Recently I wrote about how planning for insights can help you be more customer-centric when informing your business with insights. With a plan in place to generate insight, many find this meets their goals. Some customers—especially those that operate as a shared or centralized insight service to multiple stakeholders—next want to know how to demonstrate the impact of insight in their business.
We’ve found that customers do one or a combination of these actions to showcase the value of their work and the investment in their insight community to their organization:
- They use their Stakeholder Hub and drive their stakeholders to collaborate and shareback insights on it. Driving customer centricity by increasing access to insight.
- They keep a record of projects completed with the impact it has had (e.g. decisions made).
- They use unit economics to justify spend (e.g. cost per interview, complete, or project compared to other insight methods).
Just Getting Started? Do This First
If you’re just getting going with your insight community and especially if you work with one functional area of your organization on insights (e.g. one product or UX team on one product, or customer experience for one segment of your customers) start with the basics:
- Create a spreadsheet on a shared drive with the following columns:
- Project Name
- Stakeholder/project lead name
- Topic description
- Impact project had on business/any learnings, outcomes, or steps that followed
- Links to the study test link
- Links to the study data set (spreadsheet exports hosted on your own systems)
- Links to the Story or Analyze report in Sparq
- Update it after every project is complete
- Share it on the channels that work for your business (e.g. email, slack, intranet)
*Bonus: Some customers format this into a poster, slide, or infographic at the end of the year.
How to Close the Loop Once You Have the Basics
As your impact grows from one to many functional areas or departments, or many customer groups, some insight community managers and insight professionals need to gather support from stakeholders. It may become less obvious how the insights you generate have been leveraged for decision making.
“Close the Loop forms” are an easy mechanism for insight community managers to track the ROI and business impact from the community.
- Create a form to send to stakeholders after a project is completed.
- Collect the information to populate your spreadsheet.
- Share it on the channels that work for your business (e.g. email, slack, intranet, or your Stakeholder Hub).
Tips on the Close the Loop Form:
When to send
Close the loop forms should be sent to stakeholders a couple of weeks after project completion (or whenever it makes the most sense to gather project impact information in your business).
- Sparq Survey
- Editable Form (e.g. Google Form)
- As a part of your intake form or research brief
What to Include
Use the same fields as you have on your spreadsheet but consider adding:
- Impact project had on business plus any learnings, outcomes, or steps that followed
- Customer-facing materials that were generated as a result of the decision
Hint: Even if you’re clear on the objective of the research and the intention for the decision making at the outset of a project, a follow-up after the study can still validate if the intention became a reality. You can ask stakeholders, “did you actually do what you set out to with these results?”
To reach Nirvana of customer centricity, your stakeholders will be evangelizing the success of your insight community for you. Insights are so deeply integrated in the business process and psyche that stakeholders willingly create customer-facing sharebacks of the decisions made from community insights.
Our most successful customers create short videos, blog posts, or infographics that are used to share within the business and with customers.
Keep in mind that videos don’t have to be high-production value. For our own customer community, we’ve used 20-second videos shot on phone cameras in the office to show members what impact they’ve had. Inside the company, customer insights are often given some airtime on our quarterly town hall meetings with radical transparency of decisions made.
Plan to show impact from the outset, but do so with the right amount for your business. Start small with decisions made and scale it as your insight community and impact grows. If you’re already having success, how can you use it to drive more customer centricity?