What is the value of customer research and insight? Often for an established business, it is all too easy to fall into the trap of continuing to offer the same products and services based upon existing assumptions.

Whilst you may have been successful to date, markets are moving with increasing speed and as such you will need to remain one step ahead of your competitors in order to either continue your market presence or indeed to grow.

Customer research should be at the heart of your current and future strategies. By regularly asking your customers for feedback and opinions you will be able to adapt, adjust and plan ahead by being aware of both the practical and emotional needs of existing and future customers.

Customer research is acknowledged as the most intuitive method of guiding your business and, as such, has itself been re-branded. Customer Insight has replaced customer research in recognition of the preemptive value of actively listening to the people that engage with your brand by purchasing the products and services that your business offers.

Determining Market Needs & Developing Your Strategy

Customer insight will inform your future decision making. By collecting regular feedback and reviewing the experiences and opinions of your customers you will be able to ascertain potential threats and opportunities within your market. This insight will allow you to clearly identify what your customers actually want and need and enable you to develop a strategy accordingly. As well as customer satisfaction levels, you can also measure brand awareness and perception, giving you insight into your business’ marketing success and the position of your brand compared to your competitors.

Monitor Competitor Activity

You will be aware of the products and services that your competitors have on offer. But do you know anything about their customers loyalty and relationships? In the modern digital age, it is relatively easy to read customer reviews online. But in order to gain a competitive edge and to fully understand just how good your peers really are, you will need to do more than minor detective work.

Whilst mystery shopping online or face-to-face can be a useful method of measuring services, it will naturally be predetermined by your existing knowledge. Customer insight, however, will reveal service areas that you had not previously considered, and will identify gaps in competitor service provision which you may be able to fill.

Identify “Pain Points”

Regular customer insight can identify pain points. Pain points are essentially touch points at which your customers have a negative experience with your brand or any of its associated  services. This can include simple snags such as delays in answering the telephone, or a lag in online transactions. However, a digital age has increased our demand for speedy and hassle-free services, therefore it is essential that you are aware of those points that have the potential to cause fatigue or even drop off.

Final Thoughts

Customer Insight is highly valuable to any business. It enables you to guide your business objectives, strategies, and brand direction, based upon evidence provided by existing or potential consumers rather than mere assumption. Crucially, contrary to popular belief surrounding traditional methods of market research, existing customers value contact from business’ seeking their opinions. This has the added benefit of building brand loyalty as customers appreciate being heard and, more importantly, given the opportunity to influence change. Therefore, armed with insight you are better placed to make your customers happy.