13 Creative Ideas for Improved Customer Insights

Do you assume a customer who doesn’t complain feels he is getting a quality service or product? Is a happy customer?  We are often surprised when clients make these assumptions. Customer retention strategies depend heavily on all customer insights … knowing who is happy and who isn’t. So using creative ideas for better customer insights from customers is critical.

Check out our thoughts on customer focus.


Quality in a service or product is not what you put into it. It is what the client or customer gets out of it.

Peter Drucker


Before we continue, let me ask you a question. 

What works best for insight customer discovery in your business? We would love to hear what it was. Would you do us a favor and post it in the comments section below? Be the one who starts a conversation.


With the advent of the Internet, the number of marketing options available to both budding and experienced entrepreneurs has become staggering.


According to a Bain & Company survey, major companies typically lose half of their customers over a five-year period. Notice, it usually wasn’t ‘one year’ or ‘suddenly’. Customers have a tipping point. They get unhappy bit by bit and then it’s the last straw.  So, if you make the assumption that all your customers are happy with you …you may be in for a surprise.


Related: Lessons from the Yale Customer Insights Conference


It’s never fun to hear what you’re doing wrong or just not being the best you can be. However, there are many reasons to pay attention to the customer insights:


By asking specific follow-up questions, you can create specific solutions that improve your business and satisfy a customer’s concerns.


Complaints and suggestions are free insights … much cheaper and more valuable than the research you pay outside vendors to conduct.


Finding a new customer will cost you eight times as much as keeping an existing customer.  Be accountable for customer insights and complaints, it’s easy to proclaim ‘ I’m accountable’. It’s much tougher to say ‘Call my cell.’


Who can deny that gathering customer insights is crucial to providing excellent service?


However, it can be very difficult actually to go looking for feedback. You have to dive in head first, let go of your ego, and be prepared to swallow your pride to face some hard-to-swallow truths about your business.


You can easily ask customers more actionable questions to get the most out of those rare moments when you have the chance to ask them. Here are some awesome examples:


Better customer insight
Better customer insight.


Customer insights examples … who do you serve best?

If there is an employee who stands out for helping your customers stay loyal, this is the perfect opportunity to find out.


Best employees … If the customer identifies an employee by name and does not offer any more information that often means this employee is best of the “just ok.”


If the answer includes sincere superlatives, details about WHAT is so great about this employee, or says “You need to hire more like that one,” you have just found a very valuable, “model” employee. Investigate what your star offers to customers and replicate as much as you can.


Look for details … what specifically pleased you the most?

I once received an answer of “You do a great job communicating the state of the big picture.” The “big picture” was totally not the focus of the initiative or even what I thought worked.


The real focus was all about the individual touchpoints and micro-interactions, but I’m thankful I received this response. It presented ways I was able to build on and expand for future projects.


Customer insights … how could we make things easier for you?

Remove the constraints your customers have. Consider ways they can help you help them. We often assume certain things can’t change; then we sit frozen like deer in the headlights overcome with frustration.


If we lift those restrictions on our thinking, we can better visualize how things COULD be, which is liberating and empowering.


What would you like to see us add to our products or services?

We humans often don’t know what we want. Asking “what would make you satisfied?” leads to a lot of “um” and “I’m not sure” replies. “What should we add” encourages customers to think more about what’s missing.

Consider the issue of Internet Privacy

Running a business today almost certainly means having a digital presence, and being connected to the Internet. While the benefits of this transformation are many, the security issues are still a daily challenge, with many solutions in the market place to address them.

Now internet service providers can sell the browsing habits of their customers to advertisers. The move, which critics charge will fundamentally undermine consumer privacy in the US.

Yes, internet service providers (ISPs) such as Comcast, Verizon and AT&T are free to track all your browsing behavior and sell it to advertisers without consent. ISPs have access to literally all of your browsing behavior – they act as a gateway for all of your web visits, clicks, searches, app downloads and video streams.

This represents a huge treasure trove of personal data, including health concerns, shopping habits and porn preferences. ISPs want to use this data to deliver personalized advertising.

Lets start with understanding the definition of a Virtual Private Network (VPN) as a solution.

A VPN is a group of computers networked together over a public network like the internet. And these connected computers are a virtual version of a secure, physical network. They are linked together so they can share information by securing internet traffic with encrypted connection over networks that are less secure.

Essentially, a VPN ensures the level of security to systems that are connected is appropriate if/when the existing network infrastructure alone is not capable of providing it.

A VPN redirects your internet traffic to disguise where your computer, phone or other device is when it makes contact with websites. It also encrypts the information you send across the internet so that it’s unreadable to anyone who wants to intercept that traffic – including ISPs.


Check out this excellent VPN solution.


Ask both satisfied and unsatisfied customers for more details

For example: What can we do to improve the checkout process? Or what should we do to make browsing online easier?


Questions like this will lead to a much more valuable insight than open-ended questions like, what can we do to improve?



Customer insights and analytics … What have we forgotten that you might have needed?

Make sure everyone, including your customers and employees, are comfortable telling you when things are not perfect. It gives you the opportunity to apologize, to promise to make corrections, or at least to say “Thank you for telling me” in a more timely fashion.


When you have the rare privilege of communicating with any customer, it is your opportunity not only to make good on a poor part of the experience or transaction but to zero in on what might be an ongoing or common issue nobody bothered to complain about.


I like to say “Question everything and everyone!” It’s a way to get truly honest, constructive feedback when you may not know what truth you need to hear. People, in general, are friendly.


We like to see people happy and generally, hate to criticize things they are proud of. Look for as many ways as you can to open that door. You’ll learn amazing things as long as you listen with customer-centric ears.



Remember these simple suggestions to improve further gaining the best insights from your customers:


never overlook details
Never overlook details.


Better customer insight … never overlook details

Don’t overlook details … as ‘unimportant’. Until you put all the pieces of the puzzle together, it is difficult to know the importance of details.



Connect… and then move closer. You learn most when you build close relationships with your customers.


Dig deeper

Keep pressing … ‘just one more question.’ Each new fact that you discover often generates new information needs.


Use your personal experience

Put your personal experience to work, but don’t be biased by it. Don’t let your values and views take charge of getting the true picture.


Look for connections

Spot connections between seemingly unrelated observations. Keep iterating and building the puzzle of facts and their relationships.


Immerse your perspective

Look for different perspectives . from alternative roles. Try and eliminate the single role perspective at all costs and view things from as many angles as possible.


 Validate and continually refine

You are never done with customer insights you have gained. Validate and continue to refine what you have learned.


What are the most actionable ways you receive customer insights? We’d love to hear.


Remember, customers don’t care what you do. They only care what they’re left with after you have done it.




Do you have a lesson about making your customer focus better you can share with this community? Have any questions or comments to add in the section below?


So what’s the conclusion? The conclusion is there is no conclusion. There is only the next step. And that next step is completely up to you.


It’s up to you to keep improving your customer attention and focus. Lessons are all around you. In many situations, your competitor may be providing the ideas and or inspiration. But the key is in knowing that it is within you already.


All you get is what you bring to the fight. And that fight gets better every day you learn and apply new lessons.


Test. Learn. Improve. Repeat.


Need some help in building better customer insights from your customer engagement? Creative ideas to help grow your customer base?


Call today for a FREE consultation or a FREE quote. Learn about some options to scope your job of growing customer insights and pay for results.

Call Mike at 607-725-8240.


All you get is what you bring to the fight. And that fight gets better every day you learn and apply new insights that you have learned.


When things are not what you want them to be, what’s most important is your next step. Call today.



Are you devoting enough energy to improving your continuous learning for yourself and your team?


Mike Schoultz is the founder of Digital Spark Marketing, a digital marketing and customer service agency. With 40 years of business experience, he blogs on topics that relate to improving the performance of your business. Find them on G+Twitter, and LinkedIn.  


Digital Spark Marketing will stretch your thinking and your ability to adapt to change.  We also provide some fun and inspiration along the way. Call us for a free quote today. You will be amazed how reasonable we will be.


Check out these additional articles on customer insights from our library:

Generational Differences … What Matters for Marketing Campaigns?

The Story of How JetBlue Turns Customers into Advocates

An Actionable Approach to Target Market Segmentation?


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13 Creative Ideas for Improved Customer Insights