What are customer insights (and how to leverage them)

Customer insights give you data-driven tools to streamline your customer journey and boost loyalty. Here’s how you can use them to help grow your business.

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Customer insights help you spot operational details you might’ve missed that are hurting customer retention. With this data, you can find out why sales are down for a particular product, how likely you are to succeed in a new target market, and how your brand is perceived by your audience.

By leveraging customer insights, you’ll streamline the customer journey, give prospective users more reasons to return to your site and purchase from you again. It also gives you insight into how you can improve different aspects of your business operations – from your market campaigns to your product development.

What are customer insights?

Customer insights is a collation of the data you’ve collected and analysed to understand what consumers feel and think about your products and service. These insights can be drawn from direct customer feedback, or the way your customers behave, such as the time spent on your website and the most common conversion paths.

More than just understanding preferences, customer insights delve into what drives consumer behaviour. They can give you all the tools you need to make data-driven business decisions that can fuel growth.

Customer insights can highlight ways to improve the customer journey, from a first encounter with your marketing campaigns to a post-purchase follow-up email. When leveraged correctly, customer insights can transform customers who see you as an option into returning clients whose values resonate with your brand.

The different types of customer insights

To leverage the true potential of customer insights, you need to understand what characteristics define your customer base. Here are the four categories that will help you uncover these nuances:

Demographic insights

This foundational layer of customer insights focuses on the “who” – the basic demographics. It can include:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Socioeconomic status

These kinds of insights provide a broad understanding of your customer base. This information is the cornerstone for tailoring products, services, and marketing strategies to resonate with specific segments of your audience.

Psychographic insights

This category looks closely at the “why” of customer behaviour, focusing on:

  • Interests
  • Hobbies
  • Lifestyle choices

Understanding what drives your customers on a personal level will allow you to align your offerings to the values of your customers.

Behavioural insights

This category focuses on what your customers do when they engage with your brand. They can analyse:

  • Purchase history
  • Online behaviour (such as pages browsed)
  • Reviews they have left

These insights help uncover patterns and trends that provide a deep understanding of how customers interact with your products and services.

Technological insights

These will answer the “where” of your customers, in terms of where they take up digital space. These might include:

  • The device used to access your site (a mobile phone, laptop, or tablet)
  • Which web browser is used
  • Referral path (did they come to you from a social media channel, a direct email, or Google search, for instance)

Through technological insights, you can figure out where your customers prefer to communicate and their device usage trends.

The benefits of customer insights

Using your data-driven customer insights can be a great way of knowing where you should direct your business. Here are some other benefits to consider:

1. Elevating the customer experience: from the first spark of awareness to the zenith of advocacy, customer insights provide a comprehensive roadmap of customer journeys. Recognizing pain points and what drives customers to the competition will give your prospective clients more reason to return. For instance, you might notice you have a lot of abandoned carts because you can only check out by creating an account – try offering a guest checkout instead.

2. Fueling innovation in products and services: by understanding how consumers perceive products and services, you can glean invaluable information to enhance your business’s offerings. For instance, you might notice customers complaining about the same pain points on customer review platforms like Capterra. This can help guide the development of your business while showing your customers that you listen to their complaints.

3. Precision in personalization for target markets: personalisation is key and customer insights can help you discern consumer preferences. This will enable you to tailor your marketing strategies for specific segments of your target audience. A nuanced approach can amplify the impact of your marketing efforts and helps solidify your brand's presence.

4. Nurturing long-term customer relationships: being attuned to customer needs fosters loyalty. By proactively adapting to what your insights reveal about your operations, you demonstrate your commitment to customer satisfaction. This will help keep your customers engaged and lay the foundation for enduring relationships, contributing to sustained business success.

How to collect and analyse customer insights

There are a number of different ways to collect customer insights. Ideally, you’d use a diverse range of channels to source this data for a better view of what your clients want and need. Here’s how to do it:

  • Customer surveys and feedback → to gain direct visibility into micro-experiences and satisfaction levels, employ closed and open-ended questions. Segmentation is key – categorise survey campaigns by customer type, such as loyal patrons, referrals, or inactive users. Implement feedback widgets strategically along the customer journey to capture real-time sentiments and enhance engagement. You can also do deep dive surveys to understand customer profiles, or send simpler Net Promoter Score (NPS) or Voice of Customer (VoC) data feedback requests to understand satisfaction levels.
  • Social media monitoring → actively engage in customer conversations, identifying trends and sentiments. Tools like Hootsuite or Brandwatch let you monitor mentions of your brand and gauge social metrics like engagement rate, impressions, and response rates. Understanding the language customers use on these platforms provides a holistic view of your product's perception and its trending status.
  • Online reviews → these give you direct insights into how your customers feel about your product. As a small business, you can look at reviews of your products on Google, Yelp or Facebook, and spot trends in the observations customers make.
  • Website analytics → Google Analytics is a powerhouse for tracking metrics and trends. Dive deep into conversion rates, time on page, and pages per session to identify high-performing web pages. Hotjar Heatmaps offers visual insights into customer behaviour, revealing interactions with CTAs and potential distractions. Google Search Console complements by providing performance metrics and insights to optimise website rankings on search engines.

Common challenges in leveraging customer insights

Although customer insights are invaluable when optimising your outreach strategy and growing your business, they do come attached to some challenges. Here are some to look out for:

  • Data privacy considerations → ensuring lawful processing and storage of customer data is non-negotiable if you want to safeguard your business’s reputation. Seeking explicit consent, informing customers of the purpose and scope of data collection, and providing opt-out options are crucial steps. Transparency and respect for privacy builds trust, which is often synonymous with customer loyalty.
  • Ensuring data accuracy and reliability → poor data quality can lead to misleading conclusions, impairing decision-making. To counter this, aim to rely on diverse data sources such as surveys, interviews, focus groups, social media, and web analytics. By cross-verifying information, your business can enhance the accuracy and reliability of its insights, laying a solid foundation for informed strategies.
  • Overcoming resistance to change within the organisation → implementing insight-driven strategies requires organisational shifts. Departments may need to recalibrate processes, like the marketing team personalising campaigns based on insights. Fostering a culture that values and embraces change, coupled with clear communication about the benefits of insights, can help mitigate internal resistance.

Conclusion

Keeping your customers engaged is more complicated than simply having a great product to sell.

You need to understand what drives customer behaviour and how you can make things as easy as possible on a client’s journey to the purchase button.

This is why customer insights are indispensable. They can be a hugely valuable stream of data about the customers you already have, helping you to better serve them while building long-term brand affinity. Plus, they can help you to draw in new prospective users based on the trends you’re spotting about your existing customers.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • How do you identify customer insights?
    Identify customer insights through effective survey design, encouraging feedback, social media monitoring for trends and sentiments, analysing online reviews, and utilising website analytics tools to track user behaviour and metrics. Segmentation, engagement, and strategic listening across these channels offers a comprehensive understanding of customer preferences and experiences.
  • What makes a good customer insight?
    A good customer insight will be actionable. It should reveal specific, relevant, or previously unknown information about customer behaviour or preferences. These kinds of insights can guide strategic decisions, foster positive customer experiences, and drive business growth.
  • How do you create customer insights?
    You can create customer insights by conducting effective surveys with well-crafted questions, actively monitoring social media for trends, analysing online reviews, and leveraging website analytics. The key is strategic data collection and interpretation to understand customer behaviour and preferences, informing informed decision-making.
Written by:
Fernanda is a Mexican-born Startups Writer. Specialising in the Marketing & Finding Customers pillar, she’s always on the lookout for how startups can leverage tools, software, and insights to help solidify their brand, retain clients, and find new areas for growth. Having grown up in Mexico City and Abu Dhabi, Fernanda is passionate about how businesses can adapt to new challenges in different economic environments to grow and find creative ways to engage with new and existing customers. With a background in journalism, politics, and international relations, Fernanda has written for a multitude of online magazines about topics ranging from Latin American politics to how businesses can retain staff during a recession. She is currently strengthening her journalistic muscle by studying for a part-time multimedia journalism degree from the National Council of Training for Journalists (NCTJ).

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