If you’re in financial services, the simple act of listening to your customers has never been so crucial as it is now.
According to a survey commissioned by Trustpilot, consumers are 50% more likely to say that their level of trust in financial services providers has decreased (rather than increased) over the last 3 years.
This is hugely important because when you’re dealing in finance, you’re likely dealing in relationships. Your customers aren’t buying a pack of gum. They’re entering into what could be a multi-year partnership with your company.
So with a trend of rising distrust, you can bet that more and more people are doing their due diligence before choosing a company to handle their money — which brings us back to the importance of listening to your customer. How well you listen determines how well you can actually communicate to your audience, build ever-improving experiences, and ultimately improve your bottom line.
And that all starts with capturing consumer insights.
What are consumer insights, again?
Consumer insights are actionable interpretations of human behaviour that are used to gain a deeper understanding of how an audience thinks and feels. Analysing these insights helps companies understand the motivations, desires, and feelings of the people they want to engage with, all so they can serve them more effectively.
In short: if you want to meet your customers where they really are, you first have to know where that is.
When it’s done right, the application of consumer insights can change how you communicate (and resonate) with your clients, increasing sales and customer satisfaction.
Collecting consumer insights can be tricky — here are a few things you’ll need:
1. Good data quality
It all starts with collecting solid data. Without high-quality data, your conclusions or results will likely suffer.
2. A dedicated analytics team
Oftentimes, the most valuable insights aren’t exactly obvious from glancing at a datasheet. You’ll want a dedicated data analytics team to extract the stories out of the data you’ve collected.
3. An open mind
Gathering and analysing information on consumer behaviour is one thing. But actually acknowledging the sometimes-inconvenient truths that your data is showing you? That’s another.
It’s essential to carefully consider the results of your consumer research, whether you agree with them or not.
4. Database and segment marketing
Database marketing uses databases of customers to generate personalised communications. If they are purposefully crafted, these databases represent specific personas, audience segments, regions and more.
These kinds of groups are essential to test the authenticity of your consumer insights across different strata. That kind of multifaceted testing can confirm your hypotheses as facts.
How do consumer insights differ from market research?
These two terms are easily confused, but are markedly distinct.
1. Market research
For starters, market research is an effort to gather information surrounding a given market. That means recording metrics like market needs, market sizes, competitor presence, market rates, service pricing, and more.
2. Consumer insights
If market research tells us what is happening, consumer insights tell us why it’s happening. The team providing these insights will offer a narrative around the data with the goal of making actionable recommendations towards typically lofty goals like improving CSAT metrics, increasing customer retention, and generating more revenue.
And it works.
Here are a few ways financial institutions can use consumer insights to better attract and engage with customers.
3 Ways you can turn consumer insights into tangible benefits
1. Analyse the competition
Because financial services companies don’t vary wildly when it comes to rates, the company that can best listen to consumers (and utilise that information) usually ends up serving customers the most effectively. That can also mean listening to what customers are saying about your competitors’ services and considering that information as you improve your own.
2. Improve the customer journey
Another way consumer insights can amp up your consumer experience is by revealing specific opportunities to better your customer journey.
Take the example of Wayfair, a leading online home goods retailer. After analysing consumer research, they realised their customer journey had some sizable gaps - so they built an app for recommending products based on user interests. Not only did that insight-driven pivot lead to a 50% increase in customer retention for that year, the app now also provides the company with new insights into customers’ styles and needs.
3. Personalise your marketing
Especially when it comes to the financial industry, marketing to “an average consumer” isn’t the best way to make people feel seen. When their money's on the line, consumers tend to appreciate a more personal, more cared-for approach. That’s where hyper-personalised marketing can come into play and help them feel like your company is truly speaking to them as individuals.
Consumer insights can help you develop your understanding of your audience to the point where you can make your marketing truly personalised.
1. Establish what you want to learn
Before conducting research, make sure you know what (and how) you’ll get your data.
2. Identify your resources
How will you obtain data, who’s going to collect it, who’s going to analyse it? Make sure you have enough time and employees dedicated to getting and using your consumer insights.
3. Decide your collection method
How you’ll collect data is extremely important. Are you targeting a specific audience? Existing consumers? Will you use a survey? A focus group? These are important questions. Trustpilot's Review Insights tool is a great way to get started.
4. How will you use the data?
Make sure your efforts are not going to waste. It’s important to plan and think ahead. Once you have the data, start thinking about what departments, processes, strategies, and initiatives might be affected and what the plan is for that.
Lastly, get started! It can be a challenging process to build up a stable of customer insights, but it can massively pay off in the long run.
Find out how Trustpilot reviews can help you collect great insights, learn about Trustpilot's Review Insights tool here, or create a free Trustpilot account today to start collecting reviews.