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Why Quantitative Surveys Fall Short When it Comes to Crafting a Superior CX

Blog Post created by annelise.brancato on Apr 11, 2016

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What do your customers really want? Finding out isn’t just a matter of asking. It’s about asking the right questions – something that Forrester Research says most companies fail to do.

Take quantitative surveys, the No. 1 tool that organizations use when developing customer experience (CX) strategies. Conventional wisdom says they’re a gold mine of customer insights that simply cannot be gleaned from internal stakeholder discussions. Not so, according to Forrester Senior Analyst Deanna Laufer.

“Surveys are not enough,” Laufer warns in Anchor Your CX Strategy in Customer Understanding. “They may tell you the ‘what’ and ‘how’ but not the ‘why’ of customers’ behavior needed to envision future-state experiences. Firms with extremely or moderately effective CX programs, on the other hand, conduct more qualitative customer research more frequently to inform their CX strategies.”

At Andrew Reise, they agree that it’s a mistake to over rely on quantitative surveys. That’s why they advise clients to include ample amounts of qualitative research, including in-depth interviews, focus groups and ethnographic research. Those tools provide a holistic view of the CX and complement journey mapping work.

Unfortunately, they’ve seen far too many instances where a company is looking to gain customer feedback to inform strategic decisions, but it ends up only with feedback about the current way of operating. That approach is process improvement and not strategic development. Big difference.

They’re not the only ones emphasizing the value of ethnographic research, either. As Intel Research’s Ken Anderson wrote in Harvard Business Review, “By understanding how people live, researchers discover otherwise elusive trends that inform the company’s future strategies.” His company used those insights to better understand how PC and TV habits converge.

At a high level, Andrew Reise’s approach consists of four steps:

  1. Explore – Through secondary research, they explore the entire ecosystem of the customer to understand their world. They develop hypotheses about key moments in the customer lifecycle to get a holistic view of the customer.
  2. Immerse – Using primary research techniques such as focus groups, they uncover customer attitudes, behaviors and habits and validate the key customer interactions.
  3. Synthesize – Using CX tools such as journey maps and personas, they visually communicate whom the customer is and represent his / her emotions along the key touch points in the lifecycle.
  4. Communicate – They finalize all the previous work in a detailed read out that includes insights and recommendations. Posters, workshops and presentations all help to socialize the final deliverable.

If you’re serious about delivering a CX that maximizes brand loyalty and, in turn, your bottom line, they've got plenty more tips and secrets to share.

Please download their complimentary copy of Forrester’s Anchor Your CX Strategy in Customer Understanding report. It’s packed with examples of how brands such as Airbnb, Trane and Virgin Mobile took a fresh approach to research – and how that paid off.

About Andrew Reise

Andrew Reise is a customer experience transformation firm. Our unique approach consists of our own methodology and a group of distinctly selected consultants - who are all veterans in customer experience. Our process is proven and our people boast a 'do it all' no-nonsense approach and are empowered to do the right thing even if it means going above and beyond the original scope of work.

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