A practical guide to creating useful customer insight

2018-05-10 |  Ben Donaghue

The key to a successful customer experience transformation is knowing where and how to focus your efforts. Customers interact with many parts of an organisation, and it can be tempting to try and overhaul many of these touchpoints at once. But this can be expensive and complex. The trick instead is to identify the most important ones and focus on improving them first.

Rich customer insight is the main tool you need to do this job. By looking through the eyes of your customers, you can better understand which interactions matter most, how well you’re currently delivering them, and what can be done to improve them. In other words, customer insight will help you clarify and prioritise the changes you need to make.

Best of all, useful insight is fairly straightforward to create. It doesn’t need to be complicated and time consuming. Here are four simple steps you can take:


Most organisations have lots of useful information at their fingertips, but it tends to be scattered about the place and poorly analysed. Start by pulling it together and driving out useful insights. For example, what can complaints tell you about pain points in the customer journey? Does existing research shed light on customers’ priorities? Are there relationships between operational metrics and customer outcomes?


Identify your ‘nerve centres’ for customer contact and go and witness the customer experience first-hand. Watch face-to-face exchanges, listen to calls, and review emails and social media feeds. Measure what you see. Which touchpoints are most in-demand? What are the interaction timeframes and outcomes? How does customer mood change between the beginning and end of contact?


Customer-facing staff are a rich source of insight, so ask them to share their views. This can be as simple an informal conversation whilst you’re observing the front-line, or more structured interviews and focus groups. Which touchpoints are critical to the customer journey? Where are the key pain points? What can be done to improve them? How do we measure up to competitors?


Gather fresh insight on customer needs, expectations and experiences, and ask customers what they want you to do differently. Re-purpose existing surveys or issue new ones, hold in-depth interviews and focus groups, and invite customers to co-creation workshops. The key is to blend quantitative and qualitative data, so you understand the ‘what’ and as well as the ‘why’. How satisfied are customers with their current experience? How easy was it for them to deal with you? Why did they respond in a certain way?

By taking these four simple steps, you can quickly and robustly identify the touchpoints that matter most, gauge what’s working well and what needs to change, and prioritise improvement opportunities. Starting your transformation by enhancing a small set of high-impact interactions will help you get the best return on investment and secure stakeholder buy-in. Rich customer insight is the foundation for achieving this and, luckily, it’s pretty straightforward to create.