There’s a massive gap between the experiences consumers want and what organizations are giving them. According to Bain and Co, 80% of organizations feel like they are providing a great experience, yet only 8% of customers actually agree. Failing to bridge the gap can be costly.

In fact, 80%of customers have opted to switch brands due to poor experiences. If you consider that costs for finding a new customer can be up to 25 times more expensive than simply retaining an existing one, focusing on a great customer experience can pay off. Before you know what areas to improve you need to do some customer experience research to understand your customer experience, and what factors move your customer satisfaction metrics

Research throughout the customer lifecycle

To fully engage with your customers, it’s important to understand them at every stage of the customer journey. Organizations can perform different types of research during each stage of the customer lifecycle to understand exactly what their customers experience, from the moment they discover the product to becoming loyal enthusiasts

Awareness

Attracting new customers begins with understanding what makes your business and company different. This is where competitive research and website optimization come into play.

  • Competitive benchmarking– Illuminates the strengths and weaknesses of your brand and each of your competitors. Survey your customers and customers from each of your top competitors to identify (or solidify) your competitive advantages.
  • Website feedback– Helps you know if your prospects can find the information they need or if there are items or processes that are missing. Randomly survey a subset of your web visitors or be very thoughtful about the types of interactions you want to understand better.

Consideration

Understanding what factors drive preference for your brand over your competitors’ brands will help you maximize consideration.

  • Post-interaction survey– Help you learn from your mistakes and increase your odds of the customer choosing you over the competition. Post-interaction surveys can come in the form of website interactions (shopping cart abandonment, navigation research, etc.) or after an in-person interaction.
  • Competitive wallet allocation relationship– Helps you understand which brands your customers prefer and why. Ask your customers to rank your brand and any other brands they use in the same category and then ask follow-up questions to get more information.

Decision

Customer decisions – even ones that don’t go your way provide an excellent opportunity to learn how to improve and increase your chances to capture future customers.

  • Customer feedback– Capture feedback about the overall experience. Ask about how the prospect learned about you, what additional information may be helpful to help them make decisions, what impacted their decisions, and ultimately, why they did or did not select your brand.
  • Win/loss analysis– A deep dive into reasons why you won or lost a customer. Ask your prospects a series of questions about their purchase decisions including the experience with your staff, pricing expectations, product features and more.
  • Online purchase feedback– This can shed light on the user-friendliness of your website and the overall experience for your customers. You may ask questions about how easy the process was, if the customer was able to find the product easily, and suggestions for improvement.
  • Location purchase feedback– Understanding in-person interactions can provide insights into what attracts or drives away customers from your store. You might ask questions about store organization, staff friendliness, cleanliness, product selection, etc.

Use

Understanding how your customers interact with your products can provide valuable insights into new opportunities to delight and retain your customers or to maximize your profits.

  • Event feedbackEvent feedback is simply capturing your customers’ experiences to make sure your event aligns to their needs and objectives. You may want to ask about feedback for sessions, content, logistics, or just overall impressions.
  • Implementation and onboarding– Implementations often determine the success or failure of your project. Collect feedback after status meetings, following major milestones, post-training, etc.
  • Customer relationship single brand– Understanding how customer satisfaction rates differ between products or services gives you an idea of what you need to rally around to become more customer-centric. Ask questions about the customer’s satisfaction with individual products.

Support

Capturing data during the support phase helps ensure that you can identify and correct for consistent bad experiences to protect or even enhance your brand.

  • Transactional NPSNet Promotor Score (NPS) is an industry benchmark that measures customer loyalty. Send your customers an NPS survey after every support interaction or at the conclusion of other major customer touchpoints like implementation sign-off.
  • Customer effort scoreCustomer Effort Score (CES) is an industry benchmark that measures the amount of effort a customer exerts to get his issue resolved. Ask a question like: “To what extent do you agree with the following statement: The company made it easy for me to handle my issue.”

Growth

At the growth stage, your focus is around retaining and upselling to your existing customer base or creating a loyalty program.

  • Relational NPS– Gives you insights into how your brand is performing as a whole and if your customers have a positive or negative perception of you. Like transactional NPS, you can ask follow-up questions to your customers after they provide a rating to get deeper insights into what is going well or not so well within your organization. – See our predesigned relational NPS project.
  • Customer satisfaction scoreCustomer Satisfaction (CSAT) is an industry benchmark that measures how satisfied the customer is with your products and services. Ask a question like: “How would you rate your overall satisfaction with the [product/service] you received?”
  • Loyalty program– Loyalty research focuses on measuring the effectiveness of your loyalty rewards program. Ask a question like: “How satisfied or unsatisfied are you with your overall experience with our loyalty rewards program?”

Customer research insights fuel growth

Putting the customer first is more than a platitude. Customer centricity drives profits — from enticing prospects to pick your brand to retaining your best customer long-term and increasing customer lifetime value. In fact, customer experience leaders see market growth that is four to eight percent faster than the market.

Customer research gives you vital insights to improve your customer centricity and reap the advantages of loyalty. A major customer experience program helps you close the loop at scale and track performance throughout an organization

Do you want more information on researching and reaching your customers? Download the Qualtrics eBook 16 Ways to Capture and Capitalize on Customer Insights. You’ll learn 16 different research methods to use along the customer lifecycle, so you can capture insights across each stage and attract, retain, and grow relationships with your customers.

eBook:16 Ways to Capture and Capitalize on Customer Insights

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