AI, applied appropriately, can help deliver customer insights that deliver an in-depth understanding of purchase behavior, needs, likes, dislikes, and preferences.
Do you know your customers? Do you understand what makes them buy your products or avail of your services? Do you know how many customers are unhappy with your business and looking at competitors? How do you plan to retain them? To successfully answer these questions requires customer insight.
Customers are the heart of every business. In order to succeed, you need a loyal customer base to buy, promote, and recommend your brand. The demand and supply ratio in the modern market is constantly changing. People today have more options to choose from.
While this is wonderful for consumers, it puts responsibility and pressure on businesses to ensure that their customers are satisfied and keep them happy. Whether it is product quality, variety, price, or post-purchase services, several factors play a role in influencing a customer. Sometimes, all it takes is one special offer by a competitor to lose a customer.
In such instances, having a comprehensive customer insight strategy can help you retain your customers and attract new ones. However, traditional processes aren’t enough anymore. You need artificial intelligence solutions to use your customer insight strategy and obtain the expected results.
In this blog, we’ll learn more about customer insight strategy, why it is necessary, and how AI can effectively improve the strategy and your business.
What is the customer insight strategy?
Customer insight means having an in-depth understanding of customers’ purchase behavior, needs, likes, dislikes, and preferences. It is to know whether a product will be loved by your customers or not. The insights are a combination of multiple factors like inquiries, feedback, customer analytics, market intelligence, research, segmentation, loyalty analysis, and more.
Consumer insights play a critical role in marketing strategy development for your business. You need to use those insights to create a strategy that delivers results and puts your brand at the top. To survive the competitive market and set your business apart from your peers, you should compulsorily gather customer insights and create a strategy to achieve your goals.
Ways to gather customer insights
Customer insights aren’t generated of their own accord. You need to collect them using different methods. Each method has its pros and cons and focuses on revealing a new aspect about the customers. The following are customer insight techniques used by businesses around the world-
- Trend analysis: This is classified into three types based on geographic location, time frame, and behavioral patterns. The current trends are analyzed to predict the future ones.
- Custom surveys: These are conducted to get a general idea of how satisfied/ dissatisfied customers are with your brand.
- Market analysis: It is a quantitative and qualitative assessment of the market to understand customer segmentation and purchase patterns.
- Interviews: These are used to gather the voice of the customer to see if a particular product/ service is worth pursuing.
- Online research: Using the internet to conduct surveys, polls, share questionnaires, and gather feedback is known as online research.
- Social listening: This is a consumer AI technique where you monitor social media for mentions, tags, etc. You track your business as well as your competitors.
- Predictive analytics: Using ML algorithm and AI to predict future trends based on historical and real-time data is known as predictive analytics.
- Focus groups: You collect data by interacting with a selected group of customers/ target audiences.
The need for customer insight strategy for businesses
Before we talk more about using AI services for customer insights strategy, let’s see why you need to consider customer insights for your business.
Customer insights and product strategy: Customer insight strategy provides you with relevant information about how customers will receive a product from your brand. You might be sure that customers will like a product you plan to release in the coming days. But what if they don’t like it? How will you know with certainty that the new product will be successful in the market? Customer insight strategy is the answer. You can collect firsthand information from the target audiences and use that to develop a proper product strategy.
Customer insights and marketing: Customer insights analytics are used to help in planning your marketing strategy for existing and new products. How to take a product into the market and attract people? You use customer feedback to create a strategy that will highlight the products and the brand to show customers that you can provide them with what they are looking for. It also helps in segmenting customers into exact categories and creating targeted promotional campaigns for each segment.
Customer feedback and customer service: Customer feedback and service go hand in hand. It is a part of the customer insight strategy to gather feedback from customers and make the necessary changes to the processes so that customers are happy with your business. You can collect feedback immediately after providing a service, contact them after a while, or wait for them to review your business.
Find answers to the following questions
If you want to use artificial intelligence to improve the customer insight strategy for your business, you need to first answer a few questions. These will help in providing you with a clear picture of how to implement AI in the business.
What do you want for business? Unless you have a concrete goal, you cannot define the parameters to collect customer insights and use them to develop a strategy. You need to consider the short-term, mid-term, and long-term visions of your brand.
Where and how to gather data? Which customer insight tools should you use to gather data? How do you plan to approach your customers? We’ve already mentioned different methods to collect customer insights. Besides the above, you can also use Google Analytics, social media analytics, social mentions, Google Trends, and other data collection tools to gather insights.
Which data storage and data analytics tools do you need? The collected data requires to be stored and processed to derive insights. Do you want to use in-house servers or store them on the cloud? Do you prefer data warehouses or data lakes? Which analytical tools will you invest in?
Who is responsible for customer insight strategy? Will you hire an AI company or build your own team? The customer insight team structure will depend on whether you want an in-house team or use offshore AI services. Do you want the team to collaborate with other departments such as R&D, marketing, sales, etc.?
What are the three primary constraints? Working on a customer insight strategy requires resources. How much do each resource you wish to allot to the task? The primary constraints for most enterprises would be money/ budget, time, and scope (how much sample size should you consider and how many parameters should you include).
Who are your target audiences? Your primary focus has to be your target audience. Unless you know who they are, you cannot determine which potential customer insight tool or strategy will deliver the desired results for you. For example, you cannot use the same techniques to collect data from people who are above 70 years and those who are less than 20 years.
Tips to use AI to improve customer insight strategy
1. Start with the basics: As always, you’ll need to start with the basics by describing your brand’s vision, setting up the project timeline, listing the constraints/ limitations, and hiring a team to develop the customer insights framework.
The team and the management should find answers to the questions above and establish the necessary setup. Then start collecting data from multiple sources. Store, clean, and process this data to derive insights. Use the insights to develop the strategy and improve customer satisfaction. Remember that if the data you collect is not high-quality, the results will also be the same.
2. Understand the tools: The manual analysis takes too much time and effort. It is also riskier and has higher chances of errors. Artificial intelligence-based tools deliver faster and accurate results. However, you need to be sure that your employees can use the tools effectively and get maximum output.
The customer insight strategy template should include details about the tools, techniques, processes, and people involved in developing customer insight strategy. Adopting new technology will bring cultural changes to the enterprise. You and your employees need to be prepared to accept the changes and adapt to them.
3. Build the customer journey map: Create a customer journey map, right from the initial contact to post-purchase. It is the process of documenting a customer’s journey that shapes their influences and experiences with the brand. Naturally, the template for the map changes from one industry to another and from one business to another. AI solutions are used to collect data and analyze it to understand if the final result is customer satisfaction or dissatisfaction.
While some companies focus on emotions, some use shopping experience as a parameter. The journey map can be a graph, a flowchart, or an infographic.
4. Optimize social listening: AI strategy consulting services help optimize social listening to help brands have a firm grasp of the situation. The market trends are constantly changing, and it’s very difficult for brands to track the changing preferences of customers.
Social media data provides clues to the coming changes, but only if you gather and analyze the data in time. Artificial intelligence makes it possible to speed up the process and get insights in a quick time. You’ll have the advantage of identifying the trends in advance and be prepared to make the most of the opportunities.
5. Aligning campaigns with long-term and short-term goals: Customer loyalty, customer retention, and customer acquisition are all important for your business. AI helps you use customer insight strategy to achieve your short-term and long-term goals. This is done by carefully creating marketing strategies and campaigns that align with the goals.
For example, if your target audience wants a particular color/ size of a product, launching that variant into the market will ensure that you retain existing customers and acquire new ones. This will also increase sales and returns.
6. Investing in predictive analytics: While we cannot entirely brush away the gut feeling, you don’t have to rely only on instinct to make a business decision. AI and ML solutions have been helping enterprises adopt the data-driven model to make faster and better decisions based on real-time insights.
Predictive analytics provides actionable customer insights that can be used for product/ service personalization, creating special offers for targeted customer segments, and being one step ahead of competitors. Historical and real-time data is used to trace patterns and predict customer behavior.
7. Developing a customer feedback loop: The more you understand your customers, the higher the chances to keep them happy with the business. Develop a customer feedback loop through focus groups, one-to-one interviews, surveys, and product reviews.
Use artificial intelligence to collect this data in one place and process it to make the necessary changes immediately. What previously took weeks, months, even years can now be processed in days. The sooner you implement customer feedback and show it to them, the better will be the retention rate.
8. Customized customer insight platform: If you want AI to effectively improve your customer insight strategy, you’ll need an experienced team to build a model based on your business requirements. Though you can buy off-the-shelf customer insight platforms (already built), a customized version will deliver accurate insights as it has been built exclusively for your business.
AI is changing the way brands look at customer insights. It has become compulsory to develop a customer insight strategy, and using artificial intelligence consulting services will streamline the process to deliver better results.
Using advanced tools is a must if you want to fight your competitors and become an industry leader. AI helps you achieve your goals through a systematic process. It brings new methods of data analytics into the forefront and increases productivity, improves sales, and enhances customer satisfaction.