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Program Management

Why It Isn’t Enough to Be Data-Driven During Customer Testing

March 18, 2021

Data is a library of information. And like a library, the books inside are only useful to you if they’re written in a language you understand. You also don’t have time to read every book in the library when you have a finite amount of time and a job to get done. The books you want to read are the ones that neatly summarize the information you can apply in the real world.

When it comes to improving product success, your product test data works exactly the same way. It’s incredibly useful — but getting that data is only half the solution. It doesn’t do much on its own. But when it’s contextualized and organized effectively, the second half of the solution — mining insights you can use to improve your product and increase success — is easy to do.

From the way your customers are interacting with your product to how it’s performing in real-world environments, customer testing generates a lot of data. But key players know it’s not only about how much you collect — it’s how you use it.

Here’s why it’s important to think beyond being data-driven when it comes to your customer testing program and how programs that are insight-driven instead are increasing their effectiveness, buy-in, and organizational value.

Why Stopping at Being Data-Driven Falls Short

There’s nothing wrong with being data-driven. In fact, most companies know how critical it is for staying competitive in today’s fast-paced marketplace. But getting data is only the first step. What happens next — going from data to insights to action — is really where the value of collecting all that data lies.

Why It Isn't Enough to Be Data-Driven

It might sound like semantics, but transitioning from being data-driven to being insight-driven means moving away from collecting data for data’s sake and toward collecting data with intention. Insights emphasize what can actually be done with the data you’ve collected to reach a specific goal.

What does being insight-driven mean when it comes to your customer testing program? It takes specific data that has been collected from customers, contextualized and organized with specific goals in mind, then it’s about using that information to generate insights your stakeholders can use to make informed, strategic decisions.

It goes deeper than the logic of sayings like, “the customer is always right,” and looks instead at sentiments and behaviors that inform the decisions of your target audience.

Being Insight-Driven During Customer Testing

It’s tempting to collect every last bit of information you can during customer testing. But you still want your data to work for you — not the other way around. When your data collection processes are unstructured and disorganized, generating the insights you need to move the needle becomes needlessly time-consuming and inefficient.

So how do you become more efficient with driving insights during customer testing? First, you need structure. Be intentional with your goals and make sure your incoming data is accurate. Then, make insights accessible to your stakeholders.

Let’s take a closer look at the four key aspects that distinguish insight-driven programs.

  • Intentional. As we said earlier, having more data isn’t always better. Maybe you’re at a large organization with a handful of dedicated researchers at your disposal. But when you’re working with limited time and resources, it’s important to focus on collecting the customer testing data that will answer your stakeholders’ highest-priority questions.
  • Accurate. This goes without saying. Data from biased or unreliable sources is just noise. Concentrate on users who match your target audience — your customers, your potential customers, and your employees (customer zero).
  • Accessible. Data that sits in a silo is, to return quickly to the library analogy, as useful as an unread book. For you and your stakeholders to start using the data, they need a centralized set to draw from — preferably one that updates in real time. This makes the relationship between your customers and your product more visible overall.
  • Integrated. Integration requires a commitment on the part of your business leaders. In some organizations, executives will only acknowledge data when it backs up their intuition. But truly insight-driven leadership understands the inherent value of backing their decisions with data. When they see how tapping into customer testing insights improves product performance and increases revenue, they’ll begin to prioritize organizational initiatives around it.

As more departments come to rely on your recommendations, company leadership will integrate the knowledge gained from customer testing into all business decisions. This makes the whole organization more insight-driven.

Driving Insights (and Action) with Centercode

Structuring your processes, organizing your data, and making insightful recommendations during customer testing is a big undertaking. But it’s infinitely more manageable with the right tools. Built on twenty years of best practices, the Centercode Platform was made for it.

With automation to organize customer feedback and prioritize issues by frequency, severity, and overall impact, you can take the time you’re spending in front of spreadsheets to get in front of your stakeholders and hand them their product recommendations on a silver platter.

It’s a central hub for your customer testing data, with plug-and-play APIs and integration abilities that funnel real-time feedback straight into your organization’s other systems — whether they’re tracking issues in Jira, visualization data in Tableau, or managing customer relationships in Salesforce.

Between the automation, templates, custom dashboards, and community-building capabilities, it turns the manual labor of managing data and generating insights into time you can spend growing your program in the right direction.

See how seven real companies transformed their customer testing efforts into insight-generating, revenue-driving, value-maxing programs with Centercode in this ROI report.

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