Four Steps for Making Your Customer Insights Users Successful


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One of the challenges that customer experience (CX) professionals face is getting the insights they uncover through Voice of Customer (VoC) programs to drive changes to the business. Part of that challenge stems from the fact that just because customer insights are being served up via increasingly customizable reports and dashboards that can be delivered right to stakeholders’ desktops or mobile devices, those insights aren’t being consumed, understood, or embraced by those designated to do something with the information that’s directed their way.

When VoC programs are launched, a lot of time and attention goes into the design of the surveys, the determination of dashboards, and the technical training of the CX analysts and others in the business on how to “point and click” their way through the VoC platform. What is often overlooked is the other work that needs to be done with business stakeholders to prepare them to be successful users of the insights that are generated by the VoC program. Creating successful insights users involves tactics across the entire insights cycle – from before experiences begin to be monitored to after insights are used to make decisions.

Let’s take a closer look at four steps CX teams can take to set insights users up for success:

1. Identify the value insights will deliver. CX professionals need to recognize a fundamental truth: we must speak the language of the business if we want our work to be embraced. It is imperative that we align our work with the business objectives of the organization and frame the discussions we have about insights and action around how they align with those objectives. That means our work with insights users starts with identifying what they are trying to accomplish and determining which insights will help them. For example, the business focus of the head of retail operations for a bank may be to increase customer retention and lifetime value. After some discussion about the current situation and previous feedback, the CX team identifies that the insights that will be most helpful will be ones that help this leader determine how to prioritize in-branch experience improvements and match cross- and up-sell opportunities with the right segments of customers.

2. Understand insights users’ information needs. Once the CX team has identified the general focus of what will help an insight user make progress on his or her business objectives, it’s time to dig in to frame how to uncover the specific insights most likely to help with decision-making that will drive beneficial changes to the business. In prior research, we identified a set of questions that CX teams can use to begin to define user requirements for the insights they will be asked to use:

3. Provide role-based support. Insights users are made, not born. It sounds trite, but it is important to remember that not every business leader or insights user is born with a data-centric mindset. It is incumbent on CX teams to provide the right support, tailored to the stakeholder segments in their organizations, so that they have the knowledge and desire to be successful insights users. Part of this support is in how CX teams distribute insights. The format and content should adapt to the insights users’ needs. CX teams should match delivery cadence and intervals to the rhythm of their planning and action cycles, while still providing custom alerts for significant insights outside that rhythm. And to the extent the organization is able, insights should be delivered to users in the work systems and tools they interact with as part of their day-to-day work. Beyond how insights are delivered, CX teams also need to look at how they enable insights users through training and coaching. This goes beyond the “point and click” navigation of platforms and dashboards and should also focus on how to understand and interpret the data (and how not to), avenues and tactics for diagnosing or digging deeper into the findings, and the best ways to talk about the implications of the insights with their teams. Some unique ways to offer this support include hosting VoC office hours where insights users can drop in with questions, arranging shadowing opportunities where they can observe you or other leaders work through findings or lead discussions on insights, and co-creation sessions where the insights user and a member of the CX team work together through a particularly complex or important insights project together all the way from definition to discussion and action planning.

4. Celebrate successes and share lessons learned. CX team members can perpetuate desired behaviors across their entire insights user population by capturing and sharing success stories and lessons learned. This starts with focusing on individual insights users and making sure to help them track the progress and results of the action plans they created from insights. It also involves sharing stories of the ways different insights users across the company are putting experience and operational data to work to guide decision-making and attack business goals so that others can learn from them. As part of this work, CX teams should “take their own medicine” and gather and act on feedback from insights users themselves to improve the internal processes and support around the VoC program.

CX teams, don’t fall into the “build it and they will come” trap, assuming that the right dashboards will magically create insights users who know what the data means and, more importantly, what to do with it within their business unit. Instead, use these four steps to forge working relationships with your insights users across the entire cycle from data collection through deploying changes or improvements based on insights. By making insights users successful, CX teams will make their own efforts more successful and deliver more value to their organizations.

Aimee Lucas
I am a customer experience and employee engagement researcher, advisor, speaker, and trainer. I focus my work on guiding clients on how to optimize their employee and customer experience management programs, identifying and publishing EX and CX best practices, and shaping the future of experience management (XM). I have over 16 years of experience improving service delivery and transforming the customer experience through people development and process improvement initiatives.


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