What are consumer insights & how to use them effectively

Customer Analytics

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The secret sauce to success for any company is a keen understanding of their customer base. You have to comprehend things about your customers that your competitors don’t (and maybe your customers don’t even know about themselves.) This particular knowledge is called consumer insight.

This article  will help you understand what consumer insight is, and how to find and use it. We’ll also answer some of these common questions along the way:

  • What are consumer insights?
  • Why should you use consumer insights?
  • What are examples of customer insights?
  • How do I find consumer insights?
  • What types of consumer insights are out there?
  • What is the difference between market research and consumer insight?
  • How do you use consumer insights?

What are consumer insights?

Consumer insight, also called customer insight, is the culmination of the interpretation and analysis of customer data, behaviors, and feedback into conclusions that can be used to improve product development, customer support, and marketing activities. It’s the whole point of listening to the voice of the customer–to glean actionable insights that you can use to make your product and customer experience better for everyone.

By going through this process of interpretation and analyzing consumer behavior, companies can come to really understand what their customers want and need, and why they feel that way.

What are good customer insights?

Not all insights are built the same way. In order for a customer insight to be considered “good”, it must tell you a meaningful truth about the customer, derived from their behavior, experiences, needs, beliefs or desires. And it must be relevant to the job at hand.

That means that it must first come from high quality data. It must be an insight that has been proven to be true, not a speculation or hypothesis. By analyzing qualitative and quantitative data, you can ensure that the information is valid. Secondly, it must be actionable. It might be true that your desired customer base all like to vacation in Mexico, but that’s not particularly meaningful or actionable for your business if you sell windshield wipers. 

Why should you use consumer insights?

When behavioral data is leveraged properly, consumer insights can improve the efficacy of your communications, customer engagement, and improve your bottom line. It can mean the difference between market differentiation and vendor obscurity. 

What are examples of customer insights?

Let’s start with an e-commerce example of customer insights in action. An online retailer uses web analytics to identify that 90% of people who by athleisure onesies tend to add matching ankle weights to their baskets, then remove them before purchase. That information is provided to the marketing team who decide to run a bundle promotion, running retargeting advertisements to those people based on this data-driven insight.

Another example of customer insight in action is the way streaming services promote different shows and movies based on your previous viewing history. As the streaming services battle it out for viewership supremacy, their product teams implemented a feature that matches shows by theme or genre. By leveraging algorithms to present programming based on what customers have enjoyed watching before, they’re more likely to remain sticky in the streaming wars by showing they know their customer. 

These may seem like simple examples because they are use cases that many of us have experienced first-hand, but finding the information can sometimes prove difficult, leaving many to wonder:

How do I find consumer insights?

Collecting good consumer insights and data can be challenging. It can be difficult to derive insights from data sets without the right tools. With a tool like Idiomatic, you can leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning to aggregate and analyze data from disparate sources covering every touchpoint of the customer journey without falling prey to the pitfalls of confirmation bias and human error. 

Some of the areas where you can collect consumer insights from include:

1. Feedback questionnaires

Sometimes the easiest place to start searching for insights is to just ask for them. Surveys and questionnaires allow you to get qualitative insights into your product’s performance and the perceptions your customers have of you. You can use questionnaires to ask about their overall experiences or hone in on particular services or areas of your business. Always be sure to leave room for open-ended responses so that customers have the space and opportunity to tell you what they really think.

2. Monitor customer reviews

Whether it’s in the app store, Yelp, or a Facebook review, reviews can tell you a lot about your consumers. If a person’s feelings are strong enough that they feel compelled to leave a public review, you better believe that what they say–good or bad–is important to your business.

3. Social media monitoring

If people are having conversations about your brand online, it’s important to know if the sentiment skews positive or negative, and what realm of your business they’re speaking about. If you know what’s being said on social media, you have the opportunity to engage in the conversation and learn from your community.

4. Chatbot data

Your website chat logs might be hiding a bevy of valuable information. When people interact with chatbots, it’s usually because they can’t find something or need help. Chatbots provide a quick way to request more information when it’s not easily discernible or when a website is not navigable or intuitive. By finding out the common queries and frustrations from your chat logs, you can make the hard-to-find information more accessible and ultimately reduce friction from the customer journey. 

5. Support tickets

When your customers are lodging support tickets, you know that one of two things has happened. There might be an issue with your service or product that can be rectified, or there might be a user error that might show a gap in documentation or customer onboarding that can be fixed. Either way, understanding what the issue is and why it’s occurring is integral to reducing resolution times and preventing future issues while fighting your support team’s backlog, and the first place you’ll see a red flag is in your support tickets.

What types of consumer insights are out there?

Sales trends

Sales trends are the patterns customers exhibit throughout their journey down the funnel. They can range from common inquiries and repeat purchases to purchase times and shopping frequency. Understanding sales trends will help you predict changes in demand, identify seasonal trends in your market, and help you get a sense of when your product or service is in high demand.

Sociodemographics

You might be wondering why knowing your customer’s sociodemographics matters. Essentially, it answers questions like: “What age groups use our product/service and where do they communicate about brands?” and “Should we be localizing for certain languages to better serve a large portion of our audience?” You can discern sociodemographic data from surveys or social media platforms.]ow

Product and process information

When customers interact with your support channels, whether those are communities and forums or chatbots and service tickets, they leave behind a trail of clues as to where improvements can be made in your products, services, and processes. Using these insights, you can make amendments and adjustments to improve your customer experience, ultimately improving customer retention and preventing churn.

What is the difference between market research and consumer insight?

If this sounds similar to market research, that’s because on the surface, it is. But there is a significant difference between the two.

Market research is an activity that delivers statistics and knowledge. It is the act of gathering information about customers and target audiences. It provides information about market needs, audience size, and who the competitors and customers are. It’s the who and the what.

Consumer insights are similar, however they also provide context and the why. Consumer insights bring the data and the narrative and recommendations that allow you to actually make use of the data. They carry more nuance than simple numbers and statistics that market research provides us with.

Essentially, research will tell you what’s going on but the consumer insights will tell you why and how to capitalize on it.

How to use consumer insights to support your business growth

Once you have data-driven insights into who your customers are and what they want, the time has come to take action.

Personalize marketing

With consumer insights at hand, you know that’s not just customer_id=3195789 buying a butter-soft athleisure onesie: it’s Cynthia from Austin. You know that she’s bought three similar onesies and you know that she usually makes her purchases in the second week of July. You can use these insights to personalize emails and advertisements in the run-up to July. 

Improve products and services

This is the holy grail. Do you have a product-market fit? Does your product work as anticipated? Are there missing features? The insights you gather should help you decide which features are to-die-for and which should already be dead. They can also help you improve your customer experience and the way people interact with your company’s products and services. 

Reduce turnover

In an increasingly saturated market, customer experience can be your best friend or your worst enemy. This is why customer relationship management (CRM) services have become so prevalent, as they can help you automate the process of managing customer relationships, loyalty programs, and more. By listening for the voice of customer cues from all of the disparate data sources available, you can identify and seize opportunities to stand out and deliver truly exceptional experiences that delight customers.

Make better business decisions

From your product roadmap to pricing, being data-driven is crucial to ensuring that your success is sustainable and grounded in reality.

Without accurate and up-to-date information, your business decisions will likely be based on misguided assumptions. So when you come to the data table, drink deeply from the cup of customer knowledge. 

Start leveraging consumer insights for your business

Actionable insights are out there for those who are keen to seize them. Businesses who are serious about scaling need to go beyond generic statistics like total addressable market and generic conversion rates; they must dig deeper to understand the contextual nuances and capitalize on the ‘why.’ Thankfully, with artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing, it doesn’t need to be a nightmare.

Request a demo today with Idiomatic to see beneath the surface and unearth the insights that will take your business from meh to magnificent.