The Deadly Dozen: Twelve killer arguments to convince even the most pessimistic decision maker that your customer research project is money well spent!

Red Pill’s Deadly Dozen

Understanding your customers is vital, not only for your company to survive but prosper. If your customer research projects need approval from your boss, these twelve killer arguments will have them giving you the thumbs up before you know it! Use them well!

 


1. CUSTOMER RESEARCH IS CHEAPER THAN YOU THINK.
Online customer surveys can be extremely cost effective, especially when using applications like Survey Gizmo or Survey Monkey, tied in with mailing applications like Mail Chimp. With fieldwork costs much lower than what they used to be, you can allocate more of your project budget to key tasks like questionnaire design AND get the MD’s blessing for it too.

2. THE COST OF DOING NOTHING COULD BE SEVERE.
Do you think every disgruntled customer spends time writing to complain? Nope. They just disappear without trace, whilst your rivals welcome them with open arms. Customer satisfaction surveys tell you how well you’re performing. Problem areas are identified. If the customer agrees to waive anonymity, they can provide further details and an opportunity for you to contact them to resolve the matter. Successful problem resolution often turns complainers into your loudest supporters. But you won’t know unless you ask them in the first place!

3. YOU CAN INCREASE YOUR SALES.
Ask your customers not only how satisfied they are, but get them to tell you how much of their discretionary spend is with you, compared with rivals. Chances are you’ll have multiple rivals with customers spending unevenly between you all. Find out what your share of wallet is: if your wallet share is low, you know there’s work to be done and more revenue to be generated. Remember: don’t ask, don’t get.

Red-Pill-Insight-Marketing-Wallet-Share-webpage
Example: Fictitious tech company Techno XYZ has recently conducted customer research. Having asked respondents (in this case, their high value customers spending on average £4 million per year) how much they spend in the category, how many other companies they use, the relative split between them, and their rank in order of preference, key findings are generated. Key takeout: don’t isolate customer satisfaction as the vehicle for future profitability. Focus on rank, and how category share can be taken from rivals.

4. YOU CAN ALLOCATE YOUR RESOURCES MORE EFFECTIVELY.
Different customers value different aspects of your service. But which ones? Ask your customers how important key service aspects are, then ask how satisfied they are with each aspect. You’ll soon see exactly what areas require attention, while paying less attention to the aspects deemed unimportant. Think of the time and effort spared!

Importance versus Satisfaction chart, divided into four key segments
EXAMPLE: Online drop-shipping service surveys its business customers to assess importance of, and satisfaction with key aspects of service provided. Respondents initially asked to rate the importance of key service attributes, using 0-10 scale (0 = not at all important, 10 = extremely important). Then asked how satisfied they were with attributes, using a similar 0-10 scale (0 = extremely dissatisfied, 10 = extremely satisfied). Collected responses then positioned in one of four main segments, providing management with clear appraisal of strengths to be exploited, dangers to be addressed, and areas to monitor/decide on future action. NB: Overall mean scores can also be calculated and charted accordingly.

5. IT MAKES FOR GOOD PR.
There’s nothing like a great headline is there? If you’ve received excellent satisfaction ratings or your customers’ have some interesting preferences that you can capitalise on either on your own website or in the media, then shout about it! Use the percentages to your advantage.

6. IT CAN PROVIDE GREAT CONTENT MARKETING MATERIAL.
Content marketing is now a vital weapon in any competitive company’s armoury. But a major issue for companies is generating enough content to ensure consistency and visibility. Use your customer survey data to drive your blog posts, website pages, Twitter feeds, LinkedIn company pages, as well as lengthier reports and White Papers. And don’t forget to go visual: your customer survey data can make for a punchy and informative infographic.

7. IT SHOWS YOU GIVE A DAMN ABOUT YOUR CUSTOMERS.
Surely a bit of a no-brainer, right? Reaching out for your customers’ opinions and feedback not only helps your business, but shows that you genuinely care what they think. Furthermore, if survey results are disappointing but clearly indicate what needs improving, it’s an ideal chance to address this and show how you’ll rectify things. And for customers who don’t want to be blatantly marketed to, it’s a deft way of keeping the communication channel open.

But be warned: the survey is the primary purpose for communicating. How do you think customers will react when receiving a request to participate in a customer survey and be simultaneously deluged with promos? Not well.

8. IT’S A KEY ASPECT OF YOUR MARKETING STRATEGY PROCESS.
Successful companies play to their strengths. Their marketing strategies are aligned to the SWOT Analyses undertaken for each of their customer segments. Your customer research can identify what’s valued most – your Critical Success Factors (CSF’s). Take the CSF’s, weight them according to importance, then rate how you and your rivals perform in each.

Table showing critical success factors for tourist attraction and rival offerings
EXAMPLE: Tourist attraction comparing CSF’s identified from own customer research. Ratings for each of the CSF’s are then multiplied by the weighting factor. Company X hit by ‘double whammy’ of importance of toilets, coupled with poor rating despite positive ratings elsewhere.

You’ll see at a glance where you stack up on each of the CSF’s. But now you’ll know which to focus on. If it’s a very important CSF and you rate badly, you know action is required – fast. Conversely, if your rivals are scoring badly on one key CSF and you’re far ahead, exploit it! Emphasise your superiority in your marcoms activity. Remember: play to your strengths!

9. YOU KNOW WHERE YOU STAND.
When your survey fieldwork has ended and the numbers, percentages and mean scores are all generated, you know how the land lies. Remember when you were a child it was always the unknown that caused the most anxiety? For businesses, it’s often the same. It’s always better knowing what the situation is, even if it is a bitter pill to swallow. Which leads nicely to…

10. YOU KNOW WHAT TO DO NEXT.
Only by knowing what the current situation is can you effectively move forward. Good customer research and insight provides a solid foundation on which to progress.

11. IT SAVES YOU MAKING SILLY – AND COSTLY – MISTAKES.
Remember Coca Cola launching New Coke in the 1980’s…only to pull the plug on it less than 80 days later? It ranks as one of the biggest marketing screw-ups – ever. Sure, product testing suggested it would be a winner. Unfortunately though, they didn’t consider the deep emotional link between consumers and the brand’s values and heritage. Big mistake.

12. YOU GET THE PERSPECTIVE THAT COUNTS.
“There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the Chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.”  – Sam Walton (Walmart)

Sam obviously knew a thing or two. Consequently, where does the customer sit when your next Board meeting convenes? Are they sat next to the MD or perhaps the Finance Director? Either way, the voice of the customer is far more important than any other attendees. To remedy this, customer insight generated from your research HAS to be heard and absorbed by everyone there. Ignore your customers at your own peril.

So, there you have it: twelve top-drawer arguments supporting your decision to conduct customer research. Naturally Red Pill would love to hear from you when you decide to move forward! Contact us now!

 

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