Improving Customer Experiences with Market Research
Read to discover:
- The most common customer experience research methodologies
- Why customer experience research needs to be agile and continuous
- The ROI of research and how it leads to increased loyalty & retention
Do you know how satisfied your customers are? Delighting your customers with quality products and services, impeccable customer support, and continual innovation is key to the long-term success of your business. According to The Harvard Business Review, increasing customer retention rates by 5% can increase profits by a whopping 25-95%. Although most companies understand that customer experiences matter, it can be difficult to truly understand and measure their experiences.
Luckily, customer experience market research can give businesses of all sizes the insights they need to understand their customers, improve their products and operations, and create brand loyalty that stands the test of time. With customer experience (CX) research, you can understand what drives your customer’s behavior, what features/benefits they crave, how you can stand out amongst the competition, and how you can optimize their journey for ultimate satisfaction. This article will discuss the importance of market research for CX, the different methods for collecting data, how to stay agile in an ever-changing business landscape, and the return on investment (ROI) of CX research.
Common Customer Experience Market Research Methods to Better Understand Your Customers
In order to meet or even exceed your customer’s expectations, you must understand who your customers are and what they are looking for in the products and services they purchase. Market research, specifically CX, helps businesses take a deep dive into their customer’s demographics, minds, motivations, and purchasing behaviors. With the knowledge collected from CX research, brands can fine-tune their product and service offerings to meet their target market’s current and future needs. Here are the methods that CX researchers use to capture this rich data.
Have you ever received a text message from a friend and felt unsure about what kind of tone they were conveying? While face-to-face conversations allow people to see gestures, facial expressions and hear the tone of voice, digital communication makes deciphering sentiment nearly impossible. Just like text between friends, sentiment tracking helps businesses uncover their customers’ true feelings towards their products, services, marketing campaigns, and more. Researchers can use a sentiment analysis tool to determine the tone, intent, and emotion behind customer messages for accurate CX analysis. Sentiment tracking is crucial for brands that engage with customers on social media, text, live chat, and e-mail, where it can be challenging to understand the sentiment behind the customer’s words.
Sentiment analysis allows brands to learn more about customer perception using qualitative feedback. By leveraging an automated system to analyze text-based conversations, businesses can get to the heart of their customers’ needs.
The only constant in this world is change, and businesses that fail to innovate will fail to retain their market share. A critical component of customer delight is providing that “Wow” factor with products and services; To achieve that “Wow,” however, businesses must continually innovate. However, innovation without data can lead to disastrous results, poor sales, and products/services that customers don’t want. To achieve the best results, brands should consider innovation testing to test new business ideas, new services, new strategies, new campaigns, and new offerings before launching them to the public.
Companies must move away from guessing what their customers want and push towards data-driven business decisions. Innovation testing can help them achieve the latter and craft comprehensive business strategies that continuously align with customers’ needs, wants, and preferences, even as they evolve.
Customer perceptions are not static; they change with society, culture, and current events. Brands that are not aware of what their competitors are doing may quickly become outdated as similar companies offer better products and services that meet the market’s current needs. With competitor tracking, competitive analysis, company profiles, real-world case studies, and market trends reports, companies can identify important industry trends and opportunities to stay ahead of the competition.
Competitor tracking allows brands to understand the key players in their industry, what customers like/dislike about competitors’ offerings, what marketing strategies other companies are using, what customer expectations are, and how they have shifted over time.
Customer Journey Mapping
Another critical component of customer experience market research is customer journey mapping. When a customer purchases an item, multiple steps lead them to that point. Perhaps they saw a social media ad, clicked through to a website, browsed product categories, left the website, came back later via Google, looked at specific items, purchased an item, and received a product order confirmation. Each one of these steps is an integral part of the customer journey. CX research aims to understand the entire customer journey by measuring every touchpoint and stop along the way.
With customer journey mapping, researchers create a customer journey map, i.e., a visual story of a customer’s interactions with your brand, from awareness to consideration, purchase, and beyond. This research tool helps businesses step into their customer’s shoes and see any bottlenecks or areas for improvement from the customer’s perspective. It allows brands to gather insights into common customer pain points and how to improve.
Customer journey mapping is essential because it helps researchers understand customer expectations to optimize or personalize their experience.
Why Consumer Experience Market Research Needs To Be Continuous
Businesses of all sizes in all industries need to understand their customers in real-time to provide the best experiences, products, and services that will leave their competition in the dust. Gone are the days of formulaic and lengthy market research campaigns that quickly go stale. Companies that utilize agile market research focus on what is working for their customers right now and what isn’t.
With agile CX research, companies continuously collect data to incorporate customer and employee needs into products, communications, and services. By understanding what their audience wants and needs with real-time qualitative agile research, they can quickly make decisions that lead to long-term success. When implemented, new products are launched rapidly, changes to existing products are made swiftly, and new ideas are vetted more efficiently.
ROI Of CX Research: Increasing Customer Loyalty With MR
One of the main benefits of customer experience market research is that it uncovers the underlying motivations behind consumer purchase decisions. Customers are the heartbeat of every organization. From product performance to market penetration and beyond, the success of your business is determined by the satisfaction of your customers.
How can your brand drive customer-centricity to deliver optimal results? More and more often, the answer we hear is community. Online communities have become the #1 tool for major brands to put the customer at the center of every business strategy. Learn more with our downloadable e-book, Driving Customer Centricity with Online Communities.