, when accurately segmented or arranged, these records have the customers arranged in various sets and categories. Of course, database marketing is very essential, as it helps to materialize the elements which are produced at the theoretical stage, by just carrying out elementary customer insights.
ii. Customer Research
This can also be known as consumer research. For a good customer-owner correspondence which is expected to be steadily improving, it is expected that you get wind of the disposition of your customers; their preferences, and all there is to know. And this can only come to be, following thorough and targeted research. The results of this research, when applied, helps the business owners to rightly relate and engage with their customers or consumers. Since the customers are the kings, then their preferences should be prioritized.
iii. Access To Reliable Data Standard
One other factor needed to achieve accurate customer insights is access to the data source, which is not just standardized, but also reliable. This is very cardinal in the unfiltered understanding of the transactional behavior of the customers. Of course, without the availability or instrumentality of sound data, then the results arrived at in such a study, can hardly be accurate, leading to inaccurate customer insights.
iv. A Committed Group
As relevant and cardinal as the aforementioned factors are, in enhancing accurate customer insight, assembling a committed group of individuals who are in tune with sound analytical trends, is very foundational. Of course, without that, the entire process might be flawed.
Applications of Customer Insights
There is no gainsaying the fact that customer insights are beneficial in many regards. Also, it can be applied in many ways, including:
A a. Following the reports gotten from the customer insight exercise, the company can right improve on the features defining their products, for improved acceptability.
b. Improvement of customer support base, through the evolution of strategies.
c. As a result of the exercise, the company is better informed in advertising their products, to specific customers, against the initial practice of randomly pushing out their products to customers whose preferences might not align with the content.
d. Targeted product expansion.
In addition to the applications of insights, the benefits abound too.
i. There are five stages of a customer’s consumption and they are awareness, consideration, purchase, retention, and advocacy. Consumer insight helps in enhancing the customer’s journey across these stages.
ii. It helps customize the system of marketing, against the initial practice of mass marketing. This is very relevant, especially as the market becomes increasingly competitive, giving room for targeted marketing.
iii. It helps boost marketing endeavor; following the analytical report of the competitive market.
Things To Consider Before Delving Into Customer Insights
Of course, hatching a plan is as good as executing them. In other words, it is pertinent to put the necessary things into consideration, before launching a plan. This is advisable for any business owner, if the desired improvement in customer-owner must be recorded, with a desirable effect on the overall outlook of the event. Below, are some of the things to consider, before venturing into customer insights:
1. Be specific on what you want to achieve or understand, based on the study you wish to carry out.
2. Spell out the machinery or resources you would deploy, to achieve this study (both human and material resources).
3. You need to map out the procedures you would use to gather data as well as your area of coverage (would you be focusing on the existing customers or will you concentrate on new ones?)
4. Of course, before you delve into carrying out customer insight research, you must make up your mind on what to do with you’re the result of the findings. After you must have concluded this, then it will help you to conduct the study with more specificity.