Big data insight into customers behaviour can be good but immersion and observation are better

lily

Big Data: The Map Is Not The Territory

Big data insight into customers behaviour can be good but sometimes the answers are right in front of you…….and they’re usually in the hands of you and your customers.

The rise and importance of big data cannot be underestimated in terms of it’s use, value, insight and the actions that it encourages. We live in a time where we have access to more information than ever before about how our customers interact with us through our shops, our websites, our social sites, our call centres, places of business etc etc.

But, we need to remember that data is only data and analysis looks for things like trends, groupings and statistically significant events. But, the most important thing is what we do with the data and our analysis that counts. ‘The map is not the territory’, after all.

As human beings, businesses and customers we are prone to behaviour and decisions that data analysis cannot and will not be able to explain in general terms. As Dave Carroll of “United Breaks Guitars” Video fame says:

“there are no statistically insignificant portions of your customer base anymore”

So, rather than putting all of our faith and efforts into customer data gathering and analysis, spare a little time for looking for the anomalies by spending more time as a customer of your own business and with and observing your customers.

This is an important theme that has been emerging from a lot of the interviews and general discussions that I have been having over the last few months. It’s not rocket science and it’s pretty obvious really.

If you spend more time:

  • Being your own customer;
  • Serving your own customers;
  • Talking, listening and learning from the people that serve your customers;
  • Watching your customers in real time in your own business; and
  • Watching your customers in real time in other businesses too.

Do that and you’ll get real and practical insights much faster than you will get using any other method. Yes, you could contract that out to an agency to conduct a mystery shopping exercise and you could delegate it to one of your team to do too. But, you’ll lose the emotional insight that you’ll get from doing it yourself.

Time to make the time and jump in?

Note: I write these posts because I am passionate about great service and helping companies get more value and growth out of the customer relationships they already have. If you’d like to find out more about how I do that then get in touch here. Alternatively, sign up for my monthly newsletter here.


Hat tip to my friend Johnny for reminding me of the ‘The map is not the territory’ saying from Polish-American scientist and philosopher Alfred Korzybski.

Thanks to ChazWags for the image.

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