Customers are at the heart of all business operations. At least, they should be. Research shows that it’s five times more expensive for companies to attract a new customer than it is for them to retain an old one, making it paramount that companies maintain good relationships with the people they already serve if they want to really maximize their ROI. Certainly, customer retention has become the cornerstone for good business practice. But just how do companies retain customers? Of course, they have to offer quality products; no one wants shoddy goods, after all! But an even greater component of the customer retention equation is ensuring that customers remain engaged and satisfied across their buying journey. Any gap between what customers expect from a company and what they actually get must be monitored and then closed so that customers stay committed to buying a company’s goods time and time again.
With this in mind, the majority of market research projects nowadays have at least some element of their design dedicated to understanding the ways in which customers interact with a brand. Specifically called “customer experience research” (CXR), this type of market research strives to identify, collect and analyze data about the touchpoints a company has throughout a buyer’s decision-making process. Every time a customer visits a company’s website or calls its customer service or sees its advertisements; every time he or she notices a logo or speaks with a salesman; indeed, every time a customer communicates with a company is an opportunity for that company (and its associated brands) to make a lasting impression on that customer. Hopefully, these touchpoints are positive, reinforcing loyalty. But even when they’re negative experiences, they can guide companies to solutions for making themselves better. Business executives need feedback to preserve the interactions that are working for customers and make changes around the ones that don’t.
How to Conduct Customer Experience Research
Because customer experience is based on customer perception, it’s important that companies are aware of their customers’ thoughts and feelings, not just their purchases; every interaction a customer has with a company affects his or her attitude about its overall brand. Thus, measuring the details from those interactions can give insight into a business’s chances for long-term success. In addition to ranking specific company offerings against overall customer satisfaction, here are some of the most pertinent areas for companies to explore:
- Business Context
General knowledge of the market as a whole is necessary for anticipating, comprehending and then meeting customer needs.
- Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
Metrics such as Likelihood to Recommend, Net Promoter Score (NPS), Overall Satisfaction, Response and Wait Times and Overall Value Delivered are just some of the indicators used to measure company success. By assigning a number to represent elements of the customer experience, companies can more easily discern patterns of behavior.
- Unaided Strengths and Weaknesses
Companies can get a good feel for overall customer satisfaction by asking open-ended questions about their experiences. It’s difficult to know what you don’t know, so giving customers the opportunity to bring forward their own concerns can help companies know where to begin any changes.
Ready to Learn More?
The customer experience is quickly becoming the most important indicator of business success, making customer experience research a valuable and necessary investment for companies wanting to maintain market share, relevancy and growth. If you would like more information about using customer experience research to improve your ROI, contact our team at Communications for Research (CFR).
For specialized information regarding B2B customer experience research, check out our free eBook, “How to Strengthen Your B2B Customer Experience with Marketing Research.” In it, we give a detailed outline for evaluating the experiences of your B2B customers so that you can leverage your company’s products and procedures in the best way possible.