Marketers often make the mistake of starting a discussion with “we need to improve the customer experience” or “we need a consistent customer experience to drive sales.” While both of these statements may be true before you do anything you need to know what your customers actually want and like. And that’s where applying consumer insights comes in. In this post, we’re going to talk about how you can capture customer feedback, why it’s important and how to leverage that knowledge to improve your customer experience.
How to capture customer insights
The key to capturing customer feedback is simple: just ask.
You want to create as many channels and avenues as possible for your customers to provide feedback. The easier it is to submit comments and the closer to when they had the experience you ask for feedback, the better.
There are lots of different ways to do this, in varying degrees of complexity:
- Hotel aggregators like Booking.com, hostels.com, and hostelworld all use your check-out date to send automated reminder emails.
- Airports and other public places have buttons placed near exits where you can rate your experience (usually on a frowny face – smiley face scale).
- Countless products have requests for surveys built into their UI.
There are even apps available that will let you capture your reviews with push notifications, emails and text message reminders.
There are, of course, barriers. People are inundated with survey requests from various businesses, so it’s hard to stand out.
One easy way to get around that is to run it like a normal incentive marketing campaign. People are much more likely to participate if there is something in it for them.
Why insights are important
Customer insights are at the heart of improving the customer experience. They help serve the customers you already have, and make it easier to attract the ones you don’t, helping bolster your bottom line.
But there are other sub-reasons that contribute to that primary goal:
- Customer retention improves if organizations can demonstrate they’re listening and responding to feedback.
- You can inform future expansions and new product development (e.g. if you make stereos and customer feedback says they really wish they could take your amazing audio quality on the go with them, you’d be foolish not to expand into the headphone market).
- You can find incredible user stories to fuel your social proof and marketing initiatives.
Ultimately, the main reason for capturing insights is this: it makes your product better.
Applying consumer insights to improve the customer experience
One problem a lot of companies run into is turning their customer insights into a palpable improvement in experience. First, because insights often address the problem (state what’s broken), but fail to provide the solution (a suggested way to fix it). And second, sifting through piles of data to draw out themes is extremely challenging.
But you can overcome both of these problems:
- Begin to build a picture of what’s wrong. Combining analytical data with insights and feedback can be really powerful here (e.g. use analytics to work out where in a digital buying cycle you’re losing people, then look at user feedback for specific challenges at those points).
- Sort your feedback into themes and then sub-groups to give you an idea of what you need to tackle.
- Look for quick-wins—What can be fixed today/tomorrow/next week? Things like an illegible font or color, mistakes in signage or confusing signposting are often fast and easy to fix.
- Look at the remaining feedback and themes and start to build a business case. The remaining stuff will likely be expensive to fix, so you need to go into these challenges with an eye on your ROI.
Applying consumer insights is the best and fastest way to improve the customer experience. It helps you focus on what’s working and what isn’t, for the real people who are using your product or service every single day.
By focusing on what they want, you can refine your product or service in a lean and effective way, putting money where it needs to go and ultimately, driving growth.
Have a great customer insight story? Share it in the comments below!