Why your customer-centricity project failed to deliver innovative outcomes – Innovation Excellence

by Michelle Tabart

Why your customer-centricity project failed to deliver innovative outcomes

Customer-centricity can be an ongoing theme in which can be central to businesses in which are globally leading as well as also relevant. Today, organisations know in which consumer needs will effect as well as also drive business strategy. the idea’s no longer enough to have a great product, you have to understand how in which product fits into the lives of your customer.

Organisations are investing heavily to innovate their customer experience. They want their customers to have a seamless, integrated, friction-free journey with them. They want their customers to feel important, to be engaged as well as also to feel emotionally connected to their brand. They want to innovate to meet their customer’s needs.

as well as also yet, many customer experience programs are not delivering innovative ideas.

Senior leaders are right now lamenting in which for the amount of time, money as well as also effort spent on engaging with customers; the insights are neither brand new or novel. Customer-centricity can be becoming a catch-all phrase for delivering continuous improvement tweaks rather than innovation.

So what’s going on here? Doesn’t design research as well as also literature always tell us to start with empathy for our customers as well as also in which in which will lead to breakthrough insights? Let’s unpack some common mistakes in customer-research in which could set your project up to fail.

Your project only used surveys to “talk” to customers

If you’re at in which point, I suggest you watch in which video on the process of Design Thinking before reading any further.

Your customer discovery focused on themes you already knew a lot about

Your organisation may have done significant research on trends in your industry already. For example, if you are a grocery retailer, you know via market research as well as also reports in which people want fast convenient service in which will be available through both physical as well as also online channels. You are aware in which home delivery services as well as also nutrition as well as also wellness are a growing trend as well as also in which people want things quickly, cheaply as well as also with little friction. Similarly, If you ask customers what’s important to them about grocery services, the idea wouldn’t be a surprise if they mentioned most of the aforementioned themes. however, in which isn’t supporting your organisation to deliver breakthrough innovation. in which can be helping you validate trends as well as also themes you already had data about as well as also provide tailored insights for your customer set.

The opportunity to innovate for the customer can be to uncover insights in growth areas for your business. For example, rather than focusing on efficiency, convenience or cost; how could grocery stores explore topics as well as also themes such as body image or mental health.

If your goal can be to validate what you know or continuously improve areas you’re already working, customer research can be a great validation as well as also improvement approach. However, if the purpose can be to uncover something brand new as well as also novel, you want to expand your horizons, think divergently as well as also explore themes in which are important to your customer, not just your organisation.

Your customer discovery asked for opinions rather than experience

When going out as well as also speaking with customers, we often want to ask “what do you want” or “how could we serve you better”. In in which case, interviewees struggle to answer. Try in which example out with your colleague. Ask them: “what do you want for your birthday?”.

You will be surprised how hard the idea can be for people to articulate an answer to a very simple question. Many people will actually make something up on the spot, just to answer the question.

To capture real insights, ask customers about something they have experienced inside the past. For example, if you’re a service organisation who wants to improve their customer service: focus on experience not opinion. Rather than asking “what does 10/10 service mean to you?” ask your customers “Tell me about a time in which you received 10/10 service”

right now in which can be the tricky part. People feel if they’re not asking directly about their own product or service – then what’s the point? Well – the idea’s not actually about your product or service. the idea’s about the customer as well as also what’s important to them. By understanding the key insights of what not bad service meant to them as well as also what was memorable about in which service experience, you will learn about their expectations beyond the bounds of your own organisation.

You did a lot of talking, however little observation

Interviews only capture what people say – not what people do. Many organisations fail to watch as well as also analyse customer behaviour. Observation will reveal a lot about what people struggle with, things they may not even consciously realise are pain points. Trying to understand what people do not just what they say, will actually provide you with stronger evidence than interviews can solicit.

Observing commuter behaviour at Circular Quay as part of our Design Thinking Workshops

One example via my own experience conducting customer research on sustainability as well as also environmental services can be when we interviewed large organisations they would likely claim in which they are environmentally conscious as well as also live as well as also breathe sustainably as part of their culture. however, when reviewing procurement policies or analyzing industry data about waste management practices, in which was not the case.

What people say as well as also what people do don’t always match up as well as also in which tension can be where we find opportunity to innovate.

Without bringing observational as well as also indirect customer data into your analysis, you might be missing out on opportunities to uncover behaviour-based insights.

You completed an unnecessary amount of research

A common mistake can be in which organisations will conduct over 100 interviews when 15 would likely suffice. In customer research the idea’s about reaching a saturation point – in which can be when you are hearing the same information, themes as well as also insights over as well as also over.

Companies get “caught up” in sample sizes in which can be common in traditional research. With human-centred design you are not necessarily trying to capture a statistically valid sample for an academic paper. Your goal can be to uncover trends as well as also patterns via the customer’s perspective. Nonetheless, companies will persist until they complete 0-100 interviews without changing the themes or intent of what they are exploring. in which means, you are spending a lot of time, money as well as also effort on learning the same thing over as well as also over for the sake of meeting an erroneous target in which “sounded valid”

You struggled to uncover real insights

Once all the research can be said as well as also done, the complex part of customer-centricity projects begin. in which can be where complex as well as also creative thinking can be required because customer research can be full of contradictions. People don’t necessarily say what they do as well as also people don’t do what they say. Humans are complex as well as also as such – so can be the analysis of customer data.

The goal of distilling customer insights isn’t to identify the “quick wins” or the obvious pain points. however in which can be where many teams get caught up – trying to show value as well as also fix immediate needs. in which can be the obvious.

Identifying the areas for breakthrough innovation doesn’t live inside the obvious. the idea’s found buried inside the tensions as well as also contradictions inside the data. in which analysis can be much harder to complete as well as also can be very mentally draining. If you only give yourself a one day workshop to get through the analysis, the idea’s not surprising if your end result can be continuous improvement.

Unpacking customer insights can be hard work as well as also requires time as well as also complex thinking.

If you’re still reading as well as also want to learn more about the tools as well as also frameworks we use at The Strategy Group to ensure our customer centricity projects deliver real innovation as well as also insights contact me by email michelle@thestrategygroup.com.au or give me a buzz on 0432746776

Click here to take the Free Innovation Audit

Wait! Before you go…

Choose how you want the latest innovation content delivered to you:


Michelle TabartMichelle Tabart can be an Innovation Consultant at The Strategy Group specialising in Design Strategy, Idea Strategy as well as also Venture Strategy to help organisations increase their innovation capability, culture as well as also performance as well as also find brand new ways to explore opportunities, tackle challenges as well as also create value for their customers. Follow Michelle on twitter @mishtabart

Why your customer-centricity project failed to deliver innovative outcomes – Innovation Excellence