One of the most common questions beginner insights analysts have is how to create meaningful and engaging insights reports.
We get it, it's really challenging work! To give you some help, we've asked our in-house insights specialists for their top 5 tips for creating an amazing insights report that your audiences will love.
1. First, define the purpose
One of the most important steps in creating a great insights report is making sure you have a clear purpose identified for the report before you start pulling your insights together.
Here are some handy questions to consider before starting:
- What type of report is this (ad-hoc vs recurring)?
- Why are we putting this report together?
- Who is our audience?
- What does our audience care about?
- What questions is our audience likely to ask?
- What actions do we want our audience to take?
- What journey do we want to take the audience on?
The answers to these questions will help guide the flow of the report (more to come on this in point 5), but they'll also act as a compass to prevent you from going down unnecessary rabbit holes or tangents.
2. Know your audience & keep it relevant
Many analysts ask us for advice on how to capture and keep the attention of their audiences when they're presenting insights reports. The best piece of advice we can offer here is to know your audience extremely well and ensure that each slide is relevant to them.
One of the common challenges that decreases audience engagement and the actionability of the insights is trying to cater to multiple stakeholders in the same presentation session.
This is a challenge because each stakeholder and team has their own set of priorities and KPIs. If part of your presentation is relevant to only a portion of the audience, the rest of the audience will tend to lose interest.
For example, the Buying Team is going to be more engaged if you're presenting them with insights they can influence. If you start talking to them about Customer Service-focused issues that they can't influence (e.g. wait times), they'll likely disengage.
Because of this challenge, we recommend splitting up your presentation sessions into smaller groups. This way, you can tailor your presentation for each session so that you're sharing only relevant insights. This approach helps keep attendees highly engaged and ensures that they walk away with clear next steps.
3. Humanize the data--make it personal!
A powerful way to augment your data and drive meaningful change is to humanize the data. High-level data can be pretty impersonal, so try going a layer or two deeper and telling a story about the people that are represented in the data.
Here's an example that highlights the difference between high-level data and humanized insights:
Approach 1: High-level data
30% of our customers last month mentioned long wait times, which had the greatest negative impact on our overall NPS.
Approach 2: Humanized insights
Last month 27% of our customers mentioned that long wait times was the reason they were unlikely to recommend our company to others.
This theme alone was bringing our overall NPS down by 7 points, making it the theme with the greatest negative impact. When we drilled into the data we found that 53% of the customers complaining about wait times were between the ages of 55-75.
When we focused our investigation on just this customer segment, we found that, of the customers between the ages of 55-75 who said wait times were their main reason for not recommending us, 2215 of those customers were also mentioning the lack of seating in the waiting areas.
This humanized approach helps the audience relate to the customers on a more personal level, and it also can provide a clear and sometimes simple way for the business to take action. After all, it's likely much more cost effective for the business to invest in seating options than it is to try and hire staff to solve the problem!
Tip: You can also add an extra layer of humanity to the data by including verbatims from real customers. This helps your audience understand the customer experience in the customer's own words.
4. Less text, more visuals
Huge walls of text in a PowerPoint… we’ve all experienced it. Your eyes start to go blurry, you get sleepy, and you start dreaming about what you’ll have for lunch.
Too much text in a presentation is a surefire way to quickly lose your audience’s attention. This is especially true if your audience members are in roles that require them to review lots of reports.
How do you keep your audience awake and engaged? Try sticking to one short paragraph of text per slide, and include a visual or two to break up the text.
Here's an example:
Notice how we've written a paragraph to highlight the key NPS insights for the month, but we’ve also included a couple of images that illustrate the NPS changes over time.
This approach avoids the pitfall of too much text, makes the slide more visually appealing, and also gives the audience multiple ways to digest the data.
5. Don't data-dump...take them on a journey!
Want to keep your audience really engaged?
Use the handy questions from section 1 as an outline and create a sequence of slides that takes your audience on a journey. Using the questions as a guide for your slides will create a natural and logical progression that’s easy for your audience to follow, and then you can end with key takeaways and next steps.
For example, start by setting the scene for the audience with a slide about the purpose of the deck. Next, transition into a high-level summary of the key metrics that they care about most before diving into some of the specific drivers for those metrics.
From there, you can provide them with a summary of key takeaways and then wrap up with some clear action steps.
As an example, here's the journey we typically use when building insights reports:
You're now equipped with our top 5 tips for building a great insights deck!
By keeping these tips in mind, you'll be able to build impactful reports that will effectively deliver insights and keep your audience(s) engaged.
And in the end, you'll be helping your organization excel at listening to customers and responding to their needs.