Technology has fundamentally changed everything – from how we shop to how we understand consumers.
We’re living in an age when brands are increasingly accessible to consumers, thanks to the growth of new touch-points and the rapid development of social media – the customer and brand relationship has never been so important.
The growing bond between brands and their customers means consumers increasingly want to feedback on their experiences – good and bad. It’s marked a turning point for customer research. No longer can brands afford continually to look back, as has always been the case with traditional research, but instead need to look at the here and now and their live customer experiences. Without real-time feedback, there’s a very real possibility that brands will be left behind.
Focusing on outcomes, not just measurement
The issue with classic market research is time. By the time you’ve completed a traditional research cycle – looking at sampling, fieldwork, analysis and interpretation – you could have lost thousands of customers through poor experiences which could have been acted upon by customer-facing operational teams who, let’s face it, are at best disengaged and at worse disconnected from your “centralised” customer research programme.
The real power of “live” customer feedback is an ability to do something about it – and instantly. If negative feedback is captured, the tools now exist for brands to filter this feedback to staff to act on and proactively step in when things do occasionally go wrong.
Research is no longer just a survey – it’s a way of working
Gathering customer feedback today requires a simple, but tailored, layered approach that first identifies key customer journeys and establishes the “moment of truth” within those journeys. Brands must listen at each customer interaction throughout one of their many multichannel journeys.
Doing so provides an overview not only of the entire customer experience, but which interactions are creating value or destroying expectations. It means you’ll be able to take action immediately with the team responsible, as well as rescue those potentially disgruntled customers in real time.
At eDigitalResearch we strongly believe in creating a customer culture where all employees are empowered with both the information and authority to take action using real-time feedback. Think of it like this, market research is not a centrally owned survey, but a democratised way of working to listen, interpret and delight customers.
It’s not to say that strategic business planning no longer has a place in today’s modern business. Right now, the team at eDigitalResearch are analysing large datasets and identifying which key levers to pull to improve the customer experience and return on investment for a range of global brands.
The key is doing this simultaneously with real-time feedback so your customer-facing teams have the tools to act, and your board have the information to plan and invest in structural change.
The future is here
You’ll hear a lot talk in the research world these days about CEM or customer experience management. But don’t fall down the trap of complex, traditional survey programmes or overcomplicated technology that hinders, not helps, your front-line staff.
Instead, look for a partner who understands commercial businesses need simple, cost-effective and tailored ways of listening, interpreting and delighting your customers.
As originally seen in ‘Future of Market Research’ published by Raconteur Media on 28/07/2015 in The Times
For more information on the digital customer experience, visit eDigitalResearch.com/eretail.