There is a belief that the unlocking customer insight is to enable the supplier to extract higher value out of their customer and that customer insight is the collection and analysis of data from such sources as web, voice and print.
Although this analysis is useful it is impersonal with an emphasis given to the CRM system of data collection and analysis, the customer relationship becomes a data relationship. Deloitte supports that “only 36% of companies say they have data presented in an effective way to enable insight to be identified”. http://bit.ly/12f2Xvc
The benefits of gaining customer insight cannot be under estimated, it can create opportunity for insight on:
· Customer satisfaction levels
· Predict customer behaviours
· Competitor analysis
· Forecast the effect of changes to product features
· Research best channels to customer engagement
· Identify new segments
· Develop new products
I define customer insight as the understanding of your customer’s world.
Even in business to business relationships the primary influencer can be the people to people interactions. To understand your customers’ world you need to understand their external drivers (social, technological, Economic, Environmental, Legal and Political); the constructive and destructive and the strengths and weaknesses of their internal political, social, financial, operational and emotional influencers.
Aligning your supplier business to the strategically key customers and strategically important sector could move your business from a cooperative relationship to a co-integrative relationship of customers with a predictable lifetime value.
My belief is that customer insight allows the customer to benefit from the value, that the supplier has to solve the customer problem. With good insight into the customers’ world, the supplier is able to align its’ product and/or service to do a better job at meeting and anticipating the customer wants and needs. The customer values the benefits of the product and/or service and a key part of the benefit is the relationship.
There are sophisticated CRM tools for data collection and analysis but so often we forget the most basic and effective way to gain an understanding and build a relationship is simply to ask your customer:
· ‘How can I help you to do more in your business?’
· ‘How can I better serve your needs?’
Of course you want to manage your customer to maximise the lifetime value but it is the relationship, not the data collection and analysis, which the competitor business will find difficult to replicate.
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Janice B Gordon: The Problem Solver Business Growth Consultant, Mentor, Speaker and Author. Business Evolution – Creating Growth in a Rapidly Changing World will give you the guidance you need to evolve you and your business and exceed your customers wants and needs.