Customer insight: what is it and how to get them?

Customer insights | Insights de clientes
Ignasi Fernández 9m of reading

Customer insights are essential to adapt your offer and your service to your customers and place your brand in a position of preference over the competition. Today we tell you what customer insights are and how you can help your organisation become more customer-centric by putting them at the heart of your decision making.

What are customer insights?

Customer insights are discoveries about customer behaviours, needs, preferences and experiences that allow us to take action to grow the business or brand. They are those data that the moment you see them you say «aha, now I understand and this can help us a lot to change the way we offer our products or services to our customers». Customer insights help you make your brand more relevant and your campaigns or media planning more effective, among many other benefits. The best customer insights create greater alignment between teams – CX, marketing, product and many others – to work together behind the same idea of what customers need.

True customer insights have three characteristics:

  • They are based on customer observation. They are not hunches or ideas, but are based on quantitative or qualitative data that explain a customer reality. Without quantitative or qualitative customer data there are no customer insights.
  • They are new findings. Things we didn’t know or hadn’t been able to quantify or demonstrate. And now we have the data that allows us to better understand the reality. By seeing the customer insight, we have had the «aha! moment».
  • They generate an opportunity to improve the business. Customer insights are useful for growth. They are not just something interesting to know and we don’t know what to do with, but they are actionable and can be used to take action to generate a better position in the market.

It is very important to be demanding with these three conditions. Presenting opinions without data, data on well-known realities or discoveries that we cannot influence as customer insights may not create the impact we want.

Owned data sources to create customer insights

Most companies have several data sources that you can use to create customer insights. In many cases you do not need to collect additional data. Among these proprietary data sources are

  • CRM. A CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tool is the central place where all interactions with your organisation’s customers should reside. There you can perform all kinds of segmentations on customer types and cross-reference them by variables of interest such as the products they buy, the frequency of purchase, average ticket and much more. You can perform well-known segmentations such as RFM analysis or create segmentations completely adapted to your category. With the development of CRM solutions, the creation of teams of customer insights and customer analytics experts to better dive into the data and better understand customer behaviour has exploded.
  • Web analytics is another essential source for many businesses, especially those that make a significant portion of their sales through the online channel. Seeing the customer journey to conversion allows you to see where the shopping cart is abandoned and therefore how you can optimise conversion. Small improvements can make the difference to convert more, generate higher frequency or increase the amount of the ticket.
  • Product usage data. Some businesses provide their services through apps or websites where you need to accredit yourself as a user of the service. This is the case of many technology companies, from Salesforce to Wallapop. How many users use a feature, what type of users use a certain native integration, how many users choose postal delivery over personal delivery, and how many users use a particular service, all of which can help you better understand what your customers are looking for. All this data helps to better understand what is most useful for customers and what can still be improved.
  • Formal communication channels. Sometimes customers may use telephone customer services, trouble tickets or support chatbots. Well, all the information from these interactions, properly coded, helps to collect valuable information to create customer insights.
    Public reviews of service and product quality. Online reviews of service quality are essential to identify opportunities for improvement. Reviews on Google,, AirBnB and many other similar platforms are well known. In the B2B world it is possible to find reviews of digital products on websites like Capterra or GetApp among others.

As you can see there are many sources of information at your fingertips that are available to be exploited. With them you can create some valuable customer insights. But whatever data you have from your internal sources, there will always be aspects that are not covered or that require a greater level of depth. And this need is even more evident when you need to collect:

  • Attitudes and opinions: most in-house data sources help explain what customers do. We rarely know why they do it, as this requires them to tell us about their opinions, their expectations or their attitudes. This is something we cannot collect if we simply record their behaviour. If you want to collect such data, you will need to create specific research.
  • Competitors data. Through your own databases or communication channels you can learn about your own customers, but it will be more difficult to know what your competitors’ customers think if you don’t have access to them. Again, you will have to create the appropriate studies to collect comparative information that will allow you to put into context the data you get about your own brand.

As you can see, there are many situations where you will need to organise specific research projects to create your customer insights.

Types of research to create customer insights

Thanks to research you will be able to broaden the scope of your customer insights. You will have a wide range of methodologies at your disposal so that you can choose the one that best helps you to meet your research objectives:

  • Online surveys. They are the easiest way to obtain quantitative data. Nowadays we all answer satisfaction surveys after every touchpoint with the brand, such as after flying, after booking accommodation, after receiving a delivery from your online shop or after interacting with a call centre. These are usually small surveys using NPS or CSAT questionnaires with well-known questions. Other times, brands want to better understand the market in which they operate and collect broader information from customers and non-customers. In these cases, brands often turn to online survey panels that provide access to all types of profiles. These studies can be aimed at gathering information about category customers’ expectations, their opinions about brands, drivers and barriers to engagement and much more. The types of studies are very broad and online surveys are very flexible – as well as fast and inexpensive – to cover most research needs.
  • Qualitative research. Sometimes you want to collect in-depth information about what customers think and think. In these situations qualitative research in the form of focus groups or in-depth interviews will allow you to collect a great deal of detail about what customers think. It is therefore ideal for exploratory research or when you want to go deeper into a topic that has not been fully clarified through a survey. It should be borne in mind that these moderate studies tend to be more costly and are therefore often combined with surveys. This way you can collect quantitative data in some studies and get a higher level of detail with qualitative research when necessary to benefit from the advantages of both methodologies.
  • Insight communities. When you want to do long-term research in an agile and flexible way with customers in your category, it is highly recommended to create a customers community. That way you can discuss everything you want to know whenever you want with the members of the community. From discovering and exploring new trends or getting feedback on new concepts to keeping track of the competition, everything fits in a customer community that you can consult quickly.
  • UX research. UX research focuses on understanding how users interact with a digital product or service to discover how it can be improved to better meet their needs and expectations. There are many UX methodologies that can help you, both through moderated tests such as user interviews and thinking aloud testing and unmoderated tests such as first click testing or UX surveys. With this rich range of methodologies you can collect customer insights about the digital experience of your customers.

As you can see, there are many research methodologies that you can use to create your customer insights and choose the one that best suits each case. Moreover, how to combine them to get a more complete view of your customers is not mutually exclusive but complementary.

Steps to create good customer insights

Obtaining good customer insights requires several steps:

  • Hypothesis formulation. Before collecting data, it is necessary to imagine what information could be useful to take action and that requires the involvement of marketing and customer experience experts to imagine scenarios and possibilities to test.
  • Gathering information. You will need to decide which methodology brings you the most benefits and carry out your research with the right tools. Remember that you can combine methodologies, and that this often gives you a deeper understanding.
  • Creating the insight. A customer insight is much more than a piece of data. It is a story that draws on data to show us new business potential. This is where research and CX experts will provide the most value in turning the research results into the stories and proposals that the steering committee will be interested in hearing and supporting.

Customer insights with We are testers

Gathering the information you need to create your own consumer insights is easy with the right tools. At We are testers we have a versatile research platform so you can combine different methodologies to get a better understanding of your customers. Our tool allows you to create online surveys, qualitative research (such as focus groups or in-depth interviews), customer communities and UX research. In addition, we have a panel of 130,000 consumers and users of whom we know their demographics, their equipment and a lot about their buying behaviour. So we can quickly identify those who are customers of your brand or your competitors. And if you need help choosing the methodology or designing your questionnaires, we have a team of research experts who will be happy to help you. Contact us to find out all the details!

Update date 21 June, 2024

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