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Insights should surprise and inspire: lessons from E.ON at QUAL360 Europe

At conferences in Amsterdam and Berlin last year, leaders of the E.ON customer insights team caught the industry’s attention by describing how their insights platform, the Insights Library, saved their organization a whopping 23 million Euros per year. A success story worth repeating.

That kind of ROI could only come, they said, by effectively eliminating the time people spend searching for answers to their business question. Jonas Schleeberger, Customer Data Analyst and Project Manager in the Global Customer Market Insights team at E.ON presented an update at QUAL360, on the growing success story, showing that in addition to the ROI that had already been reported, the platform has seen 70% year on year growth in usage.

Ease of access to insights

According to Jonas, the best way to make insights have a long-lasting effect on the organization is to make sure they “surprise and inspire.” Too often, he says, internal stakeholders come to the insights team to ask for insights that confirm a decision they’ve already made.

Gartner agrees – they’ve found that 53% of business managers cherry-pick information to make their case, or search for data to support a decision a stakeholder has made while conflicting data points and information that’s hard to understand are ignored (2018 Gartner Synthesis Insights Survey).

A key step to addressing the cherry-picking (or “post-rationalization” as Jonas calls it) is to make insights easier to consume and use. With the 70% year on year growth of the Insights Library, E.ON has found the key: storytelling. At E.ON, champion community of insights experts who curate knowledge on strategic topics in Knowledge Zones.

Bring the customer to you

For example, the “Customers Unfiltered” initiative ensured that executives are keenly aware of the customer’s voice. A knowledge zone on their Insights Library provides innovative and engaging storytelling, based on customers’ and call centre employees’ voices, to put customer insights at the fingertips of the people who wouldn’t normally come face-to-face with customers and their needs.

The Insights Library bypasses the cherry-picking culture by providing all the answers before firm hypotheses are formed – even the answers that people don’t necessarily want to hear.

Enriching quantitative with qualitative

One of the big trends in qualitative research is the interdependence of research – gone are the days where results are presented in isolation. Qualitative research is a necessary foundation to enrich and develop driver models measured on a quantitative level, says Jonas.

An NPS score is a valuable piece of information – but it’s even more valuable when it’s linked to other data sources, whether business intelligence or social listening data.

This deep understanding of the interplay between quant and qual is what propels E.ON to the next level of customer-centricity. A business manager at E.ON may see a rising NPS score for the young family segment in Berlin, which they could then explore further by looking at the drivers discovered in qualitative research, like low-cost heating bills or energy-efficient home initiatives.

The next step would be to add social listening to discover how people are talking about E.ON and the competition – resulting in a rich relationship between quantitative, qualitative, and business intelligence.

Keeping users engaged

The customer insights team at E.ON works hard to keep users engaged, and it shows – the staggering growth numbers speak for themselves. They focus on engaging with internal “influencers,” those heavy users who help spread the word about the value of the platform among their internal networks.

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