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Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Building Customer Insight Capability

Most businesses want to improve the insight they have regarding the behaviours and attitudes of their customers - they want to know what their customers are doing and why are they doing it. 

However, very few companies are able do this well as a recent survey from BCG illustrates : 

800 managers from 40 companies were interviewed – all with revenues greater than $1.5 bn  - many with revenues greater than $10bn – drawn from a range of business sectors including retail, travel, financial services, technology, telco and consumer goods.  The interviewees were drawn more or less 50/50 from line managers and those within the consumer insight function.

There was widespread agreement – 74% - that building insight capability is important, but interestingly, very few companies, less than 40%, thought that they were doing a very good job – and remember 50% of those polled were responsible for customer insight 

Line managers believed that the problem was the insight team, and, you've guessed it, the insight team believed that the problem was line management

The key challenge, one that I have seen at first hand on many occasions, is that there is a breakdown in the connectivity between the insight team and the line. Sometimes it’s a strategic misalignment, sometimes its about process and expectations, sometimes it’s about the people and sometimes the tools or data itself. 

Building the necessary capability to get this right can be a major source of competitive advantage. I have worked with many companies to help them create insight from their customer data. One company stands above all others in their ability to do this well, and that's Tesco.   

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