How to share customer insight across an organization

Illustration of two people collaborating

These days, teams are designing, building, and iterating products, campaigns, and experiences faster than ever to adapt to customers, beat the competition, and survive. We don’t like admitting it, but more and more teams are forced to make decisions that lack timely customer insight. Instead, they rely only on vague quantitative data or gut instinct. 

This introduces massive risk and costly rework to an organization that may believe their teams are operating in a data-forward manner. This is where experience research platforms come into play. 

Experience research is the practice of understanding your customers in-depth and conveying that understanding across your organization, according to Forrester. It means researching customers using qualitative and quantitative methods and summarizing customer insight to align your employees with a deep understanding of what it’s like being your customer. 

Experience research is fundamental in maturing your customer experience practice and achieving long-term organizational goals. As your organization grows, you must scale your customer research efforts. How can you do this effectively across all of your teams? In this guide, we’re diving in.

Sharing customer experience insight

5 business professional collaborating over stacks of papers

Once your organization has committed to deeply understanding your customers, you’re ready to start sharing customer research across your organization.

How a company shares its customer research practice depends on company size, industry, and budget. There are, however, a few key steps that are universal to all organizations and a great way to establish a solid base.

Share insight with non-researchers

While the desire may be there, one of the organizations' most prominent challenges when sharing customer research is getting non-researchers to understand the benefit of customer research insight and how they can leverage it. 

The term “research” can intimidate teams that aren’t intimately familiar with it. That means most teams unfamiliar or even resistant to absorbing research insights will need guidance and support to get them comfortable. Teams can help educate non-researchers by:

  • Show and tell or watch parties: Frequently share results from customer research
  • 1:1 Training: Pair non-researchers with experienced researchers
  • Conduct small, frequent studies: Testing often with customers in small batches

Align employees on customer feedback

One of the most powerful motivators is hearing directly from customers. When you hear what they say, you better understand what they need and are motivated to serve them better. The success of your customer experience can be predicted by the amount of customer exposure hours your employees receive—or at least two hours every six weeks. 

Sharing customer feedback with colleagues, teams, and sometimes the entire company is vital. Here are a few ways to share customer insights and align the organization with your customers: 

  • Host viewing parties: This is a fun activity that allows teams to share customer videos and results, gets everyone in the same room, and sparks critical discussion and shared understanding of the challenges at hand.

Watch on-demand: How to share customer insights

  • Create highlight reels: According to a Forbes Insights report, 59% of executives prefer video to textual reports. Grabbing executives—and other teams’—attention and getting buy-in for customer research can be much easier when they can quickly and easily understand how customers are experiencing their brand.

Read: Creating effective video highlight reels 

  • Share critical insights via Slack: Many organizations rely on Slack to stay connected across locations, departments, and roles. What better platform to quickly and easily share the latest ‘a-ha’ moments after conducting customer research? If you’re using the UserTesting platform, you can send out videos, clips, or highlight reels via Slack directly from the platform.

Read: UserTesting and Slack integration

  • Make customer videos part of team meetings: Try kicking off every meeting with a clip or highlight reel from a recent study and discussing how those insights will impact the team’s strategy.

Develop a healthy customer experience ecosystem

One benefit of sharing customer insight with your organization is teaching teams what you do and getting them curious to do their research. 

An organization with a healthy customer experience ecosystem has implemented a shared, scalable practice across the entire customer experience with organizational goals centered around the customer. Each team, department, and individual is a vital element to the customer-centered ecosystem's overall health—and success.

In the natural world, a healthy ecosystem consists of many varied organisms interacting with each other and their environment, each dependent upon the other for survival and success. The same principle applies to an organization’s customer experience ecosystem. These elements on their own won’t be enough to sustain and drive excellent customer experience—they’re all tightly interrelated and need to work together to be successful.

Scaling customer insight across different teams

Two people in an office setting having a remote meeting

Every team within an organization will leverage customer insight differently. If your team is just getting started integrating customer insight into their strategy, it can be helpful to see how other teams rely on insight to create better customer experiences.

How design teams leverage customer insight

Design sprints are one of the fastest ways to help design teams answer critical business questions using design thinking and customer validation. When teams incorporate on-demand customer research during sprints they can quickly gather valuable insights that inform design decisions while helping expose a team to design thinking and rally an entire organization around the customer.

Here’s an example of how you can scale customer research as part of your design process:

Setting the stage: In the weeks before you run the Sprint, be sure to run tests with target customers to learn more about their needs.
Design sprint week: Validate the prototype or concepts with target customers.
Turning ideas into reality: Take the idea from prototype to code by gathering customer insights as you iterate and build.

Read: How design teams embrace experience research insight

How product teams leverage customer insight

Product managers are dually tasked with delighting customers and growing the business. Product decisions need buy-in from key stakeholders and must be made faster than ever before.

Embedding regular customer research drives and informs product discovery and validation, helping teams make decisions quickly and confidently and reduce risk.

Read: Mitigating risk in digital product development

How marketing teams leverage customer insight

Marketers can leverage customer insight to validate marketing content—everything from commercials to images to email messages. Marketers need to get inside the heads of customers and prospects on various topics, even sensitive subjects like religion and politics. 

Here are some tips when sharing insight with marketing teams: 

  • Think small: Don’t try to get marketers to understand everything there is to know all at once. Break it up, start with key objectives, and then let them ask questions. 
  • Be timely: Make sure the research is conducted when there’s still time to use it. That means sharing research early and often so potential issues can be flagged and addressed well before a campaign is launched.
  • Empower everyone: Everyone from the social media manager to the direct mail team should be listening to customers to understand what’s relevant to them

Read: How marketers stop guessing and start understanding