According to the latest Digital transformation report by Microsoft and Qvartz (2020), Nordic companies seek to increase and prioritize Customers engagement to acquire a complete view on the customer journey, draw actionable customer insights, and deliver personalized, differentiated customer experiences at scale.
It has to be a truism now: Customer insight plays an intrinsic part on any companies’ success, and obtaining it is crucial in identifying, iterating and validating the market fit of any new innovations in both B2B and B2C markets. With or without a pandemic, your Customers and Customer insight are your organisation’s greatest assets.
Customer insight is in no means a stagnant company asset. It is painstakingly is easy to ‘lose the grip’ from truly knowing your Customers – their current and unstated needs, wants, goals and desires – especially in the everchanging environment. The obvious symptom of this disconnection is when your innovation efforts do not resonate nor perform as anticipated: The proposition in this article is to evaluate the methodologies for collecting and analyzing Customer insights – and then put them in to practice.
Capturing The Voice
In business, there are few things more challenging than understanding exactly what your Customer’s wants, needs and desires are. Yet it is and should be the starting point before considering any further development activities to take place. And the business potential – commercially profitable growth – is the high-stake prize that should be in your endeavors focus from the get-go. Read here, why from our opinion, treating your idea as a business is an appropriate approach for concepting profitable products, services and digital features, while simultaneously lowering the risk of failure.
The following 3 aspects have proven to be critical when capturing Customer insight for successful Business Development efforts:
1. Understanding the difference between what you assume vs. what you know
Default assumptions and attitudes are special types of blockers that effectively keep you away from obtaining unbiased Customer understanding. The straightforward way to not to let the loose assumptions get the best of your promising digital endeavor is to hire an independent partner to help you to form the hypotheses, questionnaires and then conduct the interviews, facilitate focus groups and analyze the data on your behalf. From our experience, Customer are also more willing to share when the process is led by an independent and experienced Customer Understanding partner.
2. Customer empathy
Lack of Customer empathy leads to missed additional opportunities. Having Customer empathy allows you to get in contact with the underlying needs, feelings, wants and preferences, that would otherwise remain unknown. It also important to note, that Customers aren’t really interested in your company processes or technicalities, and the sales pitch you are probably eager to test head on is better to store in to a filing cabinet for a while – for several reasons. Customers don’t like being ‘sold to', and limelighting the focus too much on your company and its offering hinders the possibilities to gain valuable information, that could eventually help you to truly differentiate, and better your potential solution’s market fit.
3. Tools to analyze
The collected data – qualitative or quantitative – isn’t valuable in itself, unless you are able to retrieve and fuel insights from it. It is important that the selected tools, frameworks and methods are actually helpful in projecting in which direction you should move next, while also pinpointing the gaps. It is advisable to use a combination of methods, instead of relying on one or few. This is the by far the trickiest part, as interpreting the voice of the customer incorrectly will take its toll on you, in a form or another, while surely damaging the team financially.
Lack of Customer empathy leads to missed additional opportunities. Having Customer empathy allows you to get in contact with the underlying needs, feelings, wants and preferences, that would otherwise remain unknown.
Obtaining Customer insights is hard work – insights are not homogenous, it requires Customer empathy, whole lot of analysis, constant balancing and the organizational capability to respond and then act accordingly – with agility. But it is also the necessary, rewarding work that sets the thriving and innovative, future-proof companies apart from their less-successful peers. It is also important to note that Customers, as themselves, do not change – it is the ever-changing environmental and technological advancements that mold and shift their preferences, attitudes and the drivers of behaviour, often through unconscious processes.
– Mari, Analyst at Melkki