Customer insights can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people just as they can vary in line with your business and industry. So first things first: What are customer insights and why are they important?
Customer insight refers to the interpretation and analysis of quantitative and qualitative customer data, usually gathered from customer feedback and behavioral data, which is then used to inform business decisions and strategies. Understanding what your customers want, feel, think, like and dislike and how this differs across different customer segments and changes over time will help you to better resonate with and serve your customers. This in turn will enable your brand to improve customer experience and loyalty and all the good things that go along with it – such as revenue, profitability and brand perception.
There are many different types of customer insights. In this article, we will provide you with an overview of the six most common types of consumer insights. We will showcase several customer insights examples along the way to illustrate how insights can be applied in the real world and inform data-driven business decisions and strategies.
How are consumer insights obtained?
Seeing that there are different types of consumer insights, you might be wondering: How do I generate customer insights in the first place? There are a number of rich text data sources businesses use to get consumer insights:
Surveys are one of the richest data sources for generating customer insights. They allow you to efficiently gather customer feedback and ask targeted questions. What’s more, they make it easy to record respondent demographics such as location, age, race, and more, helping you to segment and analyze different consumer groups to understand how they differ from one another.
Online reviews from platforms such as Google, TrustPilot, G2 and Amazon, provide you with detailed, qualitative feedback that is usually attached to a rating or score. Reviews provide an ideal combination of quantitative and qualitative data because they allow you to combine closed questions (e.g. rating scales) with open-ended questions that reveal the drivers behind customers’ selections. By analyzing online review data you will be able to uncover what customers like and dislike about your products and services. Knowing what encourages or discourages customers from buying will help you inform your marketing, product, and customer service strategies.
Social media conversations and online forums
More than half of the world’s population uses social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. On these platforms, consumers communicate issues directly to brands and businesses and discuss general brand perception with their own network. What’s more, social media channels provide customers with the ideal outlet to discuss topics that are relevant to them, which can also be interesting for businesses. An electric car manufacturer like Tesla might want to know how people are talking about electric vehicles in general. The organic nature of social conversations will help you acquire an authentic understanding of your audiences and their brand perception.
Online forums are another rich source of social data that can provide you with extensive qualitative text data from inquiry-prompted conversations and long-form discussions. These in-depth, long-form responses can help you uncover a deeper understanding of how people feel about your brand and other relevant topics and why they feel that way.
Customer service and chat interactions
Customer service chat, telephone and email transcripts give you direct insight concerning issues with products or customer experience. Knowing about customers’ concerns will enable you to pinpoint the drivers of successful customer service interactions, identify areas for improvement and evaluate your CX processes.
What are the types of customer insights?
Having collected all of this data, what do you do with it?
Theoretically speaking, there are endless customer insights examples. That being said, most can be classified into one of six categories. Here are six of the most common types of customer insights to fuel your consumer insights strategy:
1) Consumer insights in CX:
Comparing good vs. bad feedback allows you to efficiently reveal the drivers of positive and negative customer experiences. Customer feedback data gathered through surveys and reviews with attached NPS, CSAT, or CES ratings is particularly useful for this type of analysis. This will help you identify and resolve common issues that impact CX.
Using Relative Insight, a leading fashion retailer wanted to analyze large quantities of mystery shopper survey data to improve customers’ in-store shopping experience. Through the analysis, the fashion retailer was able to demonstrate a clear link between customers’ buying intent and the customer service they received. These insights were then used to inform changes to their in-store sales associate training programs and establish best practices. Download the full case study here.
2) Customer service insights:
The key to customer satisfaction and loyalty is good customer service. Customer service interactions are a valuable source of consumer insights data. Analyzing customer service transcripts helps you understand what makes for a successful customer service interaction.
When it comes to methodology, transcripts become particularly valuable when they are attached to a score or rating, typically gathered through a post-call pulse survey. When this is the case, you can group poorly rated transcripts and compare them against positively rated transcripts to understand how the content of those interactions differs. Knowing which words, phrases and solutions lead to high customer satisfaction can inform training and best practices across your customer service teams.
These types of customer insights are a great way to improve customer service processes. You might discover that if a representative uses specific phrases or offers a particular solution, interactions are more likely to result in a satisfied customer. You can then implement those strategies across the entire customer service team.
This is exactly what a leading home furniture retail company used Relative Insight for. DFS wanted to make sure that every live online chat between their agents and their customers received a high post-call score. Conducting this analysis, DFS was able to uncover exact words and phrases that were more likely to be used by high-scoring agents, which they could then use to directly inform training and content of scripts for customer service center staff. Read the full case study here.
3) Demographic insights:
Segmenting customer opinion data based on combinations of demographic attributes such as age, gender or location can help you understand the unique characteristics of different target audiences.
Let’s say you’re a retailer conducting a survey to find out how your brand is perceived by customers. A great way to go about data segmentation and analysis is dividing survey responses in line with different age groups or generations. This will help you pinpoint the similarities and differences between different audiences and discover specific words and phrases that resonate with each customer group. The resulting insights can then be used to develop targeted campaigns for each group.
Demographic data segmentation can be particularly helpful for marketers who are looking to expand a business’s market reach or create marketing language and communications that truly speak to different target audiences. Co-op Funeralcare and Global used Relative Insight to deep-dive into British people’s opinions regarding end-of-life wishes, funerals and end-of-life celebrations. By analyzing survey open-ends, they uncovered what makes regional audiences unique, and then used these insights to inform Co-op’s location-specific advertising copy across Global’s network of outdoor advertising sites. Take a look at the full case study here.
4) Product Insights:
Finding out what people like and dislike about your product offering is crucial to any successful product development strategy. To uncover these types of customer insights, you can analyze consumer opinions about specific products or product lines. These opinions are commonly gathered through online reviews or customer surveys.
Consumer feedback allows you to uncover common issues and drivers of product-related dissatisfaction, helping you prioritize product strategy and uncover unknown weaknesses. This will enable your product development team to determine which product innovations and improvements are most important.
Once you’ve gathered product feedback, you can segment your data by positive vs. negative product reviews and compare the two datasets. Similarly, you can compare reviews of competing or similar products to understand the differences in how each product is perceived by consumers. Understanding what customers already love about your products and where there is room for improvement will allow you to amplify the positives while making necessary changes to your products to address pain points.
We compared Amazon reviews for the Dyson Airwrap against various brands of traditional hair dryers to understand what features make this product different and how it generally fares with consumers. Click here to see what we found.
5) Behavioral insights:
Why, how, and when do consumers make a purchase? How do spend, retention, churn and average basket size vary across different customer segments? Behavioral customer insights will allow you to answer all of these questions. Knowing a consumer’s needs wants and purchasing behavior allows you to uncover motivators or specific points in the customer journey that result in a sale.
This type of consumer insight typically informs sales and marketing strategies. If you know your customers usually make impulse purchases, you can capitalize on those opportunities by appealing to emotionally driven decision-making. If you know they tend to buy your products around special holidays, you can ramp up your marketing efforts close to these dates.
Post-purchase surveys, social media and forum conversations can supplement quantitative sales data to help you understand the behaviors consumers engage in related to your product.
Here’s another example for illustration: A leading provider of audio content used Relative Insight to analyze social conversations to understand the rituals around listening to audio throughout the day. Using these insights they were able to help advertisers deliver contextual messaging that resonated with listeners and integrated with their daily routines and rituals.
6) Brand perception/competitor comparison:
What do customers think about your brand? What do they think about your competitors? Understanding public or audience-specific brand perception allows you to align how you perceive yourself with how consumers perceive you.
The next layer is competitor comparison. By comparing your brand perception against a competitor, you can quickly uncover your strengths and weaknesses in the eyes of the consumer. Comparison adds a layer of contextual understanding that pinpoints how your brand perception is different or unique.
Online reviews and social media conversations are particularly useful for this kind of analysis. You can take customer reviews for one of your products or services and compare them against customer reviews of your competitors. Uncovering, which overarching similarities and differences there are, will help you discover potential white spaces, develop marketing communications that reflect what makes your business unique and implement necessary improvements to gain or maintain an edge over the competition.
To understand how competitors within an industry use language and tone of voice to differentiate themselves on social media, we compared and analyzed tweets from five popular fast food chains. With our analysis, we were able to uncover unique insight into how each brand is differentiated from the others. Read the full case study here.
Consumer insights and analytics in action
These customer insights examples illustrate how powerful customer insights can be in supporting customer-centric and data-driven decision-making.
Customer insights tools like Relative Insight make analyzing the massive amounts of qualitative consumer data needed to generate these valuable insights quick and easy. We can help you extract consumer insights from any textual data source – surveys, reviews, social media and more, using AI and natural language processing. By comparing two or more written data sets, Relative Insight uncovers the statistical differences in topics, words, phrases, grammar and emotion. This drives an in-depth contextual understanding of your brand perception, customers, target audiences and competitors.
Have our customer insights examples inspired you? Want to uncover the drivers of customer satisfaction? Or understand how brand perceptions are changing? With Relative Insight, you can uncover any type of consumer insight. Download our customer insights framework or book a no-commitment discovery call to uncover customer insights that will provoke and inspire!