Customer Intelligence: What It Is and Why It's Important
Want to get customer insights that can positively influence your business decisions? Then customer intelligence is what you’ll need.
In an era where customers know exactly what they want, customer intelligence has never been more important to your decision-making process. In this article, you will find out about customer intelligence and why you should integrate it into your business processes.
What Is Customer Intelligence?
Simply put, customer intelligence is the gathering and analyzing of customer data. It helps you get to know more about your customers’ actions regarding your business. You have to do this in a fast and efficient way because your competition is also trying to get an edge in the market.
How Customer Intelligence Can Help Your Business
Customer intelligence is less about the information that you obtain and more about the way you analyze and use this information to better serve your target market. While collecting customer intelligence, you will gather plenty of data. Unless you analyze it properly, gain useful insights and make great business decisions, it is pretty useless.
Done well, customer intelligence enables you to have your finger on the pulse of your target market. In this position, you are able to make the best business decisions to ensure that your organization meets all the needs that your customers have or are likely to have in the future. At the end of it all, you achieve quantifiable results that you can directly tie to the decisions driven by the insight obtained from the customer intelligence.
Why Customer Intelligence Is Important
Customer intelligence will do your business plenty of good, endearing you to your customers. It puts your business in the shoes of the customer, enabling you to see and feel what is expected from you as an organization. Obtaining this perspective and using it to your advantage will put your business head and shoulders above the competition.
5 Reasons to Start Using Customer Intelligence
Up until this point, we’ve been talking up the importance of using customer intelligence. But why exactly should you integrate it into your business process? Here is a handful of reasons you should seriously consider adopting customer intelligence in your organization.
1. Foster Loyalty Between Customers and Your Business
Back in the day, painting a comprehensive picture of your customer base was a process that took ages. By the time you identified and attempted to address their gripes about your business, they had moved on to a competitor who could address it. Newer methods of gathering customer intelligence mean you can get to know what your customers require in real time and address it as soon as possible.
Customers will stay loyal to your brand when you always cater to their needs and assuage any worries that crop up during their purchasing journey. It is, therefore, vital that you always know what they need and fill this need as soon as possible – before the competition takes advantage. Take for instance Asics. This global sports brand partnered with Dutch creative insight and innovation agency Beautiful Lives in order to design better products backed by customer insight.
Beautiful Lives created a community for Asics on CMNTY platform. They then forwarded the suggestions from the interactions with the members. Asics factored these into their innovations and sent back the prototypes to get more input from the community and refine its designs. With this kind of relationship, you customers feel attached to the brand because they know you value their input.
2. Monitor Changes in the Market as They Happen
Customer intelligence provides you with a constant stream of information about your customers and the industry at large. This means you are up-to-date with the goings-on at every level of your target market. This real-time customer intelligence provides you with insights that you can use to make quick decisions.
Utilizing online communities on a platform like CMNTY enables you to always be in the know regarding your customers. In the more competitive markets, this can be the difference between edging forward or falling behind your competition. Take a look at this statistic, for example. It shows how customers can quickly change their allegiance if they deem that their needs are not being met.
Find more statistics at Statista
3. Improve Sales Efficiency
Success lies in the number of customers who come back to do repeat business with your company. This means that you should not be contented with a large number of customers who buy once and then go elsewhere. You need to make sure that you capture as many of these customers so that they can offer you repeat business. This is where customer intelligence comes in handy.
Customer intelligence enables you to monitor your customer journey and identify the areas that you can make more efficient so that your buyers have the best experience when doing business with you. If they go through this smoothly, they are more likely to return and become loyal to the brand.
Related Post: Brand Research Software Helps Companies Understand Their Customers: Here’s How
4. Customer Intelligence Adds Agility to Your Strategy
You might be employing a number of strategies to drive traffic to your store (online or offline) so that you can improve your sales. This creates a situation where you are expending a lot of time and resources. Some of them redundant on achieving the same goal.
Looking at it from afar, it seems like your strategies are working. However, if you surgically analyze the situation, you will find that only a couple of the strategies are actually making a sizable difference.
Customer intelligence enables you to get insights into which strategy makes a bigger impact with your customers. You can then direct the rest of the resources and energy to other areas of your business. Like coming up with a better customer retention strategy or efficient workflow in the organization.
Related Post: How to Develop a Customer Insight Strategy
5. Customer Intelligence Helps You Be More Relatable to Your Customer Base
With customer intelligence, you are able to know what the customers prefer. By taking in these preferences, you are able to craft a persona that your target market can relate to. The more they can relate to you, the more likely they are to choose your business over that of your competitors. In this article in Inc., Molly St. Louis offers a few tips that you can use to make yourself more relatable to your potential customers.
Benefits of Using Customer Intelligence Platforms
In the past, companies – especially larger organizations with bigger budgets – have relied on lengthy market research process in order to get any customer intelligence to inform their decisions. However, the advent of more cost-effective customer insight technology enables even the smaller companies to partake in insight gathering through customer intelligence platforms.
These platforms offer a number of advantages. Let’s take a look at a few of these now.
1. Building Relationships With Your Customers
On these intelligence platforms, you create an online community comprising some of your customers. Through this constant interaction in your bid to gain insights and better your business decisions, you foster a better relationship with your customers. This relationship can lead to brand loyalty. These loyalists then become ambassadors for your brand, drawing in more customers.
2. Deeper Understanding Through Analytics
Many of the customer intelligence platforms have the ability to capture customer data from various points along their journey. But, they also go a step further and analyze this data so that you can get a more complete picture. You can then get better insights to inform the decisions you make for your business.
3. Social Connection With Customers
In the social media era, it has become standard for these platforms to enable your customers to sign in through their preferred social networks. This makes it very convenient for the customer. For you, this means that your customer can reach you at any time and vice versa. You can easily let them know of upcoming products so that you can get their opinions. Ultimately, through social interactions, your brand stays in the mind of the consumer. We went in depth about the benefits of these platforms in this article here.
Customer Intelligence Examples
Here are some companies that have successfully used customer intelligence to improve their performance and connection with their customers.
Blauw Research used to do a lot of surveys and focus groups to provide market research for their clients. However, this always left out some aspects and the insights were not as complete as they wanted. To get more insights, they needed their researches to ask questions in a fluid manner. They also wanted to be able to use multimedia so that the participants were more engaged. They opted for CMNTY platform.
The result was that the community members felt more invested in their contributions. And the companies (Blauw’s clients) forged a closer relationship with their customers. Blauw also gets better insights and is able to advise its clients accordingly.
Ipsos Belgium is a leading market research firm, making their name in the industry by getting insights through discussions on bulletin boards. However, they noticed that the technological wave might sweep them away if they did not find a more advanced way to get more insights. They chose to work with CMNTY to set up pop-up online communities.
With these communities, they are able to get more engagement from the members through gamification. They can cover a larger geographical area and flexibly alter the discussions. So, the engagement levels skyrocketed. Even when the discussion was about intimate topics.
Related Post: CMNTY Is A Powerful Alternative to Vision Critical Customer Intelligence Software. Here’s Why.
Where To Next?
If you are looking to gain an edge on your competition, you should seriously consider using customer intelligence to inform your business decisions. The insights you gain from analyzing this intelligence will increase brand loyalty. It will also increase your sales and make your business ready to address any changes that occur in the industry.
Get started by developing your customer insights strategy and setting up your customer insights platform to gather intelligence. You can trial CMNTY’s award-winning platform for free for 14 days.