The Ins and Outs of Customer Insights with Simone Wilson
In this episode, we dive into the topic of customer insights and customer experience. To be successful in business, It is important to dive under the hood of everything your customers think, feel, say and do as it relates to your brand.
I am delighted to have a fantastic guest to lead us through this discussion. Simone Wilson is an Insights leader with over 20 years of experience working for global companies such as Nielsen, Ipsos, and HSBC Canada.
Originally from Brazil, Simone moved to Canada more than 15 years ago. She currently lives in Toronto where she works for Ipsos Canada as Vice President, Customer Experience, consulting with local and global clients on CX Research, Voice of Customer programs, and Service design.
What Are Customer Insights and Why Are They So Important?
[02:15] Customer Insights or market research essentially links the customer or user to the business through information. In the current world, there are so many versions of the truth, reliable information is crucial for making confident decisions. If you decide to undertake any form of market research, you will get better information from the decision-makers themselves that will inform business decisions going forward.
Armed with new information, you are decreasing your risk and ultimately saving money and time when you have that customer insights perspective.
Customer Insights is human-centric and flexible. There are many ways to reach out to a customer and gather information. Below are some pointers to take into account before you dive in:
- Define: Take a moment to define the problem you want answers to. Be clear about your end goal. What are the important factors you need to move forward with your business decision?
- Approach: After this, move on to the approach. Define the right research design. Define how many people you want to talk to and the specific business objectives.
E.g. If the purpose of our research is finding out the ‘whys’, you might opt for a more qualitative research approach. If it's more about validating information or discovering what your customer base may prefer in terms of your product or service, you might opt for a quantitative research approach.
- Analyse: Finally, analyse the data once collected and make sure you are sharing it if you have a team to discuss what you can change within your business so that it really focuses on your customer and your market.
Benefits of Customer Insights and Market Research
[07:03] You want to communicate effectively with not only your current customers but potential new customers and meet their needs. A lot of value today is created through experience and to understand that, you really need to take a human-centric approach to your business.
Customer insights are the right tool for that because you will gain a better understanding of human behaviour and the why behind people's decisions. You may even gain a better understanding of how humans think and act as part of society in general.
One benefit of customer insights and market research is decreasing risk in business decisions. Whether you're launching a new product, rebranding or trying to enter a new market, you might have different hypotheses about what the market wants, what you should be investing in and what you should communicate to them.
But hypotheses aren't facts and what research does is decrease the unknowns in these decisions which will save you money, and time and guarantee better success leading to more sales.
Customer Insights can guide you in different moments of your business growth. Be it acquisition, retention, or understanding why your sales are decreasing, it has the flexibility to go to the market and get quick insights on what could be working well, what's not working well and what is the path for growth.
The flexibility that we have today with technology allows us to reach customers in a very effective way.
During the pandemic, we learnt that businesses that were empathic and listened to what their customers wanted even through hard times, were the ones that created customer loyalty in their business. So it's important that businesses listen to their customers and ask questions to adhere to their needs.
How can you gather insights?
[11:35] We usually think of research as either primary or secondary.
Secondary research allows you to use everything that is already out there for you to leverage. So for example, let’s say that the number of weddings being booked in 2022 is at a record high.
If you are a financial planner and you are reading that information, it can give you a good indication about the importance of communicating with new couples about how they can plan their finances for the big day e.g. Do they want to have a combined bank account or not?
Secondary data that is readily available is beneficial to get started and shouldn't be neglected, especially if you have a tighter budget. There is a lot of information out in the world so it can become overwhelming to try and decipher it and find what you may need, but luckily there are places where you can go that will help you with this.
Examples include McKinsey or Ipsos. They provide tons of free, solid information with good sample sizes comparative across the globe.
Primary or field research - going out and collecting data. When undertaking primary research, it is important to always have your mind on your objective. For example, you might have observed some behaviour on your website and you want to understand the why and gain more in-depth information.
You can choose to do focus groups, or you can do individual interviews, and you don't necessarily need to hire a big company to do that.
If you have questions laid out and know the objectives you want to meet, you can invite participants for interviews. They could be in your customer base, they could work in social media or web design, or they could be influencers or other experts that can give you some insight into the markets and societies that you are interested in.
What if I'm tight on budget?
[15:21] Let's say you have no budget and you want to do research on your own, there are plenty of ways to reach out to customers. If you are already in business, you will have a customer base. Give them a call or reach out by email and you will be surprised how much you can learn by talking to the right person, the decision maker or the main user of your product.
From a simple conversation, you learn about your customers and what you as a business actually need to focus on because you are armed with the knowledge of their priorities, what issues they may have and how you can fulfil their needs. A low or no research budget will still allow you to do amazing things in order to gain insights depending on how you can reach an audience.
There are many do-it-yourself research methods online. Survey Monkey, Easy Polls, and Google Surveys are all very affordable and you can reach plenty of people for a small price. Now is the perfect moment to do things on a low budget, because of how advanced technology is for you to leverage.
Allow yourself to invest your time and energy into undertaking market research to gain customer insights and watch how it can positively impact your business.
The Long and Short of It:
Customer insights, also known as market research, is a crucial tool for businesses to gain a better understanding of their customers and human behaviour. It is important for companies to listen to their customers and make informed decisions based on reliable information.
Gathering insights can be done through secondary research using existing data, or through primary research by collecting data through focus groups or interviews. Companies with limited budgets can still gather insights by reaching out to their existing customer base through phone or email. Customer insights help decrease risk in business decisions, increase customer satisfaction, and guide businesses towards growth.
More from Simone:
Simone’s tips and advice will be sure to teach you so much about your own role or business and I’m so happy I got the opportunity to share her brilliance with you all, make sure to listen to the full episode for the rest of her great tips. For more from Simone Wilson, you can follow Simone on LinkedIn Simone Wilson, CCXP, FCXP-III | LinkedIn