Wednesday, April 25, 2018

When It Comes to Market Research, It's All About The Experience


In a world where the perfect Instagram photo is more valuable than a souvenir from a vacation destination, the value and importance of a good customer experience have skyrocketed. Anyone has the power to tweet a bad experience to the world. People and businesses are watching. Entire organizations are restructuring to cater to the customer experience and major investments to improve the customer journey are being made across all industries.

The shift in market research towards customer experience research is a direct result of these changing trends. Although standard online surveys can capture the basics of a customer experience, tracking the entire customer journey in a way that is easy to analyze and react to is now the gold standard for customer experience research. Successful feedback and tracking programs are heavily baked into the business culture. Designated roles and tasks are assigned to ensure every customer journey has a positive outcome. Customer experience is accountability in action.

If you are interested in shifting from customer surveys to a customer experience program, here are key components needed in order to implement a successful CX program:

1. Know your customer journey and when you want to engage them
From presales to post sales, it is important to understand the level of engagement customers may want to have with you. This includes knowing when and where they are looking at information, who are they talking to, which networks they may be a part of, etc. Depending on your business, some of these suggestions may feel intrusive, but some may make perfect business sense. Any time direct interaction is made is a perfect way to track experiences to determine the next steps for the customer and the appropriate action for the organization to work on. From a technological standpoint, it's important to know the perfect touch points for feedback. Mobilize the conversation by in delivering feedback opportunities to track in-the-moment experiences via smartphones and use frontline workers to capture qualitative feedback. 

2. Track experiences - not just transactions
Do you track what people are saying about you on Google reviews or Yelp? Checking it periodically doesn't count. When customers are free to use open platforms to share their experience via words or video, a proper cx program will include monitoring peer review sites as well as other experiences other than post-purchase transactions. Both have equal impact on revenue. A great example is Starbucks closing 8,000 stores for racial bias training. Folks didn't have to buy a latte to form an opinion on this situation, but it is equally important for Starbucks to address this properly for the sake of its global brand and long-term revenue projections.

3. Use experiences to deepen relationships
A while back, some friends and I were driving through Provo, UT on the way back to Washington state when our car stopped working. We didn't know anyone in town and started calling all local auto stores to see who could help us figure out what to do. We happened to call Les Shwab when the manager was about to close the shop, and he drove out to our car on the side of the freeway, found what was wrong, and immediately fixed it within 45 mins. What a miracle! Later, I found that Les Shwab has the policy to help customers to the best of their ability no matter the situation. This manager made a lasting lifelong impression on me. It's important to remember that no two journeys are the same no matter how much you want to anticipate expected reactions and outcomes. This as an opportunity to deepen your relationship and create a meaningful experience that can have lasting impressions. Being able to identify customers who can enjoy offering feedback would make for a great opportunity to create an online community or panel. Feedback in exchange for exclusive engagement experiences while ensuring a positive customer journey is a win-win for both the panelist and your organization. Look for tools like SurveyAnalytics that can support a customer experience program and integrated online communities.

4. Tell a story about the customer journey with data
Data doesn't make sense unless it tells a sensible story to the people who want to read or hear about it. An NPS score of 15 in 2017 vs a 4 in 2016 will mean nothing unless you supply context and supportive visualization tools. What if in 2016 you had 100 customers, but in 2017 only had 70 customers? Even if the NPS grew year or year, there is an area of failure that must be addressed. As market researchers, it is our job to interpret and deliver impactful reports that make it easier for decision-makers to do their jobs. When we spark a reaction, then that means we told the story well. Find a customer experience tool that allows you to build customized reports that automatically trigger actionary steps for various teams within an organization. 

To learn more about the customer experience program, contact SurveyAnalytics to get started today.