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Data alone doesn’t paint a full picture of what customers want

September 12, 2012

Home Blog Data alone doesn’t paint a full picture of what customers want

A Harvard Business Review blog post argues that collecting data about customers does not help businesses get to know their customers. The authors state that collecting data on a customer simply provides “what” the customer is doing, and not “why” they are doing it.

The authors go on to note that it is import to understand “customers as people— nuanced, dynamic, [and] unpredictable” instead of just “collections of data.”

My initial reaction was to disagree. Providing client information to businesses can help strengthen relationships and keep businesses on top of important customer issues.

But, as the opinions asserted in the post sunk in, I started to agree. Cold, hard data is difficult to analyze. It doesn’t tell a story on its own. But having an analyst who can sort through that data is an invaluable asset. An analyst who knows a business’ customers inside and out from looking at the data all day doesn’t just regurgitate data; that analyst interprets the data and gives voice to the customers’ actions.

With that said, there is room for the “what,” because without it, we would not be able to get to the “why.”


This article was originally published on ShiftCentral, now part of LAC Group.

Mario Thériault

Mario Thériault

Mario Thériault is Chief Business Development Officer and oversees all aspects of LAC Group’s growth strategy, partnership and alliance programs. Prior to LAC’s acquisition of ShiftCentral, Mario served as CEO and continuously evolved the company to emphasize the importance of strategic, curated intelligence to solve clients validated business needs.
Mario Thériault
Questions? Send me a message on our contact us form.

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