• Natalie Markovits

All you need to know about using customer insights to power growth

Updated: Mar 28

What are customer insights?

Customer insights are the conclusions you draw from customer data you gather. They deliver a deep understanding of customer behavior and your customers’ preferences and needs. Customer data is valuable, but it’s not enough to just collect the data without analytics. You need to analyze it to access consumer insights.


Plant growing in the sand.

Why are customer insights important?

Today, we’re operating within a customer-centric business system. Your company’s profit depends upon the value that you deliver to your customer, through the product you sell, the service you provide, and your brand reputation.


That means that your customer voice determines - or should determine - everything about the product or service you offer. Once you understand your customers’ needs, pain points, preferences, and choices, you’ll be able to create a better customer journey, which enables an improved customer experience and in turn leads to more revenue.


Customer experience is the crucial differentiating feature which drives consumer choices. 73% of consumers globally say that customer experience plays a key role in their purchase decisions, but only 49% of them think that companies provide a good one. Positive CX has an impact throughout the customer journey; 42% would pay more just for a more friendly experience, and 65% of American consumers say that having a positive brand experience has a greater impact on their decision-making than great advertising.


It’s clear that a customer-centric business generates better business decisions and drives revenue.


What are the different types of customer insights?

All consumer insights are not equal; there are a number of different types of customer insights which help guide your business decision-making in different ways. Here are some of the main types of customer insight:

  • Brand perception measures the impact of your marketing campaigns;

  • Payment preferences reveal which method (e.g. credit card, mobile payments, bank transfer); frequency (daily, monthly, annually); and type (subscription, bundled payments, in installments) your customers want the most;

  • Product or service trends guide your product development decisions;

  • Communication preferences show the channel, frequency, and tone your customers want your business to use in digital marketing and customer service messaging;

  • Ad preferences guide which channel, ad type, content, etc. to use for marketing campaigns;

  • Content-type preferences map the effects of video, text, podcast, images, short posts, and longform pieces;

  • Content choices help your digital marketing team know which topics interest your customer base.

What is the difference between customer insights and market research?

Essentially, market research is the “what” of customer behavior and market changes, while consumer insights are the “why.”


Market research is the process of gathering information about customer needs, the market size, your competition, and more. It delivers statistics and knowledge without actionable insights, to give you a broad, high-level grasp of your customer base and market conditions.


In contrast, consumer insights analyze the market research data to produce meaningful, recommended actions that can drive growth. They deliver a narrative or analysis alongside the data to reveal why certain patterns are appearing in customer behavior, and what you should do in response to improve customer satisfaction and boost revenue.


How can you access consumer insights?

There’s more data today than ever before for you to generate insights. In the past, customer interactions may have taken place on an individual level, with an employee sending an email or making a call to a customer and gathering all the information themselves. What the customer said, their tone of voice, and overall attitude towards the business became siloed within that employee, and they had to write a report to open up access to that customer feedback to other employees.


But today, automated data tools can gather and structure these interactions into quantifiable data, direct it to analytics engines, and extract meaningful insights. With artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), it’s possible to produce forecasts and predictions from every customer interchange.


Here are some of the main ways to tap into customer insights:


1. Customer feedback

Customer feedback should be drawn from all over the web, including informal social media conversations and review sites, not just official customer feedback processes. The most honest and genuine feedback is always what people say when they think you’re not listening, so that’s where you need to go for customer insight.


2. Customer sentiment

Customer sentiment is produced using social media analytics that cover all the relevant channels. You can use tools to calculate the net promoter score (NPS) for each customer, and platforms that measure brand sentiment towards your product or service.


3. Surveys and user testing

Old-fashioned surveys and user testing processes can still be effective at gathering customer feedback to specific questions about your products and services, marketing campaigns, and customer journey.


4. First-party data

First-party customer data from your customer support system is still valuable for customer insight. Chatbot and live chat exchanges, consumer feedback forms, and customer service conversations can provide a wealth of information about consumer sentiment.


5. Customer behavior analysis

Customer behavior analysis looks at the data you’ve gathered about how and how often people use your products and services, which features they use the most, when they use it, what purpose they use it for, and more. If you have a digital product or service, digital analytics make it easy to track customer behavior. Otherwise, you can examine order patterns from outlets that retail your product, or appointment patterns for service-based businesses.


6. Focus groups, interviews, and customer advisory panels

Traditional focus groups, direct customer interviews, and customer advisory panels can all be good ways to access deep and direct feedback about customer relationships, although they might not be totally honest when you’re face to face and giving them a great meal.


7. Predictive analytics

Today, predictive analytics offer even deeper types of consumer insights. You can use machine learning and artificial intelligence algorithms to analyze customer data, and produce predictions about the impact of certain product launches or marketing campaigns.


8. Trend analysis

Finally, trend analysis reveals emerging trends in customer behavior so you can adapt your business accordingly. You can use traditional business intelligence (BI) tools for this, or advanced AI and ML engines to produce faster and more accurate insights.


What are the benefits of customer insights?

In general, customer insight helps you craft a business that meets your customers’ needs.


A lookout.

1. Refine your product

According to PWC, 65% of British consumers say that their purchase decisions are affected more by positive experiences than marketing interactions. Use customer insights to develop the product or service they really want, so you can meet customer demands and expand your revenue.


2. Elevate customer support

Consumer insights can help you offer the customer support that satisfies customer needs. Use insights to provide the right kind of resources and improve customer support scripts to boost loyalty and customer retention. 36% of companies who excel at customer experience say they

exceeded their top business goal by a significant margin, compared with only 1% of the rest.


3. Hone brand reputation

Discover which actions have the biggest effect on your brand reputation and adjust your marketing accordingly. For example, 65% of respondents to an Edelman trust barometer survey agreed that the way a brand responds to a crisis, like the pandemic, has a big impact on their purchase decisions.


4. Refine marketing messaging

Consult customer insights to check which messaging resonates and what language your customers can hear. One company used consumer insights before launching a product relating to a sensitive topic, to explore how different audiences relate to the topic and what language they use to discuss it, and then used that information to create their messaging.


Kitchen Aid also tapped into customer insight when COVID-19 began, to discover how consumer trends were changing and what content and help people needed, then used that to build an integrated marketing campaign.


5. Enable personalized experiences

Personalization is the way to go today, with 80% of consumers saying they prefer brands that offer personalized experiences, not just personalized marketing, and 72% ignoring marketing messages that aren’t tailored to their interests. You need granular-level consumer insights to deliver that kind of customization.


6. Improve customer experience

Once you know what kind of experience your customers want from you, you can deliver it. Customer experience is crucial even for loyal shoppers; 51% of Americans will walk away from a brand they love after just one or two bad experiences.


7. Boost customer retention

When customers feel appreciated, they are more likely to return to your company, recommend it to others or endorse it on social media, and subscribe to your newsletter. Use customer insights to discover which actions achieve this, especially given that customer retention is currently dropping by 82%.


8. Future-proof your business

Customer insight reveals not just what your customers want now, but what they’re going to want in the future. Stay ahead of trends and be ready to seize opportunities as soon as they begin to appear.


9. Out-perform your competition

The deeper your understanding of customer behavior, trends, and preferences, the more you’ll be able to sharpen your competitive edge and stay ahead of your competitors.


Read our latest blog post: How to conduct effective competitor analysis


Consumer insight can drive your business growth

It’s clear that consumer insights go way beyond market research data. With meaningful, actionable analysis about your customers, you can deliver products and services that meet customer demand, produce marketing messaging that resonates with your audience, and provide excellent customer experience and service that attracts and retains customers.


How Affogata can help with customer insights

Affogata has multiple capabilities that enable companies to generate actionable insights that apply across the organization. These insights can ultimately help you to improve your customer journey and increase your sales and revenue.

  • Brand sentiment analysis enables you to understand what lies behind positive or negative peaks, so you can replicate positive ones and improve negative ones.

  • Real-time customer feedback constantly keeps you on top of customer sentiment.

  • Integrations for all channels, including social media, review sites, online articles, consumer forums, support tickets, etc.

  • Early alerts about product bugs or developing PR crises allow you to act quickly to prevent a snowball of negative feedback.

  • Industry trends guide your company’s future campaigns and product launches.

  • Meaningful insights help you refine customer experience and increase retention

  • Actionable consumer insights can be used by brands to craft personalized and targeted offers and stay one step ahead of competitors.


You can use Affogata to gain crucial customer insights from all across the web and internal data sources; these insights will help you to power your business, keeping your customers delighted and engaged. Request a demo of Affogata to learn how it can benefit your business today.


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