An Interview with AQ’s Insights Manager
“Data! Data! Data!” he cried impatiently, “I can’t make bricks without clay!” – Arthur Conan Doyle, The Adventure of the Copper Beeches
The world as we know it revolves around data, particularly in the mystery shopping industry. At AQ Services, crunching the numbers and reporting on the vast amounts of data that our Fieldwork teams gather falls under the purview of our Insights Manager. The data insights we gain from reports and surveys of our shoppers are valuable information. Especially for our clients. Improving customer service as a whole is what we are about here at AQ.
Who is Our Insights Manager?
Menno Liebregts has been working with AQ for more than 5 years. When he first started, he was responsible for our European clients, handling everything from A to Z. This involved everything from set-up, to fieldwork, to client servicing, and reporting. He became more and more passionate about the analytical and reporting side of the market research AQ did, and was offered the opportunity to set up an independent reporting department within the company.
And what exactly does this independent reporting department do?
Menno: Within AQ Services, I am responsible for the reporting side of our programs worldwide. I translate data to actionable insights and recommendations. We are continuously innovating the way we report our findings to clients, not only visually, but also content-wise. In order to do this, we are trying to engage the [Quality Assurance] department in proactively providing valuable findings from surveys. Our goal? Improving customer satisfaction by providing actionable insights.
“I translate data into actionable insights and recommendations.”
What are these insights and how do you define an insight?
According to the dictionary, ‘insights’ are defined as follows:
“…an insight is the understanding of a specific cause and effect in a specific context.”
Menno:…this could be a piece of information, the act or result of understanding the inner nature of things or an understanding of cause and effect based on the dentification of relationships and behaviours within a model, context, or scenario.
Why are insights useful and what can we do with them?
Menno: With mystery shopping everything can be an insight. Our mystery shoppers are trained to not only to observe the service standards, but to also measure any other unusual observations that are not part of the survey. For instance, a shopper noticing that the shortage staff is causing a drop in the service standards or a security guard who is sleeping inside the store. These findings are important to immediately highlight to our clients so they can undertake immediate action.
As Insights Manager, what do you look for? What do you feel makes a great insight?
Menno: They must be actionable. That is the most important property of an insight. Clients should be able to do something with an insight; solve the problem, praise the staff, change the standard, etc. We look for insights like ‘Moments of Magic’, such as extraordinarily good service, service improvement suggestions, uncommonly good or bad performances, and trends.
“Clients should be able to do something with an insight; solve the problem, praise the staff, change the standard, etc.”
How could we do this?
Menno: [Through] doing data analysis. By evaluating data, using analytical and logical reasoning to examine each component of the data provided, we can discover useful information, suggest conclusions, and support decision-making. We do this by looking for patterns, identifying similarities and differences, causality, etc. Just recently, we found out for a specific client that walk-in store visits performed significantly better than appointment visits. This was interesting because you would expect the other way around. By zooming in and comparing those two types visits, we discovered that salespeople put much more effort in knowing the customer, trying to find out the customer’s needs and engaging the customer during walk-in visits. Usually, we also see significant differences in visit day and visit time.
Can you share an example of an insight and how it has helped a client?
Menno: Recently, we found out that a restaurant did not have the main ingredient of their anniversary’s promotional dishes. The fact that an easy-to-buy key ingredient was missing, thus affecting several dishes in the special menu was a big disappointment for customers, and no effort was being made to buy the product elsewhere. Other past discoveries include things such as, sleeping security staff, car sales consultants wearing flip flops, closed shops during opening hours, etc. It should also be noted that we recorded some amazing customer experiences as well!
Is there a big picture to the insights?
Menno: New technologies and advanced analytics have the potential to create an exceptional customer experience. The bigger picture for insights can be found in the quality of the insight. But becoming more and more important is the timing in which we can share these insights with clients. With social media, a negative experience is shared to a large audience faster then you can snap your fingers. The real challenge is knowing what data to use for a specific objective and how to move from great insights to great customer experiences.
There you have it from our Insights Manager himself. Definately a lot to reflect on.
Have you come across any interesting customer service experiences, that you would consider an insight? Share it with us on our Social Media pages.