Customers don’t do what they say so our customer experience research and insight uses a combination of innovative techniques to truly understand your customers’ experience and the factors that influence their decision-making and purchasing. We go way beyond surveys to understand customers physiological and psychological response to the experience. As David Ogilvy (known as the ‘father of advertising’) said, “the trouble with traditional market research is that people don’t think how they feel and they don’t say what they think.”
Our research can be deployed as a part of a full end to end CX programme but you can also engage us to run standalone research and experiments. We focus on three areas:
Customer Research – Our research uses advanced biometric and neurological devices to understand customers physiological and psychological response to the experience. We combine this with ethnographic observation and filming to identify your customers’ Tripping Points. We have further research tools to understand what customers remember of the experience. Analysed alongside your existing customer data these deep insights into human behaviour provide the richest insight of where you need to focus your customer experience.
Employee Research – Again we go way beyond your typical employee survey to understand biometrically where are we causing employees stress. This helps us to identify appropriate interventions as well improve employee wellness. We also look at the extent to which your employees are aligned to delivering the customer experience. We review what it is like to work at your organisation. And discover how well leaders build trust and credibility in order to bring the customer experience alive for employees?
Brand Research – We analyse what your brand stands for and the expectations it sets for your customers. And we find out whether it is clear to customers and to your people.
Find out what truly influences your customers by learning how they actually experience your business. Our CX Insights show you how your customers react physiologically and emotionally to their experience. This provides deep insight that goes way beyond opinion surveys and focus groups.
Real-time testing –We show you how your customers are reacting, in real time. We do this by a combination of monitoring customers ethnographically and also measuring their biometric response to the experience. This method is called Tripping Points. (We’ve recently produced a video and blog to explain all about this methodology). You’ll be able to see your customers’ in-the-moment physiological reactions to choice. You can see how your customers react to your people and to your process. But also we show your customers’ real time response to your contact centre and to your website. In fact to any and every interaction they are having with you. This enables you to see the points in the customer journey where you are unintentionally creating stress for your customers. Our Customer Experience Research Toolkit has more detail on our Lab Tests.
Testing the memory of the experience – Identifying the stress points and critical moments of the actual experience gives you the levers to alter the experience, thus altering the customers’ memories of what happened, and their subsequent behaviour. The remembered experience is really powerful in defining your brand in the eyes of your customers. Our CX Lab Tests gain insight into the customers’ memory of the experience. Positive memories change customers’ behaviour (e.g. they recommend you). By deploying our CX Lab Tests such as group monitoring, surveys and our research tools, we can find opportunities to create positive memories that make your brand unique. And of course we an also analyse your existing NPS/survey data and correlate it against our own research.
Impact on behaviour – The final part of our customer research involves gaining insight into how the memory of the experience impacts actual behaviour. In other words, customer experience in real time, then afterwards they remember highlights (and lowlights!), and this final stage is what they do as a result. For example, how much are your customers now spending? How often do they come back? Are they loyal to you? And have they recommended you? We delve into your existing data, looking for patterns and correlating it against the real time and remembered experience insight.
Most organisations survey their employees, understanding how engaged they are and how likely they are to recommend working there. Whilst these surveys may be useful, they provide a very narrow view of the employee experience. Employee surveys suffer from the same challenges and more of any other survey:
- Data only represents one moment in-time
- Availability bias from respondents thinking of only recent events
- Potentially gamed results — people telling you what they think you want to hear rather than what they really think
- Often, results do not reflect actual employee behaviour
The employee experience is one of the key drivers of the customer experience so we need stronger insight. As with customer research the key is to go beyond what employees say and discover how they feel and what they do. We use biometric devices to understand the front line customer interaction as well as ongoing measurement of the overall employee experience. Combined with a more frequent employee insight program you have the deepest understanding of your most important resource – your people.
Focus on leadership as well
Rather than just focus on employee engagement, it is important to understand leadership engagement with employees and customers. This is the driving factor in customer experience success. Our insights seek to understand how engaged the leadership teams are in customer and employee experience. This is about how leaders act and what they do – not just what they say. It’s easy for leaders to say they are customer focused in a survey, but this often hides the actual experience of the employees.
- Leadership engagement – This is about finding out from employees about the extent of leadership engagement.
Observe leadership behaviour – By observing, it’s possible to see what leaders actually do; not what they say they do. Are they actively building credibility and trust? Do they walk the talk?
Analyse the KPIs in a business – It’s always very instructive to take an objective look at what you are measuring. What do your measures say about your actual priorities? Again, it’s about walking the talk. For example, many businesses tell their employees that it’s important to put customers first. Do the KPIs actually measure this or do they drive a different type of behaviour?
What are meetings about? – In your Town Halls, conferences, team meetings, what topics do conversations tend to focus on? What are the underlying messages that employees pick up on?
There are two critical questions. Firstly, what does your brand stand for in the eyes of your customers right now? And secondly, what do you want it to stand for. These two questions seem simple, but gaining this simple understanding of the brand is not easy for most organisations. That’s often because marketing, operations and HR (to name just 3) may have different perspectives on what the brand stands for. But in reality, the only interpretation that matters is your customers’ view. It’s not what you say you are – it’s what they say you are.
We don’t set out to redefine your brand wording, but instead we seek to help you to understand and define the brand in terms of the customers’ actual experience. So that we can compare your intent for your brand with customers’ actual perception, we review your existing brand documents and performance, conduct stakeholder interviews, and feed that data into our CX Lab customer tests.
- Brand performance review – We dive into your brand performance and tracking information.
Stakeholder interviews – By interviewing stakeholders we are able to provide objective insight on what you want your brand to stand for. Also, we delve into the barriers and enablers of desired customer experience.
- Internal versus external comparison – Taking the data and insights from the first two research elements (brand performance review and stakeholder interviews), we contrast this with the external view of the experience obtained from our CX Lab customer tests.