Skip to Content

Q&A with #VCSummit speaker Eileen Chen of Keurig Canada

Most business leaders agree that engaging with customers and developing deeper customer relationships translates to better business decisions. But many teams in many organizations often struggle to demonstrate the tangible ROI of customer relationships. At the root of the problem is the ability to measure KPIs that the C-suite actually cares about, and communicating it in a language they understand.

At the 2017 Customer Intelligence Summit, Eileen Chen, customer insights analyst at Keurig Canada, will share some of the strategies she and her team are adopting to address this challenge. In a recent Q&A, she gave us a preview of her session, and shared her thoughts on the impact and influence of consumer insights in the company.

What’s your favorite part about being in a consumer insights role?

One of the most rewarding parts of my role is being able to influence strategy from the get go. If another department requires time-sensitive insight, I can provide that quickly and give them the information they need to make customer-led decisions. A tool like our insight community allows us to engage our customers in the afternoon and get hundreds of responses the next morning. I find it fun when customer feedback debunks our own hypothesis—when the data shows that consumers think the exact opposite of what we had in mind.

I also work closely with many colleagues in sales roles, providing them with insight and data they can use to close deals. My role impacts the bottom line, and I find that fulfilling.

Most importantly, helping people is what motivates me. The insights team here at Keurig really do help people on a day-to-day basis, and I love that about my job.

It’s great to hear that the insight team at Keurig Canada is able to influence strategy. Can you share some of the things you’re doing to make that happen?

Providing proprietary data and insight is a huge part of it. For example, executives often come to us directly and asks us to engage our insight community to guide where we're going. Our culture at Keurig is not just data-driven, but also insight-driven. And because of that, we are seen not just as data crunchers, but thinkers. When they come to us, we give them specific recommendations, not just data.

Open communication with other departments is crucial. For example, when we launched our insight community, we did sessions with other departments to showcase what can be done. Since doing those sessions, other teams been coming to us nonstop. If they are wondering what customers think, they know they can engage our insight community.

You’ve been at Keurig for a couple of years now. What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learned about coffee fanatics so far?

Keurig owners are very passionate about coffee and want their voices to be heard. That helps explain why our response rates are at 30% or higher. It’s not unusual for us to get many paragraphs talking about people’s coffee experience.

Keurig owners are very passionate about coffee and want their voices to be heard.

In one study, we found that many coffee drinkers like to customize their drinks. Some people like to add Bailey’s to their Keurig drip coffee. Some add syrups or even spices.

I was also surprised to learn that the average coffee-drinking Canadian drinks three coffees per day, and 67 percent of Canadians have had a coffee in the last day. I thought two or three per day was already a lot, but apparently many consumers have six to seven coffees a day.

Your session at the our Summit will explore ways of showcasing the ROI of consumer insights to the C-suite. What are the most common challenges and misconceptions consumer insight pros have about ROI?

The first misconception is that consumer insights is a merely a service provider. From my experience at Keurig, consumer insights has a lot of pull in the organization—perhaps more than people give it credit for. Researchers can change the direction of the company because we're bringing the voice of the consumer. We should not underestimate that power.

From my experience at Keurig, consumer insights has a lot of pull in the organization—perhaps more than people give it credit for.

That said, we need to be advocates for customer-centricity. Sometimes that means convincing your colleagues in other departments that their gut feeling is wrong. You have to stand your ground, show them the data and encourage them to listen to consumers.

As for ROI, sales would be the most salient and most relevant measurement. At the Summit, I’ll share how consumer insights influenced a massive packaging change in one of our product lines and what we’re doing to track the impact of that change. Because our recommendation was adopted across all products, we have the ability to quantify afterwards to see if the change improves sales.