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The ability to capture and act on consumer insights (CI) — often defined as an interpretation of trends in human behaviors — can equip companies with the information they need to foster customer loyalty, deliver better customer experiences, and drive improved business results.
The increased focus on CI has led to the rise of customer insight and action platforms (CIA platforms), which can be described as:
…Technology for automating multi-channel customer feedback, analysis, and response and the related workflow associated with closed-loop voice of the customer programs.
What does this mean, exactly?
Typically in the form of software, customer insight and action platforms help you understand more completely and accurately how customers feel and think, what they need and care about, and how they make purchase decisions.
CIA platforms help organizations by revealing why customers behave in certain ways — through a deeper understanding of underlying mindsets, moods, sentiment, motivations, desires, and aspirations.
How Customer Insight and Action Platforms Work
CIA platforms gather insights and detect and interpret customer trends by digging into multiple sources of customer data. Traditionally, these included customer surveys, focus group discussions, and other sources of structured, solicited feedback.
Increasingly, with the growth and maturation of tools like text analytics and sentiment analysis, along with the rise of online reviews and social media, the scope of customer insight and action platforms has expanded to include new channels.
Now, CIA platforms can also detect and interpret customer trends by digging into:
- Online reviews
- Social media comments
- Online chats and messages
- User-generated content
- Sales and engagement data
- Call center notes, phones calls, and e-mails
- Customer roundtables and interviews
- Voice of the Customer data
- Customer feedback
- Other non-feedback data types such as customer profiles and transactional history
Customer Insights and Action Platforms: What to Look For
If you’re looking to give your Voice of the Customer program a makeover, here are some characteristics we recommend you look for in a customer insight and action platform:
It should provide smart analytics and actionable insights. Data is not the end game; consumer insights are, since this is what it will take to improve high-impact decisions across your organization. The CIA platform should also be set up in a way that it’s able to distribute tailored, actionable, and contextual insights across the organization.
It’s not reliant on surveys. Companies have traditionally used surveys as one of the main methods for capturing feedback and Voice-of-the-Customer data. But customer insights and action platforms should also be able to source and integrate data from other channels, taking into account not only what each individual customer says, but also what trends and patterns can be surfaced from the data across entire segments of customers.
It helps close the feedback loop. Your CIA platform should be able to help you increase retention and reduce churn. This means providing access to tools and features you need to complete a personal follow-up with each customer and “close the loop” on each piece of customer feedback.
Advances in data mining, as well as the rise of social media, online reviews, and digital channels, mean that organizations now have access to more information than ever about customers’ transactions, activities, interests, mindsets, and decisions. Employed holistically, customer insight and action platforms can help you manage this data, so that you can achieve a more comprehensive picture of the customer across every part of their journey.