To provide a research basis for the content included in this blog, I am asking all customer insight leaders who visit this site to complete the short survey below. Knowing the scope of your roles and your views as to the true breadth of ‘customer insight’ will enable me to ensure that I balance the content published here to better suit your interests.
I will of course share the results, which will hopefully be of interest to you all.
So, if you are a customer insight leader, please complete this survey:
If you watch the actions and listen to the language used by most CEOs, especially where they choose to focus their time, you can often guess their background. What I mean is their functional leadership background, whether that be finance, marketing, operations, sales, etc. This, of course, is only natural and probably reveals their area of greatest interest or where they feel most comfortable. As a leader we can all have the tendency to spend a little too much time in our comfort zone or pet projects.
This got me to thinking, does such a bias affect customer insight leaders? Do leaders with a background in IT, Data or MI lead their whole team differently than those with Analytical backgrounds in Finance or Research or Marketing backgrounds? It is an interesting question and a potential blind spot for leaders.
So, I thought I’d start by gathering some data through a quick poll. Apologies if the categories don’t work for you first time, I’ll refresh this as I get more qualitative feedback…
Whilst leading the largest customer insight function amongst UK insurers, I was struck how poorly served CI leaders are; in terms of coaching or consultancy support. Compared to my peers in Marketing or Operations, this looks like a real gap in the market.
Sure, there was technical training for members of an insight team; be that in analytical software, SQL coding, statistics, data management or research methods. Plus, yes, there is a wealth of general management or leadership support available; from softer skills training courses to executive coaching at the other end of the spectrum. However, the gap I’m referring to is the “filling in that sandwich”. The art and science to effectively use the range of technical insight skills in concert and in a way that drives action (to both improve customer experience & to make money).
So, why the gap? Well, as far as I can tell the audience is not well understood. There does not appear to be an agreed common definition of Customer Insight; for example some companies use this term to refer to research, some to analysis and few to the combination. But I wonder if it is also because it is only fairly recently that customer insight leaders have risen to greater seniority and influence within companies. Few of this brave band have since moved on to consultancy and training, so a practitioners perspective is rarely available as an offering.
I’d be interested in hearing existing customer insight leaders thoughts on this: