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Customer Insights Made Easy

Uncovering things you might not know about your business.

Market research, and more importantly, customer insights are extremely helpful in understanding what your business does well and not so well, comparatively in the market. Whether you’re a café owner looking for other avenues for income or a construction company looking to find out why customers are choosing the bloke across the road, getting to know your customers and their motivations can be an integral part of uncovering why your customers like what they like, or do what they do. At the end of the day, the customers are what define a business!

Let’s take a step back and think about it for a second. Customers are just like you and me, a fellow homo sapien. Now, you and I like certain things, do things a certain way, crave particular food items now and then and so on. Now picture your typical customer (profile) and imagine what it would be like to buy from your own business, for example:

  • Was it done quickly?
  • Did I spend too much money for what I was getting?
  • Was the quality of the product/service any good?
  • Was the service up to scratch?
  • Did I offer enough (or too much) choice?

These are some of things that customers (also both you and I) objectively and subjectively use to judge whether or not we buy again from a business.

But wait, that’s too hard.

Honestly, it really can be daunting for a small business owner and it’s why we have devised a little cheat sheet on how you can get started without the hassle of not knowing what to do in the first place!

We firmly believe that you don’t need complicated statistical software and algorithms to get started, on, what is traditionally, a very academic field of work, market research. Just sit down and use this example guideline to start on your journey of self-discovery.

Matching expectations with reality.

When starting for the first time, we encourage businesses to brainstorm what are the key criteria that your business’ life depends on. These are the things, when done collectively poorly, ruin a business and likewise, when done collectively well, flourish. All businesses usually sit within this spectrum.

Here, we limit it to five criteria, so that there isn’t an overwhelming list our brains can’t handle. It also keeps our minds focused on what matters the most.

For example, the five criteria we can look at are:

  • On-time delivery
  • Value for money
  • Quality of products and/or services
  • Customer service
  • Range of products and/or services

While it’s not an exhaustive list, depending on the business, some criteria may be different. Say you’re a hairdresser and “on-time delivery” doesn’t apply, something else may be more relevant.

 

PRO TIP
Try and choose criteria that encompasses the entire business as a single unit to start, then you can branch off into examining other arms of the business once you’ve wrapped your head around the bigger picture.

 

Part 1 | Mapping customers’ expectations

Once you’re done thinking about what areas of the business are important to its survival, now is the time to ask your existing customers to rank them 1-5 by importance to them when dealing with you, where 5 is most important and 1 is least important.

Here, we’re looking to find out what your customers expect of you and determining what matters the most to them. For example, maybe a customer values your quality products (gave a score 5) but price isn’t what matters when buying from you (gave a score 2). There are countless insights you can gain from simply asking customers to rank the importance they place on certain aspects of your business.

Part 2 | A reality check

Using the same criteria you’ve decided on, ask follow-up questions on how you ACTUALLY perform in each of those areas. Customers will rate your performance on a scale 1-5, where 1 is poor, 3 is average and 5 is excellent.

This will give you a more definitive health check on your business and find out where customers are and aren’t satisfied with your business.

 

PRO TIP
Use what you’re good at (competitive advantage) to boost your existing sales and marketing efforts. If your customers use more than one supplier for the same product/service, chances are they are thinking about how you weigh up against the competition!

 

Part 3 | Recommendations anyone, please?

As the icing on the cake, one could say, is the Net Promoter Score® (NPS®). This is a simple yet effective metric you can use to see if customers will refer any business to the friends and colleagues (more business, YES!). There is formula on how to do it (you can Google it for those wondering) but we won’t get into that here (that’s for another post).

Putting all the pieces together

Now you can really see how you’re doing with your customers. Work out how each of your criteria stacked up against the other criteria and map that against how you’re really doing with customers in reality. This should help identify areas of improvement at a glance as well as understanding how your customers’ expectations (Part 1: what’s important to them) are met with their current dealings with you (Part 2: your performance, Part 3: NPS®).

 

PRO TIP
Use this tool as an early warning system to flag down any potential problem areas before there’s irreparable damage: your customers go elsewhere!

 

So, what now?

“So, what now?” I hear you think. We’ve got you covered.

Here are a few extra tips and tricks to make this process much more valuable to you:

  • Use the above criteria to get you started, chop and change if you feel it doesn’t apply to your business
  • You don’t need a large sample size, 10-15 is usually enough to get an idea of how you’re tracking
  • Preferably, talk to customers you have recently done business with, the more recent the better
  • Keep the survey to the three questions and aim for no more than two minutes of someone’s time
  • If you find, as the owner, you don’t have the time to do so, have someone else who is close to the client and is familiar with your business to do it
  • After each round of surveys, brainstorm ideas together with your team and try and set recommendations for yourself
  • Make the necessary changes in your business
  • Rinse and repeat, preferably on a monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly, etc. basis

Be objective, be gracious.

Let’s be real here, don’t let the ego get in the way. It’s what stops us from growing and understanding ourselves personally and professionally. Customers don’t like certain aspects of your business? Embrace it. Change it. Reach out with open arms and customers are more than likely to give you constructive feedback to improve on.

When you sit down with your customers, just have a whole hearted and HONEST conversation about the current state of affairs. You are empowering them to help you provide a better product or service.

Stay objectively connected with the business and start a process of continuous improvement. It’s a long-term investment (emotionally and financially) that pays off in the end. Happy customers, happy business (isn’t that how the saying goes?).

PS. Now that you’ve made it this far, we’ve actually got the checklist for you here. Go get started and start making your customers’ voices heard!

 

Win/Loss Analysis: Sustainable Growth

All business strive for continuous success and growth and in the early stages of business development, this might be easy to achieve. However, the more established a business becomes, the more difficult it becomes to improve on last year’s results.

The key to continuous growth is insight-driven continuous refinement.

Perception is Reality

Conducting a win/loss analysis is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to improve and refine your marketing, communications, sales and business strategies. It is also one of the most important analyses, as your customers’ perception will be directly reflected in your sales.

 

Consumers value brisbane market research consumer behaviour consultancy trends business strategy marketing sustainable growth analysis win loss

 

It simply involves interviewing of 10 to 15 customers within 3 months of their purchase and, more importantly, the same amount for “lost sales”. “Lost sales” are those who enquired about the company’s service or product but failed to proceed to make a purchase. These interviews prove most successful when conducted by an independent third party, as conflicts of interest are avoided, and customers openly give more direct and honest feedback about their experiences with their purchase.

Analysing the gathered feedback will not only give the business a deeper understanding of consumer buying behaviour and its (potential) pain-points, but will also enable the business to benchmark themselves against their competitors and other key industry players. It may even uncover potentially new and successful products or services that customers have always wanted!

This will allow for a strategic and informed refinement of the business’ unique selling proposition (USP), but also act as an early warning system, indicating the need for a product or service to be improved before sales are disrupted.

The processing and analysis of results will enable the business to develop meaningful and strategic recommendations, allowing decision makers of all kinds to make better decisions in their businesses.

Promptly implementing the changes and improvements from the analysis will increase overall effectiveness and put you on the path to success.

Remember, that customer perception is what will make or break your business, especially when we compete globally for the same dollar.

Businesses (and their owners) that want to stay on the trajectory of continuous growth, should dedicate itself to a continuous refinement process, backed by timely win/loss analyses (e.g. monthly or quarterly).

Download now: How to optimise your customer acquisition and retention strategies.

Market Research + Higher Education

Market research can help determine how successful (or not) a new concept will be via actionable feedback on what people are actually looking for. This was the case when we were engaged by a higher education provider looking to design, streamline and implement a new degree.

With the help of the client facilitating the focus groups, we were able gather valuable qualitative insights into why students thought what they thought regarding the new program options. Through a series of focus group sessions; consulting prospective, current and past students, we were able to narrow down and hone in on which of the predetermined scenarios students supported: i.e.  a new degree or a variations of the older models.

We dived straight into the verbatim and extracted key themes within each of the groups. We took into consideration a number of major influences on their decisions and thought processes. Outcomes included:

  • ranked preferences of the scenarios;
  • perceptions of other higher education institutions;
  • other degrees offered at the same institution;
  • demographics, e.g. gender, race, age;
  • sources of information for decision-making
  • reasons for choosing their current place of study; and so on.

Using the qualitative insights, we identified that flexibility was a key driver for many students pursuing this field of study. They did not want to be pigeonholed early on in their studies, barring them from choices further down the track.

We worked extensively with our client to realise and incorporate students’ desires and direction into the new program as an outcome of the research. Through the power of market research our client was able to identify and tailor their approach to formulate a degree which would positively impact students’ career choices at their institution.

Unlock your potential. Know what potential and current clients want and what they don’t.
Contact us now for a free, no obligation, 2 hour consultation with our Principal analyst.

Market Research + Manufacturing

Market research is a vital component of making important decisions, especially ones where you want to introduce new products into a market, i.e. for manufacturing. Introducing new merchandise to existing customers or potentially new ones can be confusing. Usually we ask businesses looking to venture into unknown waters:

“Does your new product resonate with the market you are looking at?”

“Is your product fit-for-purpose?”

“Is someone else already producing your product, if so, how can you do better than your competitors?”

These are some of the more obvious and common questions that can be addressed through the power of market research. Market research gives you the confidence to make the best decision for your new venture.

For example, a steel fabricator wanted us to shed some insight on a potentially new product they would like bring to an already crowded market.

After contacting potential clients on the client-generated list and data from Queensland government, we were able to assess the market landscape. Combining the qualitative comments from the phone work and quantitative analysis of the government data, we had a very detailed picture on the market size of Southeast Queensland, what their potential clients were looking for in their new product category and drawing out what could potentially make them switch from their current suppliers.

Our client made the decision not to proceed with their new venture, ultimately saving them time, effort and money had they invested in what was perceived to be ‘a good idea’ at the time. Through the power of market research, our client was able to evade what could have been an expensive mistake.

Be the change, make a difference to your customers’ experience with market research.
Book now for a free, no obligation, 2 hour consultation with us, over the phone or face-to-face.

Made in Queensland?

Is your company eligible for a Made in Queensland grant (manufacturing)?

The Department of State Development, Queensland, has recently released a $20 million grants program aimed at increasing jobs in the Queensland manufacturing sector. Owners of small to medium Queensland manufacturers are encouraged to register their interest to take advantage of this program. Eligible registrants will undertake a free benchmarking program to determine where their businesses can become more competitive. This will then be supported with grant funding via the Made in Queensland program.

Registration takes 5 minutes – less time than it takes to drink your morning coffee!

We help build businesses and maximise your potential through market research.
Contact us now for a free 2 hour consultation over the phone or in person.