Chances are high that your company is already doing a pretty good job of collecting data - gathering customer feedback through CSAT and NPS surveys, tracking subscriptions and renewals through your CRM, and following engagement rates via web analytics tools. And maybe you’ve been doing more than just collecting that data, too! You’ve been organizing it, filtering it, mining it, looking for that metaphorical fleck of gold at the bottom of the pan: an actionable insight. With all of that work, it probably seems reasonable that critical points of information with detailed information on customer behavior are just a click away at any time.

And sure enough, when you first begin to review findings from your data, it’s easy to think you’ve hit the jackpot right away. That is until you realize that your analysis is merely skimming the surface and not delivering anything useful for informed decision-making. Customer behavior and brand relationships are more complex today than ever, and finding clear, impactful, actionable insights to grow your business requires a deeper strategy.

Defining actionable insights

Actionable insights are the end goal of data analytics - a constellation of data points that correlate in a statistically and contextually significant way.

Another way of thinking about actionable insights is to consider how they show the relationship between a specific part of your business and a specific segment of your customers, in a way that can be leveraged to drive change and grow your business.

Surface-level quantifiable metrics like CSAT scores are often labeled as “insights” on their own, even though they just represent simple data points without actionable levers. Managers need in-depth information that demonstrates a strong cause-effect correlation between data points to take action - basic scores or averaged metrics lack specificity, context and the financial evidence necessary for action plans.

Let’s take a quick example. Say you’ve spent the last quarter gathering feedback via an NPS campaign and are reporting that your customer satisfaction has risen, your overall score has moved up by 5 points and your percentage of Promoters has increased. Congratulations!

However, without context to explain why your customers are more satisfied, let alone what changes you made to improve, that NPS report doesn’t offer anything you can take action on. For example;

  • Would investing more engineering time in the mobile experience improve your NPS?
  • Does the speed of customer service positively or negatively impact NPS?
  • What would the return on investment be from adding a new feature?

The point is, nothing in this analysis tells you what you need to do to keep customers satisfied - it simply doesn’t translate into actionable feedback that can drive change at the bottom line.

Identify actionable insights by digging deeper

Instead of focussing on the averages, you need to turn your data into actionable insights by going below the surface to identify the context around feedback and trends. Then, apply even deeper analysis to locate the information that connects that context with your desired business impact.

Keep in mind - you’re not looking for new data, just developing a strategy for digging further into the data set you already have to uncover actionable insights.

To make the most of the data you’re gathering, it helps to leverage a fully integrated process to limit information siloing and maximize data comparison. The good news is that you don’t need to hire a team of data scientists to do this - just develop a strategy and pair it with a killer analysis tool to make the most of your CSAT and NPS campaigns.

As you start digging beneath the surface of that initial CSAT or NPS score, map out a few questions to help guide you. A few points to get you started:

First - What is motivating the positive trend? Is there a specific element of the customer’s experience, a feature set on the product, or other similar factors that can be identified?

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