improve customer service 

When You’re Data Rich, But Insight Poor

Discovering the insights you need to drive meaningful change.

by Emily Cox

Everywhere you look these days, someone is talking about the importance of big data. The world’s largest and most successful companies are gathering and using it, and the rest of us are scrambling trying to figure out how to emulate their examples. We’re supposed to be monitoring every action, gaining crystal-clear understanding, and making game-changing updates on a rolling basis, right?

What's driving your customers' behavior?

Don’t get me wrong—big data is a wonderful thing and it can be extraordinarily useful. Most companies we work with do have an abundance of data about their customers’ behavior over time. But, the truth is, for all the customer data available, what most companies still don’t know is what factors are driving behavior in the first place.

"We are data rich, but insight poor."

If this is you, you’re not alone. This is a common lament among even our most successful clients. But you’re also not in a great position to be helping your company adopt a customer experience focus or take meaningful strides toward an ideal future state. If you don’t know what’s driving behavior, it’s really hard to make actionable recommendations that get the thumbs up to move forward. Understanding the drivers behind behavior, and making decisions that change that behavior in a positive way, are only possible through gaining a multi-dimensional understanding of your customers as real people.

It's not always "all in the data."

The common rhetoric around big data would lead one to believe “it’s all in the data,” but that’s simply not the case—especially if you’re not seamlessly tracking all customer experiences and transactions over millions or billions of customers like, say, Amazon and Google are. And that’s ok. There are other (and sometimes even better) ways of getting to the customer insights you need to drive meaningful change. 

Checklist for understanding your customers

At SingleStone we’ve identified three major gaps that are common among companies trying to move their CX to the next level. For a look at all three gaps, click here. But the first and most foundational of these gaps is gaining a holistic view of your customers.  

To help our clients jump this gap and gain a new level of CX competency, we’ve developed a Customer Research Checklist. The process aims to help our clients understand customers on a deeper level, identify moments that matter, develop new products and experiences from a state of empathy, and affect behavior in ways that benefit both customers and the bottom line. 

Here’s a brief run-down of the checklist:

Head - What is your customer thinking? How do they make decisions about your product or service?

Words - What are they saying about you, your product, your service? Who is listening to them?

Heart - What is your customer feeling? What are their needs, desires, and emotions?

Connections - What are their networks? Where do they receive and give advice? What about referrals?

Hands - What actions are they taking in the situation or environment? What is their level of effort?

Wallet - How does your customer feel about money? What value does your product or service carry?

Environment - Where do they live and work? What market trends matter to them? How does your product fit into their current environment? 

Take a holistic approach

Often, companies stop at checking off one or two of the items on this list, but this limited approach misses delivering a picture of your customers as real people, limits the depth of your understanding, and runs the risk of skewing your action steps in a direction that doesn’t solve underlying issues. All aspects listed above must be addressed to make informed decisions that take the full customer, and the full picture of your organization, into account. 

For a more detailed checklist, including research types and tools that map to each checklist item, click here. To talk with us about our customer research and CX approach, or how we can work with you to craft a customer research program that fits your needs and helps to take your CX to the next level, please reach out to us. We are ready to help you move past data overwhelm and into understanding and action.     


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Emily Cox
Senior Consultant
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