4 ways to get the most out of qualitative data

4 ways to get the most out of qualitative data

As a business owner, you know how vital collecting data is. According to a survey from Deloitte, most senior managers think that analytics helps make better decisions. So, you’ve done your homework and established a way to collect data from your business efficiently. Now what?

You might have gathered customer feedback through CSAT and NPS surveys, pulled a year's worth of chat log data, or requested access to the entire history of support ticket data. While figuring out a way to efficiently collect data you can trust is crucial, it’s arguably more important to have a plan on how to get the most of it.

When you collect data with a purpose in mind, it’s much easier to make sound business decisions. To get to that point, however, you need to understand how to get the most of your data. Read on to find out four ways to deliver the best value for your data “bucks.”

Four tips to make the most of your data

Segment your data for actionable insights and effective measures

A segment is a value of a field. For example, "Male" would be a segment of the field "Gender". Segments are essential because they can tell you a lot about how specific values from your dataset perform. Say, for example, that you own an airline. You could group your customer’s experience according to the cabin they flew in: business class, economy, economy plus, premium…

When you segment your data, separating into groups all of those cabins, you can easily understand how they perform against each other. You can also prioritize, focusing on those segments that are doing better or worse than others. However, this would be to stay only on the surface. Here’s where actionable insights come in. You need to dig in beneath the initial CSAT or NPS score. In other words, you need to understand the ‘why’ behind your data so you can make impactful business decisions.

Actionable insights are those that will have an impact on your business. They'll tell you which actions will bring a positive return on investment – and how to maximize positive value ($A) with a minimum overall expenditure ($B).

For example, you could take a close look at Promoters. Using text analytics to understand their feedback, you could find repeated words and phrases and identify trends that suggest a correlation between experience and potential action. Maybe Promoters who value your Premium cabin and intend to fly again with you soon. These show potential opportunities to explore more and find out why your customers love your Premium cabin and keep booking it over Economy or Economy Plus.

Another way to segment is by geography.  If you operate internationally, you can identify localized issues and address them within that area, rather than make changes across the entire business.

Actionable insights are those that will have an impact on your business. They'll tell you which actions will bring a positive return on investment – and how to maximize positive value ($A) with a minimum overall expenditure ($B).

Combine business metrics with customer feedback

Your data doesn’t exist in isolation; you’ll often have to combine it with other inputs to understand what it means. Make your customer feedback truly impactful by analyzing it against your pre-defined business metrics. By quantitatively defining what success in a specific business process looks like, it’s much easier to reach that particular target.

Start by defining the KPIs that matter the most to your business. Once that’s been clearly established, it’s time to collect customer feedback, as this will give you context. For example, you might want to measure the effect of a price change on your customer groups or the impact of a new feature on your customer retention. Here you could measure CSAT or NPS. You could ask the customers affected by the price change about it.

You can also use high-impact insights analytics software to mine verbatim feedback for deep-down insights about how customers truly feel about it, and what can be done to mitigate any possible negative reactions.

With the extra context, you’ll gain a clearer understanding between data points and how tweaks to your product can shift customer feedback trends in a positive direction.

Ensure your data is clean

Unless your data is clean, you can’t trust it. When data isn’t clean, any conclusion you reach based on that data won’t be representative.

Having accurate information is crucial for your business. When your customer data is clean, you can get to know your audience better. To get the most out of your data, focus on ensuring that you’re collecting information that is of the highest quality – and shy away from outdated or incorrect analytics.

When you work with data that contains accurate information, you’ll also be reducing unexpected costs. For example, you might assume that most of your customers belong to the +65 age group and design a strategy to increase sales explicitly catered to older people’s behaviours. If later on, you find out that the data collected wasn’t precise and your primary audience is much younger, you’ll probably have wasted time and money.

Inaccuracies and human bias in data analysis are risky.

If you’re unsure if your data is high-quality, there is data cleansing software available that does precisely that. While you’ll have to pay for the process, it may be worth it if you don’t have the time or the knowledge to perform cleansing techniques yourself.

Segment your data according to your business goals

We already spoke about the importance of having clear business metrics and KPIs. To maximize the use you make of your data, combine data segmentation with clear business objectives – so you can measure progress toward a milestone on your strategic plan.

Discovering relationships between specific queries and segments is crucial to finding insights you can act on since it makes it easier to understand how a particular issue or theme works with a particular customer base.

By segmenting your data and assessing it against your business goals, you'll get a decent understanding of how your business is performing.

For example, you can rank segments according to the difference between observed and expected frequencies. Another way of thinking about actionable insights and business goals is to show the relationship between a specific part of your business and a specific segment of your customers in a way that can be used to drive change and grow your company.

Your data is worthless until you give it a purpose

You don’t need to spend thousands of hours or hire an expert to get the most of your data. With a little effort, you’ll ensure that the data you collect actually serve your business goals. When data brings actionable insights, you can leverage it to drive change and grow your business. Until then – it’ll just be numbers in a vacuum.

Avoid that by following these simple tactics: from ensuring the information you collect is clean to segmenting your data, these are just a few examples of what you can do to ensure that the data you collect is useful to you.

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