The path to innovation starts with the customer

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

According to McKinsey, 80% of executives think their current business models are at risk to be disrupted in the near future. In addition, 84% of executives say that innovation is important to their growth strategy. In a one week period, Twitter logged over 100K appearances of #innovation. It feels like literally EVERYONE is talking about innovation. Electronics companies, fast food chains, insurance providers, airlines - I could go on - they all see innovation as a path forward into the future - whether that future be one of improved customer experiences, greater efficiency, increased profits, continuing relevance or all four. 

Yet, according to Harvard professor and best-selling author Clayton Christensen, 95% of all product innovations fail. Those are daunting odds. 

So, what’s a business to do? Many experts assert that the answer partially lies with the customer. Specifically, businesses need to identify the “why” behind customer actions and choices - what need are they trying to meet when they purchase a product or service?  What is the context surrounding that decision? That deeper understanding of the customer will surface opportunities to innovate.

If you’re a customer experience (CX) professional, this should be great news. Isn’t your whole “raison d’ètre” all about understanding the customer? The question is, how well do you really know your customers? And, to build on that, is your current customer program generating the types of insights that uncover the context critical to discovering opportunities to innovate?

Using social media data with traditional survey data for deeper consumer insights

Uncovering context is tough. Certainly, traditional voice of the customer (VoC) surveys have served CX professionals well by providing a high-level measurement of their customer’s overall satisfaction as well as identifying ongoing concerns and/or gaps in customer experience. But, because surveys are by their very nature directive, i.e. the company determines the questions and the timing, not to mention they are usually completed after the customer experience in a sterile format, they’re unlikely to be very good at revealing the circumstances and emotions surrounding a customer interaction.

On Twitter, people share hundreds of millions of Tweets every day. And, at every stage of the customer journey, through their Tweets, they are signalling satisfaction, concerns, frictions, and yes, context. They are not only expressing how they feel but why they feel that way. And, thanks to social listening tools, you can easily tap into these conversations, uncovering insights in real-time as well as historical patterns. When combined with other more traditional data from sources like surveys or focus groups, that additional context provides a fuller picture of your customers, allowing your business to know them on a deeper level, uncovering hidden opportunities to innovate.

Of the six key success factors identified in PWC’s 2018 Global Innovation 1000 study, coming in at number four is “base innovation on direct insights from end-users”. Of course, there are many factors that feed into innovation success, but identifying innovation opportunities that will resonate with your customers is a critical first step.

Your customers are talking right now, providing you with the clues and context to identify your next big innovation. Are you ready to start listening? Get inspired at data.twitter.com with case studies that illustrate the power of social listening.

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