There is no denying that customer insight is invaluable. Still, many companies find themselves wondering exactly how targeting insights from their audience and users has an impact on their success.
While we at WeZimplify have learnt that many businesses do not fully comprehend the holistic benefits of adopting a customer experience philosophy until they’ve done so themselves, we want to offer an explanation to those still lacking experience. We want to prove to you that your business is losing out on a huge competitive advantage if you neglect to target customer insights. However, not all companies work with customer insights as a strategic driver.
At WeZimplify, our team gathers and analyses insights to provide companies with a better foundation for decision-making. Thus, we decided to research how and why corporations like LEGO work with customer insights as their main driver for future business offerings. Our intention is to share our discoveries to better illustrate why businesses need to target customer insight and adopt customer experiences as a strategic driver.
Customer insights are critical to the success of your marketing and production. Knowing what your audience wants means knowing what the market lacks, and what you should be offering. This mindset allows your company to supply based on your customers’ demand, and not merely serve what you like producing.
To illustrate the convincing reasons why companies should leverage customer experience as a strategic driver, our founder at WeZimplify interviewed Nicolai Mendgaard-Johannsen, senior manager within the Lead User Lab at the LEGO Group. Nicolai has been working with customer insights and business development for 15 years in different corporate settings and his own company ‘MADE’. Read on to learn what we discovered.
Target Insights: What Really Are Customer Insights?
Customer insights are data gathered from a company’s audience to gain a deeper understanding of how their audience thinks and feels, and what experiences and expectations are currently manifesting within their targeted customer base. The customer experience philosophy embodied in a true customer insight strategy allows businesses to collect high-value, insightful data with a purpose, ensuring that any vital insights gained are tied to strategic actions that move the company towards substantial growth.
Customer Insights at LEGO Group
“Most companies believe that their customers dream about their product most of the time, but as human beings, we don’t. We think about stuff like divorces, children who are not behaving, the next place to live or work”.
How Does LEGO Work Strategically With Customer Insights?
At LEGO, an important truth is acknowledged: Products are not a very important part of humans’ lives, at least not compared to many of the experiences and relationships we have throughout our lives. Thus, it is important that companies manifest the importance of supplying products that create great moments and real value for the customers they serve.
The strategic ideal here is that while products should never act as a supplement to our real-life experiences or relationships, they should coexist as part of the things in our lives that are worth our undivided attention and that we can’t live without, specifically in the sense that LEGO brings value to a lot of children.
LEGO applies insights to validate the benefit of new product ideas, to test if there is genuine value in an idea and if customers are willing to pay for it. Within this process, the team adheres to the mantra that as a customer insights inquirer, you are obligated to use the feedback, even if it comes from a source of criticism. No matter the nature of the feedback, it is critical that the team reviews it and applies high-value responses to drive new concepts.
In addition, Nicolai explains that working with insights should not be a checklist to validate concepts alone. A strategic adaptation of the customer experience philosophy entails the incorporation of inputs and the audience voice as a holistic driver for better business decisions that will inevitably drive better results. LEGO takes the input from both customers (purchasers) and users (children) seriously to drive maximised growth.
What Happens at the Lead User Lab?
In Nicolai’s own words: “At the Lead User Lab, we spot the lead users, who are typically customers growing up with LEGO who have spotted areas in the LEGO portfolio where there is a market need. For instance, the people behind Bricklink, the online platform where people can buy and sell LEGO bricks.” The innovation area relates to a Silicon Valley story objective that successful start-ups are built on a founder’s experience with someone lacking a service or product. This corporational vision stems from the following business ventures:
Apple started because Steve Wozniak wanted a computer; Google because Larry and Sergey couldn’t find what they were looking for online; Hotmail because Sabeer Bhatia and Jack Smith couldn’t write emails to each other. These types of people experiencing inadequacies or shortcomings within a market are the lead users the LEGO Lead User Lab is looking for; i.e. people who have spotted a need that LEGO is not yet fulfilling.
As senior manager of the Lead User Lab, Nicolai reveals that he finds value in qualitative customer involvement, where the team facilitates customer input and insight sharing on multiple occasions across the shaping of new concepts and prototypes. In his experience, a vast input database allows for huge learning that can be shared across ideations. Combining this learning with other methods of insight, e.g. from experts, often results in a solid customer experience data foundation.
How Do You Ensure a Link to the Development of the Business?
One of the main ways the team at the Lead User Lab ensures a tangible link between their findings and the development of the business is by involving chief decision-makers in the process. According to Nicolai, there is value in sharing new ideas and products based on intelligence gathered from customers with internal decision-makers, and have them experience the real-world side of what they’re creating.
Getting the decision-makers out in the real world allows them to see how their product ideas are used and perceived by users. This will make them feel safer with the decisions they make, knowing that the products developed will meet the needs and expectations of the people they offer them to.
What Are Some of the Biggest Advantages and Challenges When Working With Customer Insights?
The main advantage when bringing in customer insights is that it ensures that your business delivers quality products that win the customers to whom your products are most relevant. The insight approach enables you to always be one step ahead of customer expectations and optimise your production before launches, rather than fix issues post-launch.
On the other end of the spectrum, challenges can arise when an organisation is not entirely ready to use gathered insights. Most often, these challenges relate to project groups not being open to feedback or in the right mindset to thoroughly listen. This is because the results of targeting insights and adopting customers’ feedback as a strategic driver require teams to either significantly modify their approach or take a different approach altogether, and understandably, nobody wants to face closing an initiated project.
Instead, many businesses end up listening to what they want to hear and not the truth of the matter. This is a big driver for WeZimplify, and why we developed our software. Using a customer-first approach and target insights as part of an initial stage of product development will allow your company to become a market-leading supplier of the products your users expect. In a recent blog post, we explained the need to collaborate with customers during product development, and how that ties to your corporational growth.
Key Takeaways: Using Customer Insights as a Strategic Driver
From the inspiring interview with Nicolai, we can conclude that the following are powerful reasons why you should target the customer perspective and bring in customer experiences as strategic drivers for your business growth:
- A customer insight database allows your business to understand what your customers and users are wanting and expecting from your industry.
- No matter the nature of the feedback you gather, it is critical that your team reviews it and applies high-value responses to drive new concepts.
- The ideal incorporation of customer experience into your corporational strategy means offering products that create better experiences and great moments. Creating what people don’t want to be without is your route to a market-leading position.
- Strategic adaptation of customer experiences entails bringing in inputs as a holistic driver for business decisions that will inevitably drive better results. Bringing internal decision-makers into the mix will make your decision-makers better.
- The types of people who analyse shortcomings within a market are the lead users who will help you address needs within your market that aren’t currently fulfilled. Strategically addressing inadequacies in your market from a customer perspective is a valuable way of staying ahead of your competitors.
- A vast input database allows for huge learning that can be shared across ideations and projects, allowing you to holistically leverage all wins across your projects.
- The insight approach enables you to always be one step ahead of customer expectations and optimise your production before launches, instead of continually fixing issues (in other words, you’re improving your business, not saving it).
WeZimplify: Platform to Target Insights
Whether you are experienced in working with customer involvement or not, it is a great idea to start learning how to run the process successfully. As a business that devotes our attention towards helping other businesses open up their product development and ideation stages to customer insights, we advocate the many strategic advantages that exist in the world, driven by a customer experience philosophy.
As Nicolai explained, a platform like WeZimplify is a great way to both structure the process and get started on working with customer insights. Our team facilitates the connection between businesses and experts/customers, guiding you on your way towards better decision-making while providing you with an overview of insight reports and user groups.
This makes it very simple for smaller and medium-sized companies to get started. For new or existing corporations, the platform makes it easy to share insights and work across different areas and departments, so the different challenges taking place are aligned. If your business is looking to take charge of optimising your decision-making process, make sure to reach out to us here.
- How Does Customer Feedback Benefit the Growth of Your Company?
Customer feedback enables companies to make informed decisions about improving their product line and business direction. By leveraging insights, you can build in-demand product lines and services that your customers are excited to buy. This makes problem-solving and customer experience the centre of your business, ensuring your business best facilitates the buyers, i.e. the people providing revenue for your company to grow.
If you want to learn more about this, make sure to read this article where we uncover the 6 main ways your company’s growth is affected by customer insights.