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Successful Customer Experience Research Strategies

Customer experience research is vital for understanding clients and their needs. Use this guide to get started and optimize customer interactions.

Your customers are the most important part of your business. Without them, you wouldn't have a company to run. But unfortunately, far too many small business owners don't realize the importance of their customers. Instead, they don't engage with them at crucial touchpoints or find new ways to enhance their experience.

Your customers' experiences with your brand can impact your business in a significant way. Customers with poor experiences are more likely to voice negative opinions about the business, which may impact sales and customer retention. However, good customer experiences can benefit every aspect of the company, from product development to support, allowing you to meet the needs and demands of clients.

Customer experience (CX) research is the only way to measure the effectiveness of your CX strategies. How happy are your customers at each touchpoint throughout the journey, and are they satisfied after making a purchase? Many companies don't invest in research because it seems daunting or expensive. However, knowing how your clients perceive your business can help you make better decisions and earn more customers while promoting loyalty.

Keep reading to learn about the benefits of customer experience research and how you can begin learning about your customers' experiences.

What is customer experience research?

Customer experience research is the process of collecting and analyzing various types of customer data based on their interactions with a brand. That research can then be used to improve the buyer's journey, leading to more conversions and repeat purchases.

Customers demand a good experience, whether directly interacting with a product or browsing your website. If you can't offer them a personalized experience across channels, they'll look for a business that can. CX research lets you put your clients at the forefront of your organization, allowing you to address their pain points and elevate your company.

How well do you know your customers and what they expect from your brand? CX research provides the data necessary to deliver a quality experience regardless of the touchpoint.

To perform CX research, you need to collect data. Both qualitative and quantitative research is crucial for helping you understand your customers. You can use tools like surveys, net promoter scores, and qualitative insights to learn more about customer expectations and provide them with a better experience.

The ultimate goal of CX research is to provide your company with solutions. For example, how do you attract and retain clients to reduce your marketing and advertising spend? Investing in CX research can help identify needs and expectations to reduce friction throughout the customer journey.

Why is customer experience research important?

Customer experience research is the foundation required to improve your customer experience strategy. It provides insight into customer expectations, allowing you to deliver everything they need to make a purchasing decision.

You already understand the impact of negative reviews. You may have even gotten some on social media or Google Business already. One way to mitigate the risk associated with bad reviews is to learn about your customers' expectations and provide them with a better experience, going beyond traditional customer service to delight them at every touchpoint or stage of the customer journey.

Here are a few of the benefits of CX research:

  • Identifies areas for improvement. CX research can help you build a more customer-centric business model to provide your valued customers with personalized experiences. The data provided from customer service research can identify pain points and help you find ways to solve those issues.
  • Helps businesses understand customer needs. Your customers have certain expectations and needs when shopping with your business. CX research enables you to understand what customers need from you, whether it's a streamlined checkout process or better communication.
  • Increases a business's competitiveness. Customer experience is a requirement for all businesses. Unfortunately, not all business owners realize its importance. If you can improve the customer experience, it might be just what you need to stand out from the competition.
  • Improves customer satisfaction. CX research aims to identify ways to improve customer satisfaction. The happier your customers are, the more likely they will become loyal to your business.
  • Boosts revenue. Since happy customers are loyal customers, you can expect a boost in sales and revenue.

How do you conduct customer experience research?

Now that you understand why CX research is so important, it's time to roll up your sleeves and begin. Remember, you can't improve the customer experience without data and insights to support your process. Starting with the right data can ensure your customer experience strategy is a success.

Here's how to begin conducting CX research:

Set research goals

Before investing in customer experience market research, you must establish your goals. What type of customer experience are you trying to achieve? You should start with a strong research question defining why you're investing in CX research. For example, your questions could center around negative reviews or specific parts of the buyer's journey, such as checkout. Apart from having a strong research question, you must identify the data and information to help answer it.

Key performance indicators (KPIs) are quantitative metrics described by numbers or values that can help you easily determine your customers' satisfaction. You can use any metrics you see fit, but some of the most common are net promoter score (NPS), overall customer satisfaction score, and likelihood to recommend your brand or its products and services to friends and family.

Create a customer journey map

A customer journey map represents the steps customers take when interacting with your business, ultimately leading to a conversion or purchase. Creating a customer journey map can help you visualize each customer touchpoint and interaction. In addition, mapping the entire customer journey can help you determine where prospects fall out of the funnel and brainstorm ways to prevent it.

Determine your research methodology

There are several customer experience research methods, such as qualitative and quantitative research. The best CX research consists of both to give you a more thorough understanding of your customers' experiences at each touchpoint.

Qualitative CX research can take the form of open-ended customer satisfaction surveys, heat maps, segmentation, and observational studies. In contrast, quantitative data focuses on CX research methods that involve numbers, such as satisfaction ratings or net promoter scores.

Quantitative CX research will provide valuable insights that can improve the customer journey and monitor success and progress over time. For example, if you're using your net promoter score, you can analyze that number monthly to determine if your modifications have had an effect. On the other hand, qualitative research can give you more actionable insights since it encourages customers to provide direct feedback.

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Collect and analyze data

Regardless of your customer experience research strategies, the goal is to collect and analyze data to make better decisions that directly impact your clients and business.

Best practices for collecting data include:

  • Have clear research objectives. Objectives are crucial for understanding and evaluating any data you collect from CX research. With these goals in mind, you can answer your research question to ensure your collected data is valuable.
  • Use reliable data. Your data must be reliable to make impactful changes to the customer experience. The best way to ensure reliability is to use customer experience automation and other apps to improve the customer experience. Doing so makes collecting feedback data about the customer journey easy.
  • Minimize bias. All data collection methods introduce some bias because a human interprets it. You can reduce bias by using several research methods and tools, such as your website and sales analytics, to collect customer data. A mix of qualitative and quantitative research methods is best because it allows you to support claims with concrete information.
  • Ensure participant privacy. When using qualitative data to answer your research question, you should ensure participant privacy. The easiest way to do that is by making surveys anonymous and not sharing their data with other companies or customers.

After collecting data, you can start analyzing it. How you analyze it will primarily depend on the types of data you've collected. In most cases, you should have both qualitative and quantitative data.

There are several ways to analyze the information you collect, such as:

  • Regression analytics. Regression analysis is a type of quantitative data analysis that can help you compare dependent and independent variables. For example, you can compare how sales change based on your net promoter score. If your sales increase alongside your NPS, there's a direct connection.
  • Qualitative data analysis. Qualitative research analysis is trickier because you're not working with numbers. Instead, you have to find a way to interpret text written by customers. For example, if you used open-ended questions in your survey, you must find the most efficient way to examine the data. The easiest way to interpret this information is to look for themes or use certain words to find patterns.
  • Descriptive statistics. Descriptive statistics are another way to analyze quantitative data by summarizing your findings. For example, if you ask all your customers to rate their satisfaction with numbers, you'll add up all their scores and give yourself an average. This average is an example of descriptive statistics because it describes your customer's average sentiment.

Develop actionable insights

What's most important is how you use the data you've collected because it can help you determine areas of improvement and create an action plan for fixing issues. Identify your customers' pain points or problems throughout their journey and brainstorm ways to resolve them. For example, if your clients have complained about shipping times, it might be time to find a new partner who can deliver orders faster without increasing internal costs.

Apply research insights

Having an action plan for reducing friction in the buyer's journey through customer success research is only helpful if you apply the insights you obtain. You must implement changes based on the data you've collected and any conclusions you've drawn while continuing to monitor the impact of those modifications.

Use the same metrics you used to set goals to identify the impact of your CX modifications to ensure a uniform system for analyzing data and applying solutions. Your main goal should be to improve the experience, not necessarily enhance your quantitative metrics like NPS or customer satisfaction numbers. Instead, focus on your customers to meet their expectations, and the results will follow.

How can you improve customer experience with research?

Customer experience research strategies provide you with data and actionable insights that enable you to improve the customer experience by addressing customer pain points and increasing overall satisfaction. For example, let's say you sell accounting software for small businesses and allow users to utilize it through the web or an app on their phone.

In this case, your customers might have issues with the app, which you've noticed because you've analyzed its metrics and seen that they're not using it. CX research can help you pinpoint why customers aren't using the app and brainstorm ways to fix it. For example, you've already used quantitative data to determine your app has fewer users than expected.

Next, you can use qualitative survey data to identify why customers aren't utilizing the application. By using CX research, you might find that customers don't like the interface. So what does this tell you? It means you need to redesign the interface. After doing so, you can measure the impact, determine if more customers are using it with data from your app analytics program, and send a second survey to measure customer sentiment.

Improve customer experience

Customer experience research relies on data to help you learn more about your customers and determine how they feel about your products and services throughout each touchpoint in their journey. In addition, it can help you identify areas of improvement and ensure you have metrics to measure the impact of the modifications you make.

Customer surveys are one of the most straightforward and effective ways to learn about customer expectations. Mailchimp makes it easy to collect client feedback, so you can find ways to improve your business fast. Try Mailchimp today.

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