Customer Research

Customer ResearchCustomer Research

Customer research is about gaining a deeper understanding of your customers in many different dimensions.

Why You Should Do ItWhy You Should Do It

Many clients come to us thinking they already know who the customers are, to later discover there was still much to learn about them. If you have not done research with the intention to understand your customers, much of the knowledge across the organization is likely to be anecdotal. Sometimes the research confirms the general anecdotal information gathered by key groups inside the organization, but more often than not, long-held-beliefs are put to questions and new insights about the customers emerge from the research.

Having a deep knowledge of your customers’ needs, motivations, attitudes, behavior, and use of competing alternatives can help companies to develop strong customer retention strategies, increase revenues and reduce cost by creating products customers want and dedicate company resources where it matters.

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The ApproachThe Approach

Customer research, may or may not include segmentation analysis, although it often does. The scope of customer research depends on the business objectives behind the research. It can be very general or very specific.

We may use a combination of qualitative and quantitative research, or just one of the two. It will depend on the research objectives.

Quantitative research is often based on survey methodology or transactional data.

Qualitative research methods we can use for customer research include:

  • In-depth interviews (phone, online and in-person)
  • Focus groups (online, offline)
  • Diary studies
  • Online bulletin board discussions
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Target Audience RecruitmentTarget Audience Recruitment

Relevant Insights can recruit qualified 2C and B2B participants through our sample provider partners for both qualitative and quantitative research. Relevant Insights can also recruit participants from your customer database and will implement procedures to protect any identifiable personal information.

As an alternative, you may also recruit directly from your own customer database if data privacy restrictions don’t allow for customer data sharing. In these cases, we will provide the necessary data collection tools or work with your data collection tools (i.e., survey tools) if the data is required to stay in the account.

After discussions with you, we determine the sample parameters and assist in developing screeners. We also manage participant incentives.

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In direct collaboration with the client team, Relevant Insights will:

  1. Assist in designing the personas research objectives, scope, and approach.
  2. Gather and synthesize any internal data available (e.g. surveys, segmentation, analytics, sales team feedback, etc.).
  3. Recommend data collection mode depending on sample parameters and the industry in which your organization operates. Surveys can be conducted online, by phone, by mail or with a hybrid approach.
  4. Develop questions and metrics to gain a deeper understanding of your customers’ needs, attitudes, and behaviors.
  5. Recommend sample size and sample sources. Sample size requirements will depend on the product category, target audience, and incidence rates, among other factors.
  6. Program, test, and, host the survey(s). In addition to testing the programmed survey for errors before launch, a “soft-launch” is deployed to a small sample to detect any potential issues with actual participants before its distribution to a large sample.
  7. Monitor the field and provide daily reports on its progress, as well as any issues that may arise.

For qualitative research, Relevant Insights will:

  1. Recommend the most appropriate qualitative research data collection method for the target sample.
  2. Develop discussion guides.
  3. Collect the data according to the qualitative approach selected (e.g., interviews, observation, etc.)
  4. Rent facilities or online platforms as needed
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Analytical PlanAnalytical Plan

In Customer Research, we often try to understand customers in a series of metrics related to their needs, motivations, attitudes, and behaviors, which are customized for each client’s business and industry.

If a segmentation analysis is included, the segment profiles will also depend on the product category and industry, and the scope of the segmentation. If there is interest in developing Personas from the segment profiles, more qualitative and granular information needs to be collected.

Some of the most common customer profiling criteria are:

  • Purchase behavior
  • Usage behavior, habits
  • Brand awareness and usage
  • Needs (met and unmet)
  • Motivations for using your product/service
  • Pain points, barriers
  • Technology and tools used
  • Competing options
  • Media consumption
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Relevant Insights can provide different levels of reporting based on budget and time constraints including:

  1. Raw data for customer surveys and qualitative research, including media files and transcripts of interviews, diaries, etc.
  2. Short written summary report with key findings.
  3. Full detailed report with analysis, charts, tables, quotes in a graphically appealing format.
  4. Cross-tabulated tables for customer surveys.
  5. Segment/Personas typing tool (classification tool) if segmentation analysis is requested.
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Typical Project DurationTypical Project Duration

Four to eight weeks for qualitative research.

Six to eight weeks for quantitative research.

Factors that can affect project duration include:

  • The incidence rate of target sample: The lower the incidence rate, the longer we need to stay in the field to gather the required data.
  • Client team responsiveness: A delayed response to requests for feedback at different steps of the project, will stall a project and affect the delivery date.
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The cost will vary depending on:

  • Sample size, specification, and sources (outside customer database).
  • Reporting requirements.
  • Whether qualitative research is included.
  • Whether segmentation analysis is included.
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