Recruiting Insight Analysts
What is the role of an insight analyst and how do they bring value to a business?
There are as many ways for an analyst to bring value to a business as there are types of business.
Each will be unique. Each will have different internal processes, different customer needs, different clients across a huge variety of industries.
But what they will all have in common is data, data that in the right hands can tell a compelling story. One of the challenges is to be able to tell this story in different ways for different audiences. Think of it like sections in a bookstore.
Senior Management are less likely to want the minute details of how the analysis was performed, methodology, the painstaking work that went into creating a beautiful presentation. They want a high-level, simplified look at the key takeouts from your analysis – and a plan for next steps.
This is akin to the kids’ section is our bookstore. Something easy to read, that tells a nice story without going into too much detail.
Key Stakeholders will want to see all that Senior Management have seen, with some extra content, without information overload. Where the data came from, if the analysis can be repeated, how the potential next steps might affect themselves, their teams, and the business as a whole.
This is the young-adult section. Analysis and insight with more detail – but that skips over some of the nitty-gritty of the story.
Now onto the Developers, Designers, Marketers, Customer Service (the teams who will actually take these next steps). They are the ones that want every small detail illuminated, data questioned, information on sample size, the best ways to implement changes based on insights presented, appendices, methodology, all the gory details. They want the full context of the analysis, and to know exactly what the data is saying, and how the insights can be used to improve an aspect of the business.
This is the adult novel section. They want the special addition version, extra chapters, alternate endings…the full story, front to back.
The role of the analyst, is to ensure that the story fits the needs of the audience. And true value is being able to communicate the same story, with the same data, across different areas of the business.
As for the kinds of stories they tell? Well, they are led by the data, and each can bring incredibly valuable insights to a business. Three of the most common are; customer data, internal process data, and web analytics.
Simply put, a better understanding of your customers/clients and what they need will result in a better experience for them. If you don’t know who they are (and therefore what they want), it is impossible to improve what you offer. Whether this is understanding the individual needs of various demographics, such by gender or age, or the seasonality of when different groups are most likely to use your services, these insights provide the option to tailor what you offer them, and when.
There are hundreds of different examples that could be used here to show how an analyst can improve internal process. A simple one, that is likely common to many businesses, is how they handle complaints. By analysing customer satisfaction with complaints (by score) in relation to the issues they faced and the response of the service agent, it is possible to identify areas which are most ‘damaging’ to customer satisfaction (which impacts on Repeat Rate etc) – and highlight potential solutions.
These solutions to common pain-points not only improve customer experience and potentially reduce the volume of complaints, it can also improve internal efficiency and identify potential gaps in training and development.
As nearly all businesses have an online presence, a full understanding of website interaction is vital. Even for businesses whose primary focus is offline, insights into customer behaviour on your website allow you to identify any issues that you would otherwise be unaware of. If visitors have difficulty in finding your contact details, these need to be more prominent to make sure you aren’t missing out on potential business.
If the focus is online, seeing the customer journey through the different pages provides information on pain-points. Where an analyst can bring value is by Identifying where customers are dropping off – is it the search page meaning you don’t have the item they want? The payment page as you don’t support their preferred payment method? And from there suggesting improvements based on the data the story is telling.
In summary, insight analysts shine a light on the unknown. They use the data available to investigate a myriad of issues facing a business, sometimes with a well-defined hypothesis beforehand, and sometimes to solely explore the data and see what jumps out. Both approaches are valuable in their own way, specific to the end-goal of the investigation.
Without this investigation, all the data remains meaningless and business changes remain shots in the dark, not supported by evidence.
Analysis can illuminate previously undiscovered issues, opportunities for growth, insights across different facets of a business, and how it might improve at all levels.
That is where insight analysts bring most value, across whatever department they work in or project they are undertaking. As catalysts for change and improvement based on empirical data. Not just hunches or maybes, but well researched, robust data which tells a clear and engaging story – vital to any business that wants to succeed in the modern marketplace.