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5 questions to answer about customer insights

Soleil Kelley

March 18, 20226 min read

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In its recent Brand Trust Survey, Gartner found that 81% of consumers “refuse to do business with or buy from a brand that they don’t trust.” That kind of consensus is music to the ears of brand managers — who wouldn’t want to secure the loyalty of the vast majority of customers?

Actually building trust with consumers, though, requires personal, authentic relationships based on a shared understanding of needs and preferences. Customer insights help you build this understanding by illuminating what really matters to your specific customers.

This can be a moving target, so you also need a way to continually monitor your own strategy to ensure you’re adapting, innovating, and delivering value. No matter where you’re at in your journey, here are some questions you should answer to grow, manage, and protect your brand through real customer insight.

What does customer insight mean for my brand?

“Insight-driven firms will be three times more likely to outperform their competitors” in 2022 (Forrester, 2021). To seize that advantage you first need a clear picture of what insight really looks like for your business.

“Insight” is often used interchangeably with data, but it’s actually the synthesis of data and the feelings and experiences customers have with your brand. In short, insight combines information with understanding, giving you an opportunity to make connections and take action.

Your brand must be present in all the places your customers are talking, exchanging opinions, and making purchasing decisions. This builds deeper understanding, but it also allows you to communicate and engage in a personalized, authentic way — through the channels your unique customers prefer, addressing things your customers care about.

Do I have the data I need?

Speaking of channels, your customers are now sharing important information across dozens of social and messaging platforms simultaneously. That means you can’t be sure you have the right data to build customer insights unless you have a single, unified view of that entire landscape.

Your internal ecosystem may also be an impediment to data awareness. Many brands work in siloed teams utilizing multiple point solutions. This makes a single view of data impossible, but it can also lead to different interpretations of the data. That’s nearly as bad as not having the data in the first place.

Social listening should be a foundational piece of your data arsenal. In a unified customer experience management (Unified-CXM) platform, a social listening tool allows you to consistently access customer data from across 30+ digital and social media channels. This gives you one shared view of that data, so your teams and stakeholders can quickly assess the information you have — and agree on what it’s telling you.

Can I analyze the data?

Once you have access to the right data, it’s essential that you understand it and draw the right conclusions. Many brands struggle with this step because they lack the ability to drill down at a granular level into vast, unstructured data to answer specific questions.

Getting the data ready for analysis can also be a time-consuming process — without a single source of truth across your organization, you’re likely pulling data from disparate sources and collating data sets from a host of internal systems manually. In addition to the drain on your resources, you may also miss out on time-sensitive opportunities.

Working with all your customer insight data in a unified platform enables you to automate many of these manual processes to save you hundreds of hours, but it also leverages AI to help you see patterns in your data with nuance and context. That context is the “understanding” piece we talked about earlier that allows you to know what customers are feeling and what they need from you to build an authentic relationship.

AI-driven sentiment analysis pulls messages from across digital channels and gives you a sense of the emotions behind those conversations. Location-based insights help you organize customer feedback by region or address, so you can understand opportunities or challenges in specific geographies, tailor your communication, or provide necessary customer support. And by creating a single view for all this customer information, a unified platform helps you quickly understand what channels are driving engagement, what messages are resonating most, and how your competition is faring in the market.

Can I take action on the data?

This is the reason you collect all that customer insight data in the first place: to actually do something with it and grow your brand.

We’ve already touched on the ways silos and disconnected views of data can impede collaboration, and poor analysis can certainly lead to decision-making hesitance (analysis paralysis is real!). But if you’ve checked those items off your list, your biggest action roadblock might be your processes.

When it comes time to execute strategy, many brands find their workflows are as fragmented as their data collection. Creation and approval of a content asset can require hours of emails, task assignments on different platforms, and redundant steps across the approval process. Not only is that time that should be spent connecting with the customer, but it’s also a recipe for poor oversight, off-brand messaging, and entire assets falling through the cracks.

Reduce this complexity by putting end-to-end workflows in the same unified platform as your data collection and analysis. This gives you an opportunity to automate repeated processes to reduce error and increase time-to-action. It also allows your teams to:

  • Streamline important communication

  • Benchmark messaging against existing campaign briefs for better brand consistency

  • Fast-track internal approvals with customized content templates

  • Publish from a central hub

Taking action also means adapting to new information in real time. Timely data shared instantly across teams lets you take action on messaging that works (or doesn’t), better allocate resources, respond instantly to competitor behaviors, and respond directly to your customers’ questions or issues.

Am I safe from risk?

This brings us full circle back to trust. If your brand’s reputation is called into question, consumers won’t trust you and won’t do business with you. You need a clear understanding of what matters to your customers so you can identify and avoid risks before they happen.

Reputation starts with the quality of your product or service. If your customers are having bad experiences with your brand, leaving negative reviews, or otherwise voicing frustrations, you need to know right away so you can make necessary changes. Social listening can provide relevant and timely feedback, which allows you to develop product insights and seize opportunities for personalized service or product innovation.

But consumer feelings on important issues also matter to your brand. Media-monitoring capabilities help you keep an eye on important global events and breaking news stories that may influence consumer sentiment. Your solution should also include smart alerts that automatically track and apprise you of anomalous spikes in conversations relating to your brand, so you can intervene and stop publishing before damaging messages go viral.

A Unified-CXM platform can help you answer these important questions

As the only Unified-CXM platform, Sprinklr gives you the power to collect, analyze, and act on customer data — all in a single place. Sprinklr Modern Research puts social listening at the foundation of your brand strategy, while Modern Marketing & Advertising allows you to streamline workflows, produce consistent content fast, and protect you from reputational harm.

Get the strategic handbook on brand authenticity

To learn more about harnessing consumer insight and expressing your brand authenticity, download our strategic brand management handbook today.

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