When you examine industry-leading companies, you notice that each has their own recipe for success. But if there’s one thing that is critical to all, it is knowing and understanding your customers’ needs, wants, and expectations.
According to Experian’s 2016 Digital Marketer Report, 38 percent of companies cite “knowing their customers” as their top challenge, and 52 percent said “enhancing their customer knowledge” was one of their top three priorities. With the same report showing that businesses are relying on customer insights to improve their performance, it’s time to improve your customer insights strategy with knowledge sharing. We’ve got a four-step process to help you maintain a competitive edge.
Step One: Implement An Intuitive Knowledge Sharing Platform
A new and improved customer insights strategy will mean a new bombardment of company knowledge. You’ll need effective management and a plan to utilize and interact with all this information. Because you are implementing a new strategy, it’s important that your knowledge sharing platform is intuitive. New users should see success the first time they log in — too many barriers to entry will stop your team from getting the full benefit of the platform.
Implement a knowledge sharing platform that is not only easy to use but also gives your team access to everything they need with a simple search. If they have questions or are looking for a specific customer insight report, your team will need and want that information immediately. If they can’t find it on the first search, they won’t try again. And if your team isn’t interacting and using the knowledge that is being collected and shared, your customer insights strategy will not improve your organization’s understanding of your customers.
Step Two: Ensure Strategic Alignment
The primary goal of your customer insights strategy is to guide the decision-making process company-wide. Customer insights are about more than just informing marketing strategies — this information should shape the “Why?” across all departments. There are likely marketing strategies, sales processes, and other action plans already in place, so ensuring strategic alignment throughout the organization should be the first priority when creating your new customer insights strategy.
By implementing a knowledge sharing software, your customer insights information can be accessed by all stakeholders, allowing all departments to understand the research and make informed decisions.
Step Three: Measure Operational Effectiveness
While the use of customer insights software and the development of complete customer insights strategies has been a growing trend for the past few years, it still might be difficult to determine exactly what the customer insights best practices are for your industry. However, by examining how (or if) you are already collecting and using customer insights, and by examining how industry leaders are doing the same, you can make general assumptions about what works and what doesn’t.
Accompany your best practice model with a gap analysis, examining your current customer insights practices with what you have determined to be best practice, and make this document accessible to all in your knowledge sharing platform. Because this gap analysis will inform how you gather, use, and analyze customer insights, all essential personnel must be able to access this information at any time.
Step Four: Focus On Leadership
Too often, strategy documents are created but then no one uses them. Teams already have systems and processes in place that they feel are already working. To deliver priorities and implement your customer insights strategy, develop a change management strategy, and start with people in leadership roles.
Communicating new strategies is only part of the equation: a company culture that embraces new strategies is where success lies.
Ensure your leadership team is on board with the new strategy and can communicate a clear vision. Implement any new processes immediately to encourage the rest of the team, and cultivate a culture that is curious and data-driven in their decision making. Beyond that, be sure your leaders are listening to those completing the work, recognizing their concerns, and rewarding behaviors as they embrace your new customer insights strategy.
With the growing appreciation and necessity of customer insights to inform decision-making at all organization levels, companies are collecting data and information at a breakneck speed. With data piling up as quickly as it is, knowledge sharing software will ensure that the information is curated, distributed and used appropriately and consistently.