Recent market conditions such as inflation and a volatile economy are forcing consumers to rethink their spending choices and brands need to take notice. The good news is that according to McKinsey’s 2022 State of Customer Care Survey, improving the customer experience is the fastest-growing priority area for customer care leaders.
However, in order to be successful, the customer experience needs to be approached holistically making sure that investments in experiences at every stage are addressed. Providing one uniform, high quality customer experience requires understanding what people need, sometimes before they even know it themselves.
Fortunately, customer feedback methods have come a long way in delivering the voice of the customer across teams and departments and at every level of the business. Using agile research methods, companies can surface insights faster and share the data across the entire organization, thereby democratizing the research process.
Organizations that have had success in democratizing insights save hours off every interview and deliver better insights to drive key business decisions. The impact of delivering a better customer experience on a company’s bottom line can’t be underestimated. Research from McKinsey reveals that improving the customer experience has increased sales revenues by 2% to 7% and profitability by 1% to 2%.
Democratizing the Research Process
So, how are these companies moving beyond surveys that give you the how, to online research platforms that help them understand the “why” and provide a more holistic approach to market research? They are conducting qualitative research at a quantitative scale to accelerate time to insights, using technology to centralize the research process, and understanding how and when customers want to share feedback.
More and more, customers are experiencing survey fatigue, getting pinged for feedback every time they make a purchase. This doesn’t mean surveys are not important, but companies must look to combine the quantitative data from surveys with more qualitative methods that allow customers to give feedback more authentically and easily for greater impact.
Qualitative Research at a Quantitative Scale
The digitization of market research is helping companies do qualitative research at a quantitative scale, for a more in-depth understanding of the customer experience. For example:
- Researchers can easily capture snippets of conversations to see and hear customer feedback first-hand.
- Insights and highlights can be shared across teams and being able to do this with one click means the insights can be truly understood by a much broader group of people.
- More people within your organization can create and consume research through a holistic approach that can be a game changer.
Centralized Research and Insights
Technology is also providing a platform from which researchers can access tools to facilitate the scheduling and coordination for all the people who might be involved in customer feedback sessions. This provides many benefits, including:
- Ensuring that participants and those new to a project never have technical issues with automated tech checks and accessible support.
- Leveraging artificial intelligence technology can enable auto-generation of transcripts and the ability to quickly search and find recordings using keywords or themes.
- Built in text analytics to easily understand respondent sentiment about those themes and in general.
- Seeing and hearing these feedback sessions and insights to get a more complete picture of the customer’s perspective.
Expanded Options for Customer Feedback Tools
It is important for companies to get feedback by meeting customers where they are – whether that’s in-person, online or via their mobile device. Customers are more likely to share feedback if they can do it in a way that is convenient and comfortable for them. Consider allowing customers to share their perspective across a variety of mediums including:
- Participating in focus groups or one-on-one interviews either in-person or online with other respondents
- Using a mobile device to share their experience
- Recording their feedback via self-capture video
By adopting these approaches to market research, companies can have continuous conversations with customers, and, as their attitudes and habits change, can be assured that they are making informed decisions based on more in-depth feedback instead of just a few conversations.
Customer expectations and preferences are constantly changing making it harder for companies to keep up. Those that are agile and able to quickly deliver insights and gain a more holistic view of the customer experience on a consistent basis will come out ahead. Customer-centric organizations that truly understand their customers’ needs are more likely to have increased profitability, higher customer retention and to beat the competition.