“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view”–Harper Lee
If you have ever been in a position that required you to attract customers, you would know the amount of ‘toil and sweat’ you put in. Businesses across the globe face similar challenges when trying to get customers to notice them in a ‘shrinking’ market. One of the possible reasons why businesses and marketing personnel need to put in so much effort is because they forget to listen to what their customers say and even if they listen, translating customer insight to action remains forgotten often. The very premise of asking for customer feedback is that your company can invest time and effort in translating customer insight into action that would ultimately spell success for the customer and your company. The fact is that customers expect to see some tangible results associated with the insights and feedback they provide – it confirms their trust and belief in the company and encourages them to continue lending support by way of insights.
Whatever a company does – the products it makes, services it offers – should be directed towards benefitting the customer. How would companies know what customers like unless they ask their customers? However, simply listening will not suffice unless companies make sure that they do everything possible for translating customer insight into action. Action would mean improving things that customers believe require improvement, creating new products and services, raising the standard of customer service and other such actions that would have a direct and positive impact the customers. Translating customer insight into action also means that companies make every effort to understand their customers closely – their needs, emotions, perceptions, wants, demands, behaviour – all of which are essential for a company to provide personalized and customized offerings. The better a company can know its customers, the more it stands to gain by way of customer loyalty, profitability and brand advocacy. Translating customer insight into action is also about finding new ways to serve the customer based on their feedback and giving them whatever they want more often.
Among the top challenges of translating customer insight into action is first gaining that insight. Customers are not always willing or inclined to provide feedback to customers, even when explicitly asked. With so much choice – read as competitors for a company – customers would much rather switch to a company that can understand them. For any company this would mean taking decisions and keeping themselves informed with whatever information they can get but continually striving to solicit value-added insights from customers. It is clear then that gaining and translating customer insight into action is a continuous process that requires resilience and tenacity. Consistency would be crucial while trying to understand customers and then using the knowledge about them to satisfy their wants and needs in a way that would be profitable for both the company and them.
People set up a business and create products because they believe that their ideas would benefit them and the customers. While some amount of market research could be behind these ideas, the fact is that only those who are flexible and adaptable to feedback and insights would succeed. Once a product or service is out in the market for use, customers and others would have several insights on how the offering could be improved / revamped or redesigned to make it better for them. This is the real test of translating customer insight into action. Without making the improvements or changes suggested by the end-users, the possibility of rejection of the offerings would be very real, leading to major losses for the company – in many different ways.
Not translating customer insight into action would translate to a rigid mind-set, customers would perceive the company as not being customer-centric and no customer would like to stick with a company that does not value them. Companies that appear successful are probably so because they show their customers that they are valuable and that their feedback forms the basis of whatever the company does. This in turn leads customers to keep coming back, spend more and encourage others to do business with the company. Anyone running a business would know that customer testimonials and referrals are the best form of advertising and expanding ones business. The core to this however is that a company actively solicits customer feedback and remains effective in translating customer insight into action – tangible and noticeable action which customers would hugely benefit from. In any case consistent improvements is critical for any company and if it is based on customer insight and feedback, the chances of sustainable success and a loyal customer base would be extremely high.
The key to be able to successful in translating customer insight into action however is to first test your company’s proposed actions with a few trusted and loyal customers. This target group would be immensely helpful in letting a company know whether their ideas and proposed actions would work or not. Getting a smaller yet trustworthy group of customers to ‘try out’ your company’s improvements and or new offerings would save your company huge costs, efforts and embarrassment if they did not work as anticipated. Based on the insight provided by the niche audience, a company would be able to further improve and enrich its offerings, leading to more success and a larger customer base. There is ample evidence to show that customer satisfaction links directly to a customer’s perception of a company and its offerings – therefore when a company uses customer insight to make improvements it raises the satisfaction levels and makes it more appealing to customers. The better customers feel about a company, the more they would buy from it, leading to profitability and growth. Simple?!
Customers constantly provide insights – formally and informally. This when used properly and translated into action, become the basis of all round improvements and enhanced customer focus. There would be many times when companies may not be able to identify issues or understand why despite their best efforts a product or service finds favour with customers. Customer insights, when heeded, could provide answers to some of these baffling questions. Translating customer insight into action would therefore mean developing and executing the most resourceful and compelling strategies that would benefit not just the customers but also the company as a whole.
Translating customer insight into action is critical for the future of a company as it enables the company to shape its products and services to suit the requirements of the customers both in the present and in the future. Customer insights when used properly would serve as roadmap and path for a company’s success and future. The more a company translates customer feedback into tangible actions, the higher would be the level of customer trust and liking for the company – in business customer trust is invaluable since it does not come easy and hence not everyone is able to achieve it. It is the onus of a company to take customer insight and translate it into action. Action that would not only meet the expectations of customers, but also go well beyond them, thus leading to delighted customers eager to buy again, translating to sustainable growth and success for the company.