Every company wants to be customer centric, but many are challenged to get the customer feedback they need at the speed their business operates. Unfortunately, there is a world of difference between pumping out high-volume, ad-hoc surveys that potentially damage your brand and finding customer intelligence that can actually make an impact in your organization. Clearly, striking the right balance between speed and quality is essential.
An insight community offers companies the best of both worlds. It gives brands the opportunity to gain fast and ongoing feedback from customers who have opted in to share their opinions, while also providing a platform for deeper customer relationships.
Below, four powerhouse brands share their tips for using insight communities to get faster feedback for product innovation, enhanced customer experiences and to drive sales.
Move with trends
The shift towards “fast fashion” and online shopping has meant traditional retail has to move faster than ever before to stay relevant. Joelle Cann, manager of strategy for Nordstrom, explained at the 2017 Customer Intelligence Summit that it’s vital to quickly test and iterate offers, messaging and design. Likewise, sharing messaging and design with community members enables fast feedback that can be refined later as necessary. And according to Cann, the insight community enables Nordstrom to get customer-validated insight in a matter of hours or days instead of weeks or months.
“Get customer-validated insight in a matter of hours or days instead of weeks or months”
The retail industry isn’t the only one affected by shifting expectations, of course. In a recent Q&A, Tyler Kettle, research team lead in market development and insights at IBM, said agile insight was just as necessary to reduce risks in the B2B tech industry.
According to Kettle, for certain business decisions, traditional research methods that may take “five to eight weeks” to field may not be appropriate. “We have an insight community that allows us to quickly go out and get customer feedback within a week, or in some cases, even two to three days,” he said. Having a community of deeply profiled customers helps his team get a quick pulse on how B2B buyers think and feel. “It allows us to get a good qualitative, directional read on buyer opinions and attitudes.”
Validate and innovate
Clearly, as IBM and Nordstrom highlight, fast validation of ideas can help companies keep up with market trends and customer preferences. However, it’s also important to vet ideas early and often to avoid potentially costly mistakes.
Keurig Canada, for example, uses its insight community to develop best-in-class products as well as test early-stage concepts. By validating ideas with their Coffee Insiders community, the Keurig team can focus their resources on viable ideas and avoid areas that do not make commercial sense. For instance, while considering a secondary coffee brand, Overall, Keurig Canada consumer insights analyst Eileen Chen estimates that the company saves three weeks for each product launch by reducing research time.
Keep it simple
Reducing question length and scope, while still making the interactions fun and interactive, keeps members engaged and allows for faster responses. Aurora Health Care relies on fast, ongoing insight to make decisions that impact customer experience, such as website and online portal engagement.
Anne Martino, VP Consumer Engagement at Aurora Health Care, says getting feedback quickly has been essential to their success in these endeavours. “What we love about our patient community is the immediacy,” she says. “We are able to quickly get a pulse of what consumers are saying. It has helped us put the consumer at the center of all our decisions.”
Measuring speed to insight
Traditional research methods can take weeks to complete, while it can take even longer to analyze and socialize the results internally before any action is taken. Speed-to-results is a key measurement for companies that want to remain agile and competitive.
Vision Critical recently engaged Forrester Consulting to apply its Total Economic Impact™ methodology to uncover the ROI of the Vision Critical customer intelligence platform, Sparq 3. Forrester developed a composite organization based on data gathered from customer interviews to reflect the total economic impact that investing in Vision Critical could have on an organization.
Forrester concluded when it comes to speed, the composite resulted in four to six times faster speed-to-results for research activities. The report highlighted that:
- Agile insight drove business value and, in some cases, increased customer engagement
- Individual customers reported time-to-deliver survey projects went down from four-to-six weeks to a week at the most, and in some cases, even 48 hours.
- One market researcher noted that pre-Vision Critical, studies took at least two months to execute and complete, compared to one and a half to two weeks with Vision Critical.