By: Roddy Knowles, Product Evangelist, DISQO
How well you understand your customers and how well you keep them close to business decisions determines whether your product expands or contracts. Keep reading to learn why centering your business around the customer experience matters now more than ever - and why a single approach to improving CX won’t get you there.
Who is considered a customer?
Customer insights can benefit tremendously from simply expanding the way you define your customers. Traditionally, the definition of a customer is a person or organization that buys your product or service. However, this definition is quite narrow. Ask yourself… who am I building my product for? In addition to the customers that currently use your product, think about the customers you maybe once had (and want to win back), along with the customers that you would like to have, now and in the future. Using this broader framework ensures you are conducting comprehensive research that drives real results.
Research as a process, not a project
When asking questions about how to approach research - or which method to choose - the answer choices are not binary. It’s not “either or” and there is no one right approach. Instead, it’s best to think of research as a process, and one that involves continual iteration. Customers are changing everyday, which is why we must constantly get their feedback… fast.
Data that takes too long to collect, and in turn becomes stale and of limited utility, is a common pitfall. And in today’s world where speed to insights is critical, “too long” can mean days or even hours. Key decision makers aren’t getting the data they need fast enough and are often forced to make business decisions based on assumptions. Why? Often because they’re not asking questions of and about their customers and they aren’t approaching research with an agile mindset. If the goal is to build impactful and meaningful customer experiences, existing and future customers should be at the center of all business decisions, big or small. And the best way to keep up with the pace of today’s customers is with agile research.
Asking your customers the right questions on a regular basis will allow you to make informed decisions based on real insights and data, not assumptions (Pro tip: when conducting research, maximize your results by keeping these five customer motivators for CX research top of mind). Plus, leveraging an agile research platform (such as Feedback Loop by DISQO) ensures you can gather insights from customers quickly and continually.
Connect and communicate
To understand customers in a way that is most impactful, it’s critical to collaborate with and align different teams in your organization that benefit from being closer to your customers’ experiences. Today, research work can be extremely siloed within companies, despite sharing a common goal of better understanding your customers to improve their experiences.
Nonetheless, without visibility into other teams’ research initiatives, you are actually limiting your view on the customer experience and potentially missing out on valuable information. By first connecting internally with others who are also trying to learn more about your customers, you gain a better sense of data that already exists and can identify gaps in understanding that need to be bridged.
Understanding the different objectives, tools, and methodologies that cross-functional counterparts are using is necessary to see the full picture, not just parts of it. You need to know how other people at your company are trying to understand customers’ experiences.
For example, the CX team might prioritize net promoter score and feedback from existing customers through transactional surveys, while others on the UX team focus more on pain points and solving usability problems. On the other hand, a market researcher might use research for market sizing and segmentation to enable better marketing, as opposed to someone on the business team who works with customers regularly and needs insights to drive commercial conversations and drive revenue but may not have a research background.
Acknowledge the potential limitations of each individual method or process, and then decide how to combine these different approaches in a way that complements each other. As a result, the collective team is closer to customers and most importantly, the customers are closer to business decisions.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Roddy Knowles, Product Evangelist, DISQO
Roddy ensures DISQO's products stay top of mind for customers and that customers continually provide feedback to inform product decisions. Throughout his career, Roddy has been a persistent champion of research innovation, standard-bearer for data quality, and vocal advocate for research participants. Outside of his day job, Roddy actively supports industry organizations in leadership and advisory roles. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for MRII and in recent years was an Advisory Board Member for WIRe, an ESOMAR representative for North America, and President of the Insights Association Southeast Chapter.