Infographics: making customer feedback meaningful

Can infographics increase the value of customer feedback? Collecting customer feedback is relatively straightforward, yet the probability of someone successfully acting on it depends on how well it’s communicated within a company. Could infographics help get the message across?

Few people give much thought to the sharing of feedback. The typical approach is to send out a spreadsheet of data or a pack of PowerPoint slides. Although these have a purpose when considering detailed data analysis, we are all increasingly working in a data rich, time poor environment. So many employees just need to know the headlines of what customers feel about the product and services they receive. They can always dig deeper, but we have to know the big picture so we know what to look for within the data.

So what are infographics?

We would define them as graphic representations of information, data or knowledge, arranged to present complex information quickly and clearly. Infographics exploit human cognition. They take advantage of our ability to see patterns and trends. The process of creating infographics is variously known as data visualisation, information design, or information architecture.

The example infographic below highlights although 95% of businesses seek customer feedback, an ever decreasing percentage communicate it effectively, or act upon it, or communicate actions back to customers, yet customers are still asked for their feedback!

The starting point for infographics is the audience. People assimilate information in different ways: by sound and touch as well as sight. Some of us are happier with numbers; others prefer pictures. If you want to get your message across, you have to know what works for your audience. In practice, it’s probably a combination of all three methods: aural, tactile, and visual.

So what’s the best way to develop effective infographics?

1. Understand your audience and their communication needs. That’ll tell you whether infographics will be helpful and what style would work best: charts, graphs, pie charts, diagrams, flow charts or a spot of interactivity.

2. Employ someone who marries design skills with the ability to interpret your data. Information can be useful and graceful but only if it’s well-designed. There are two main visual approaches. One converts raw data into something that makes visual sense – usually a graph or chart. The other uses a visual metaphor – an illustration that captures the essence of the data.

3. Check that your images are meaningful to your audience, and that they reinforce your brand.

4. Make it stand out. Pat one-liners such as ‘customer is king’ have become office wallpaper, unnoticed and unread. Your designer should find a fresh narrative for the infographic – a way of clarifying the data, explaining a process, or highlighting a trend.

5. Keep the information up to date. Each time you gain a new customer insight, communicate it in the infographics. And if you’ve taken action, put it into the imagery.

6. Avoid too much text. In an age of information overload the infographic should guide people through the clutter straight to the point. A good rule of thumb for infographics is two-thirds graphics, one-third text.

7. Layer your information. Establish an information hierarchy, led by a hero / feature piece that engages readers and encourages them to discover more.

8. Be accurate. There’s no point improving communications if the message is wrong.

9. Test your infographic before you publish it. Check that it’s readable, understandable, and meaningful.

Putting all of the above into practice the following is an example of effective use of an infographic designed by Creative Triangle to support Air New Zealand in its recent move into the new Terminal 2 at Heathrow.

Customer Champions have worked with design agency Creative Triangle to help employees understand customer feedback and to communicate survey findings and associated actions. If you’d like to find out how infographics could help you communicate, please get in touch.

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