When it comes to customer insight, we’ve come a long way in the sports and fitness industry. There is a growing awareness of the definition and importance of insight. Many organisations now have a dedicated insight role, some even have a team. There’s a growing desire to make evidence-based decisions. The open-data movement is strengthening by the day. So why do we need to rethink customer insight?
Just like the athletes at the winter olympics, we need to keep searching for improvements. Sometimes snowboarders can improve their scores by perfecting a current trick. But there comes a point where winning a medal requires a new routine. Even two-time champion Sean White needed something new to win gold last week. He did it by landing a combination he hadn’t managed before, not even in training!
It’s time to rethink customer insight
Our collective approach to customer insight is at a similar crossroads. What got us here, won’t get us to the next level. It’s time to learn new tricks that until now weren’t possible. As a sector we have a good understanding of existing participants. Segmentation models tell us about ‘people like them’. Quantitative data from CRM systems tell us what people do and how often they visit. But this data won’t tell us how to reach, engage or retain more inactive people. It won’t tell us why so many people see our posters but never register to take part. It won’t tell us why so many gym members churn.
Turn data into faster, more informed decisions
To get more inactive people involved in physical activity we need a new approach. One that emphasises the ‘outside-in’ perspective that current and potential customers provide. At the recent Future of Sport Conference, I presented a seminar entitled ‘rethink customer insight to drive participation growth‘. During the session we talked about a 6-step insight cycle. The organisations I see succeeding, are the ones that do all six steps well:
Collect – capture complete, accurate & unbiased data from many sources. This includes capturing the real voice of real customers. Using natural language questions not just multiple-choice.
Analyse – Combine and analyse data to identify the main themes and trends. For natural language feedback, this means tagging comments with the relevant stage of the customer journey.
Interpret – Use the expertise of staff, managers and partners to reveal your ‘so what’. The same feedback will trigger different responses in different circumstances.
Visualise – Summarise the key insights in a simple/visual format. This could be a 1-page template, or a creative infographic. The important thing is to help everyone see the customer from the same perspective.
Share – Provide all decision-makers with the same insights and customer understanding. If everyone is on the same page, the decision-making process becomes much easier.
Decide – The goal is to have current and relevant insights, shared by all decision-makers. Decisions become easy to make and easy to explain. When the insights are also shared with those taking action, decisions become faster to execute too.
I’ll come back to each of these steps in future articles. For now, you can find my slide deck and handouts from the conference here. These include a simple checklist you can download, print and use in your team meetings now.
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