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Our flagship customer intelligence event in London was a great opportunity to discuss the latest innovations and product updates in the industry, the constantly evolving expectations of today’s consumer, and how to deliver a superior customer experience in 2018.


This year, we were excited to introduce a ‘fireside chat’ to the agenda to discuss how to capture the voice of the customer in 2018 featuring our CEO, Scott Miller alongside four of our industry-leading customers: Twitter, Etsy, Global Radio and Conde Nast International.


We have summarised the key discussion points for you below.




Scott: This is an exciting opportunity for some of our customers to share the insights they are using in their organisations, and the impact this is having.

Please give everyone an introduction to your insight communities.


Sara, Twitter: We have had a VC community since March, so we’re just getting started. The customer data we had previously didn’t give us the full picture. We needed to leverage the data we had by integrating it with an insight community to truly channel the voice of the customer. There are so many use cases that we can still get from the community, we want to make the Twitter experience better for customers in terms of ads, and beyond.


Kate, Global Radio: From our perspective we have 2 main objectives - to drive audiences, and to drive revenue. We have had our wider community for 7 years, and we have 8 separate communities for each of our radio stations. Working with VC allows us to get involved with 20,000 community members. We can segment by brand, by women, by men and so much more. When speaking to advertisers they really want to understand how people feel and our community empowers us to give them this information.


Jemma, Etsy: I work in an unconventional insights function. We look at insight in terms of understanding exactly what our user thinks. We are fortunate to work in a customer-centric environment, and our execs inject the voice of the customer into the core of our brand. Our real challenge is agility, working in a tech company means that you don’t have 3 months to deliver a project. Our community is part of our agile toolkit, it enables us to get findings quickly and efficiently and get these findings in front of stakeholders to improve the user experience.


Paul, Conde Nast International: Our challenge is conducting research on an international scale across all markets with a consistent experience. We need to have conversations with customers across the world and bring that insight together from different parts of the business. Our community is a platform to do all of that research together and be able to collate the insights in one place.


How can a relationship with your customers impact insight?


Scott: A huge focus in today’s customer intelligence is building an ongoing a relationship with your customers. How does your organisation approach relationships and insight?


Paul: Research needs to be relationship-based. The quality of panels and ad hoc surveys is rapidly diminishing. Having a relationship with your customers gives them a solid reason to participate in your research.


Jemma: One important thing about relationships is trust and your customers' feeling that they can share their thoughts and opinions freely.


Kate: Response rates from ad hoc research are going down. Building a relationship with a group of people that respect and like the service you produce means they are passionate about what you deliver, and if they don’t like it they will tell you. In terms of customer insight that is very powerful, and unique to a community.


Sara: The ability to show in-depth insights to the agencies we work with helps us to build relationships with them, as well as our customers. It is very difficult to retrieve actionable insight if your customers are not engaged with your brand.


What does consumer trust mean?


Scott: How do you approach consumer trust?


Jemma: Increasingly, brands are becoming more transparent and honest. As a researcher you do need to adapt your methods in order to be transparent, and that is another thing I really value about our community - the ability to have a 2-way conversation and share back with members.


Kate: The tone of voice of our communities is very important. It’s all about consistency throughout your communications with a customer, across every touchpoint. The experience itself is central to trust.


Paul: Maintaining customer trust is very important to us and we are always completely honest about how we use customer data and insight, and feedback to our members. This is a central part of managing our community.


Sara: Being very transparent about how we use data is the way we started the community, and the way we intend to continue.


Segmentation is key


Scott: You have all mentioned understanding specific groups of people better - how much focus do you place on this?


Jemma: Segmentation is key. The real challenge is to stop looking at data in the traditional way which is very linear and just groups people together based on their transactional data, but there are also preferences, behaviour, and attitudes to consider. You need to break down data silos to understand what you even need to look at.


Paul: Customer segmentation is essential. If you don’t understand all aspects of your audience, you can’t progress with the research. You can’t take on your audience as one! We want to design specific products and services for specific audience groups and our community allows us to prioritise the data sources we need in order to do that.




One of Paul’s closing remarks was “break down the traditional process and the way you have done research in the past”, which is a great point to conclude on. The world of research is evolving and if you are willing to to do things a different way then you can leverage this evolution to your advantage. Our three key learnings from this discussion are as follows:

1. A relationship-based approach to research is powerful.

Not only because the response rates of ad hoc surveys are notoriously decreasing, but also because building a relationship with customers who are passionate about your product or service means that they have a solid incentive to contribute to your insights. In addition to this, a community empowers you to inject customer feedback directly into the development of your product or service, and demonstrate to members how important their contributions are.

2. Insight needs to be fast.

In order to succeed as an innovative and agile business you can no longer wait weeks and weeks for static research. Your customer insight programme needs to deliver results that are fast, actionable, and ongoing.

3. A highly profiled audience plays an important role.

The ability to understand your audience and categorise them on criteria beyond their transactional data is essential. Behavioural data and understanding the ‘why’ behind the ‘what’ is just as important as transactional data. In order to make your customer experience as personalised and relevant as possible and to target specific groups of customers based on their genuine preferences, segmentation needs to be a priority!


We explored how businesses can adapt to ever-changing customer needs, and deliver a superior customer experience in our recent webinar with Game.

Insight-Driven Decision Making

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