Sometimes the biggest challenge with customer insight is not doing the research, but doing something with it.

You start with determination to put the customer at the centre of decisions. You carefully design a robust survey. You intelligently analyse the findings to get to the heart of the issue. Then…

Well, nothing.

The research becomes an academic exercise rather than a catalyst spurring action.

So, how can we ensure that insight always leads to action?

Here are five tips.

Be inclusive

Involve those who need to make, approve or execute decisions at the start rather than end of the process. This means that the research will provide the information they most need and test any ‘pet theories’. Importantly, by consulting them they’re more likely to put their weight behind the end result.

Be thorough

Ensure the approach can withstand scrutiny. If the findings lack credibility, nothing you do will cause them be accepted. Quite rightly too.

Be persuasive

Research findings are often dry and inaccessible, but shouldn’t be. At the core is a
fascinating story. So think of yourself as a playwright and tell that story well.

Have a beginning, middle and end – share the most important research findings but only to support the clear business recommendations made in the ‘final scene’.

Have a cast of memorable characters – include video vox pops from customers and case studies which emphasise this is not abstract or theoretical but reality.

Apply lashings of creativity to make the findings accessible and memorable, e.g. use physical props to communicate key messages (see right – a dairy farmer making a point about how little of the retail price from a carton of milk is shared with him).

Provide a holistic view. Couple research findings with other internal or external information needed to make a fully informed decision, e.g. sales trend data, macro-economic data, industry analyst opinion. This will expedite the recipient’s thought process.

Be there for the long-haul

Act as or appoint a champion – someone who represents the ‘voice of the customer’ and reminds colleagues of the insight until it’s acted upon.