Searching for a deeper understanding of the customer experience.
In 2018, increasingly more companies will base the way they operate, evolve and plan for growth all on the customer experience. This will have a significant impact on market research as brand stakeholders demand more qualitative data, an in depth look at the entire customer journey and insightful analyses integrating data from multiple sources.
Other factors influencing research methods include changing customer expectations, expanding social conversations and technological advancements that instigate change at an ever-accelerating rate.
Here are five ways market research is evolving to deliver smarter, more holistic research with deeper customer experience insights.
1. Shift from quantitative to qualitative.
Historically, the research pendulum has swung back and forth between the quantitative (how staff meet set standards) and qualitative (how a brand is perceived by its customers). With the current “single minded” focus on developing a customer-centric culture, the pendulum is now heavily anchored in favor of qualitative, and will most likely stay there for a while. Although still interested in measuring quantitative standards, companies today are paying far more attention to the consumer perspective—what are their customers thinking, feeling, doing and why.
At BARE International, we have long emphasized to our mystery shoppers the need to remain objective in their evaluations. Today, we’ve added a qualitative component to the survey, asking for their thoughts, feelings and reactions to their experiences. To give clients a better understanding of their customers’ perceptions, our reports have become more intuitive and richer in feedback.
2. Evaluate the complete customer journey.
To develop a customer-centric culture, companies need to embed customer journeys into their operating models. They must identify the journeys in which they need to excel, understand how they are currently performing in each, build cross-functional processes to support those journeys, and institute cultural change and continuous improvements.
To fully understand the customer experience, research can no longer focus on one transaction, but must evaluate the complete journey. Research should enable brand stakeholders to understand broader reasons for the transaction, address root causes of any problems, and create feedback loops to continuously improve interactions upstream and downstream from the transaction.
Measuring performance standards and customer perspectives through multiple touch points along the journey provides the data companies need to initiate change and growth. At BARE, we not only measure many strategically selected touch points in our client evaluations, but also in completing competitor analyses.
3. Become part of the customer experience.
Effective research should not only provide brand stakeholders true insights about their customers’ journey, but also play a positive role in the customer experience. When research becomes more of a conversation between customers and brands, it helps build long-term relationships, gathering feedback while enhancing the overall experience.
Bare has shopper panel capabilities whereby we can collect quick pulse data to support client decisions. By sending out a single question concerning general industry information or a company specific product/service to our designated panels, we can collect hundreds of responses within hours. That immediate, direct consumer feedback is invaluable.
4. Facilitate analysis with faster, more meaningful, customized metrics.
With social media and today’s technology, news travels at lightning speed; complaints travel even faster. Whether through social channels or rating sites, consumers feel empowered knowing they can have an impact—and a better chance of being heard—if they complain publicly. When a company gets it right, there’s a huge benefit from the positive conversation. Get it wrong, and it’s a P.R. disaster.
So to be effective, brand stakeholders need information as it’s happening and market research needs to evolve constantly to keep up. At BARE International, we’re always looking ahead for new ways to ensure data is accessible as soon as possible. We provide short survey feedback within hours, and typically deliver full reports within couple days. We were the first in the industry to add immediate feedback triggers that allow designated client management to receive on the spot notifications if a mystery customer finds an issue.
Data not only needs to be delivered quickly, but also in a format that enables brand stakeholders to easily interpret and grasp implications. Using the latest data visualization techniques, Bare’s customizable dashboard integrates customer metrics from multiple sources to create a broader, more accurate analysis. Easy to navigate, the dashboard enables companies to draw comparisons, track progress, and make changes based on informed decisions.
5. Anticipate. Update. Innovate.
In a world where change occurs faster than ever, trends can develop in hours rather than weeks or months. At BARE International, we don’t react to change; we plan for it. That means staying flexible, creative and on top of new trends as they happen.
Bare has access to 500,000+ mystery shoppers around the world. Each one of these shoppers is also a customer making purchases in a wide range of industries. With this constant influx of global information, we see trends as they emerge and anticipate changes that will follow.
In 2018, market research needs to be a fluid tool easily adaptable to new variables and unique requests, a tool that cultivates more meaningful communication between companies and their customers. BARE takes it a step further as we look at innovations in behavioral analytics, predictive analytics and speech analytics.
The value of understanding your customers’ experience
Creating a customer-centric culture is fast becoming necessary for survival. Achieving this goal successfully relies on research that measures the consumer journey, evaluates processes and brand standards, assesses employee response, and tracks consumer experience consistently around the world. Ensure your customer experience research is staying ahead of curve and delivering all you need. Consider partnering with Bare, a firm that has long pioneered the way
Lynne Brighton, Senior Vice President — North America, BARE International
703-995-3133 • LBrighton@bareinternational.com