By Michael Renzon, inQuba CEO
In Borrowing Brilliance: The Six Steps to Business Innovation by Building on the Ideas of Others, author Dave Murray puts forward the notion that new ideas are merely the combinations of existing ideas. “Since brilliance is actually borrowed, it’s easily within reach. It’s really a matter of knowing where to borrow the materials and how to put them together that determines creative ability,” he writes.
We have seen brilliance borrowed across many sectors and industries. Possibly the most famous example is Uber’s use of logistics and fleet management approaches to revolutionise the taxi industry. Now we are seeing the brilliance of social media being borrowed by market research.
When you get a “rate our service” request or a customer feedback survey, how often do you fill it in and send it back? If you do respond, you fall into the 10% to 15% of people who bother to engage in market research, with these numbers falling especially across Europe. And how often do you “like” something on a social media site? If you say more than 50% of the time, you are engaging in a binary survey that frequently.
These days, people are more connected than ever before and yet they have less time – and inclination – than they have ever had to participate in research. In the face of people being more reluctant to fill in surveys, market research is having to evolve. When clients ask ‘who responds to surveys these days?’ they are asking the wrong question. Rather they should be asking ‘how can we get the same response as social?’
Customer Experience (CX) is filling the gap between traditional CSAT research and new ways of exploring and understanding the marketplace. Growing exponentially (the global CX market is expected to more than double in the next three years), CX is fulfilling many of the promises of traditional research as well as moving on from where traditional research ends.
While quantitative techniques such as surveys produce statistically valid results (when constructed correctly!), using a more “social” way of gaining insights allows for a more in-depth understanding of the customer journey. I like to think of a story that is robust (i.e. factually corrected) supported by a rich and colourful narrative that provides the real insight gems. Using a social approach to market research, companies can discover what customers like and don’t like, what they are interested in, aspects of their offering that may need improving, but most importantly things that fall out of the fray – gems that were not thought of in the journey design in the first place!
How? By using the same kind of binary tactics that social media does. By choosing a scale anchor and using that to evaluate why people did or didn’t like something in their experience (i.e. the quantitative anchor), and then by creating social interactions through open-ended questions. For example, using SMS or e-mail to initiate engagement, but moving on from there to create a true conversation with customers.
In addition, effective analysis of social type data allows for micro-surveying at moments of truth. Using semantic anchoring to decipher key themes within the reams and reams of textual data produced in social media and unstructured interactions, specific points of feedback can not only be identified, but can be anchored to the customer journey and / or touchpoints within the journey in order to create a dynamic and complete picture.
Social (or unstructured) data is not a static representation, nor does it pose every question along the customer journey. What social data provides is insight into how people like to talk to companies and a new way to approach understanding our customers and their journeys. With this understanding, companies don’t need to spend as much time designing their customer journeys because their customers will tell them what is important.
Companies don’t need to resort to expensive and time-consuming techniques to find out what consumers are thinking. They just need a way to efficiently collect, analyse and action the social data that is so freely available/accessible. And they need to create social interactions with customers that will allow them to get the feedback they need in order to improve the experiences they offer. The technology to do all of this is not only available, it is being used by many of inQuba’s progressive clients to take their customer experience and businesses to the next level.