In the second instalment in the series, Dennis Gilham discusses improving customer insight and making more effective use of its findings.
Previously we made the argument that customer insight was an essential framework for cutting costs, indeed it’s also true for the creation of any strong business strategy. The logic is straightforward; business strategy is about planning how to deploy the organisation’s resources, knowledge is an essential business resource and customer insight is value centric knowledge.
So customer knowledge that is valuable to an organisation is an insight. You may already be familiar with the framework used to see if a piece of customer knowledge is really valuable to an organisation:
- Does it have the capability to act upon this knowledge?
- Can it use this knowledge to respond to an important business challenge or opportunity?
- Is this knowledge pretty well limited to the organisation?
- Is it difficult or costly for others to follow?
It is surprising how much knowledge already exists embedded within an organisation or is available given the inclination to research and acquire it. For example, data about unmet customers needs, coming from complaints or exploratory conversations with qualified customers to uncover silent needs. Compiling and analysing data from multiple sources to build better customer understanding; given that change in organisational culture may be necessary as well as new tools for sharing knowledge. Building ideas about meaningful customer segments and generating probable new value propositions to evaluate through market concept testing and learning.
Since markets are dynamic with customer needs evolving and changing all the time, the opportunity of gaining new customer insight is considerable although in practice discovering valuable insight to the organisation is hard and is best served by using a structured process for data scanning, analysis and evaluation. However, ad hoc programs using experts to address specific requirements are often worthwhile.
A good starting point is to assess senior managers’ current understanding of their organisation’s business environment. Improved self awareness will help identify the changes needed, in particular becoming more customer orientated, and to appreciate the real strengths and weaknesses upon which to build and benefit.
Next time we look at becoming serious about putting customers at the centre of operations.
In a nutshell
Dennis Gilham: Biography
A Chartered Engineer and Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing with over 30 years experience of delivering customer facing solutions in the postal sector. Dennis has held senior industry roles as Head of Corporate Partnerships, Group Business Line Director, Group Director of Product Marketing and Director of Research & Development. He has built a unique set of skills and knowledge in promoting new solutions for business customers of all sizes in mail, express and parcels.
Having worked with Posts worldwide, contributing to their business development through customer insight, marketing strategy and innovative solutions, Dennis now has the opportunity to help postal management in his capacity as Independent Strategy Advisor.
+44 (0)79 74 97 50 00
Source: Dennis Gilham