In 2020, every person generated 1.7 megabytes per second. And a lot of that data could be used by businesses to create better products and provide a better overall customer experience for their audience.
But despite the vast amount of available data, many companies struggle with making use of it or even choosing the right data to focus on in the first place. In fact, poor data quality is costing companies millions of dollars every year.
At the same time, that's an excellent opportunity for organizations to become more data-driven and make informed decisions about every part of their operations. By learning how to generate useful consumer insights based on customer behaviors, you can get a deeper understanding of their needs and gain a massive advantage over the competition.
In this article, let's explore how actionable customer insights look, why they matter, and how to make actionable insights a part of your decision-making process.
Features of an Actionable Customer Insight
Actionable is a popular buzzword in the business world, but the exact meaning behind it isn't always clear. And the truth is, there are a few key traits of actionable insights that usually determine whether they can be used by a business to make better decisions and improve.
Here are some of the main characteristics your high-quality data insights should have.
When collecting data, you will inevitably have a lot of it that isn't useful (in that particular instance). And while that's completely fine, you need to be able to distinguish between data that is relevant and applicable in the situation because any data that isn't is going to detract from the accuracy and usefulness of the insights you generate.
For the best results, try to identify the types of data that contain the answer to a question you need to answer. Then, you can start digging for deeper insights that will show you the best path forward.
Another critical feature of actionable customer insights & segmentation is context. The data you collect must be viewed in terms of the people that it represents, as you need to understand the circumstances in which that data was collected if you are going to generate valuable insights about your target customer.
For instance, when improving your products, you can't just pick a random idea from the data you collect as part of customer feedback. Instead, you should prioritize and contextualize the data based on the number of specific complaints, their severity, and the outcomes that the problem created. Only then will you know what requires your team's most immediate action.
One of the hardest things about collecting and analyzing data is determining whether it's still correct and relevant to the current business landscape. And unfortunately, as more time passes, the information that was very useful might become outdated and not reflect the current situation as well as it did before.
Therefore, you need to have a process for analyzing and using the data you collect faster. If too much time passes until you actually apply what you learn, the situation might have already changed, making it virtually useless because of it.
Finally, it's important to understand how the sample size of the feedback you receive from human behaviors and opinions determines the data's accuracy and reliability.
In other words, you must consider the sample size of the data you have collected and whether its size is enough to accurately reflect your audience's views, perceptions, and general preferences.
Why It Matters
As you've probably seen in the previous section, there's a lot that goes into an actionable customer insight that's relevant, timely, and offers you helpful information that can be applied to your business.
But while getting good insights from your customer data takes time and effort, it's almost always worth it. Having customer insights you can use with confidence offers a range of benefits and can contribute to higher customer lifetime value, better customer loyalty, and a range of other powerful advantages related to customer satisfaction and other areas.
Let's look at a few of the main reasons why getting actionable insights matters below.
Make Informed Decisions
The quality of your day-to-day decisions will have a deciding effect on your success in business. If you can consistently make (more) good decisions, that will have a cumulative impact and gradually allow you to move ahead of the competition and provide the best possible experience for your customers.
Meanwhile, if you fail to make the right choices, it will be very hard to maintain customer retention and keep your customers from going to the competition.
And when you have a process for collecting data and generating actionable insights that make sense, you will empower your teams to make the right choices consistently, getting them the tools they need to succeed and not having to rely on assumptions when propelling the business forward.
Provide a Better Experience to Customers
Having actionable insights will also provide you with a better understanding of the overall customer sentiment. Catering to high-value customers requires an understanding of their needs, and your customer experience efforts can become much more effective if you have actionable data that shows you exactly how you can improve how your brand operates.
Anticipating customer needs is an integral part of keeping them happy, and having useful customer insights can help you understand the typical customer journey your audience takes and integrate this knowledge into your product development, customer support, and customer experience improvement efforts.
Finally, powerful insights about what your customers want can help you drive sales and grow your company. You can align your company's vision to meet the expectations of your most profitable customers and ensure that each marketing dollar you spend goes towards attracting the target customer that can bring your company the most returns.
You can run more targeted promotions, identify the key features that matter to your audience, and get ahead of any shift in your audience's needs before your competition. And these types of customer insights ensure that you will be in the best position possible to succeed in your market.
How to Make Insights More Actionable
Making your insights more actionable often comes down to understanding how they fit into your decision-making process. After all, an actionable insight is just analyzed data that has been structured to answer a specific question.
So, how can you make your insights more actionable? Find out a few of the key steps you should take below.
Start With the Goal
If you look at actionable consumer insights as a method for answering questions, it becomes clear that your customer insights & segmentation should be looked at from the standpoint of specific problems and questions you want to resolve.
Think about the biggest questions your business needs to answer and how making the right choice could positively impact your operations. Then, try to identify the types of data that could guide your decision-making process, providing a 360-degree view of the situation and giving you the ability to make business decisions accordingly.
Once you have a specific and clearly-defined goal or question, you can start framing your data accordingly. For example, if you need to improve the customer lifetime value, it might make sense to look at what makes customers leave or not buy again. If you want to reduce your cost per lead, it might be good to analyze the data you have about the performance of your marketing campaigns.
The bottom line is that it's likely you already have a trove of data around most areas of your business. And the best way to gain actionable insights is to look at the data as a source of answers that you have to find within it.
Carefully Evaluate the Data Quality
The reliability of the answers you get from the data will be almost exclusively tied to the data's quality. If the information is outdated, inaccurate, or misrepresented, that can lead you down the wrong path and make any customer insights & segmentation virtually useless.
Therefore, you should have a process for evaluating how reliable a set of data is, where it came from, and if it's still as relevant today as it was when it was collected.
The same goes for any tests that you may have run. If the test was done a while ago, it might no longer represent your market or audience behaviors, so you might need to run it again and collect new data to ensure that you are making the right choice.
To make generating insights easier and more efficient, it's a good idea to have a unified platform for storing and analyzing your data. The less time your team has to spend manually converting data and inputting it into another platform, the faster you can use it to make better decisions about your business.
Continually Collect Accurate Customer Feedback
Customer feedback is at the very core of actionable insights. Interviews, surveys, NPS, social media interactions, and support chats are all essential to understanding what your customers want and deriving insights that drive growth and innovation within your company.
Therefore, you should set up processes that ensure your voice of the customer data is collected from various sources and accurately categorized to be used later.
Collecting this type of data takes effort, but the opportunity to discover your audience's preferences in their own words is an invaluable asset to have. Over time, it can have a transformational effect on your business and give you a significant advantage over the competition.
Collecting and analyzing data is a big part of running a business. But the data can only make a difference if you can generate insights. And the insights you do generate must be actionable and actually provide helpful information that contributes to the growth of your business.
In this article, we went through some of the critical traits of actionable insights, why they matter, and helped you understand how you can make the insights you generate more actionable and applicable to the needs of your business.