Customer Research & Feedback

12 ig-customer-feedback

While Customer Research & Feedback is a key aspect of the Continuum that is interwoven through all segments through the Experience mindset, it plays a particularly significant role within Idea Generation to present new ideas for engaging customers.

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Related Mindset:

Experience

Segment:

Idea Generation

Inputs:

Discussions with product management and customer relations

Outputs:

An idea for consideration within the Agile Portfolio

Rather than simply completing a research project, a point in time survey, a VOC program, or looking at data analytics over time, Customer Research & Feedback are active and continuous processes that occur at multiple layers in an organization.

While these efforts may have a specific goal, in many cases idea generation is a natural byproduct of these conversations irrespective of the segment in which they occur.

Experts in UX and CX are distinguished by the practice of gathering information about the people involved rather than asserting assumptions at the onset. These conversations are purposefully orchestrated to make stronger interactions and relationships with your customers and employees. Research and feedback do not occur at a single point in time like other activities, but are a continuous mechanism to guide business and product decisions at both the macro and micro level.

Critical to the Continuum, Customer Research is conducted through multiple touch points, at multiple times, and at multiple levels with customers. In addition, the business must work across silos to distribute feedback from the research. A strategic, purposeful effort to gather customer feedback through research is conducted prior, during, and after any product or process development cycle. The research and feedback are not considered “separate” activities, rather they are included in multiple layers throughout the organization.

Research efforts typically take one of the following forms:

  • Discovery - This type of research is conducted to uncover new solutions to current problems. Whether it is specific to a product or journey, the function of this phase is to uncover the landscape of where the problem is, and identify new or alternative ways to solve it. The information is then fed back to the organization to make business decisions based on this evidence.
    Some common best practices include:
    • Ethnographic Research
    • Contextual Inquiry
    • Wayfinding
    • Journey Mapping
    • Assessments
  • Validation - Validation research is conducted to evaluate a pre-existing condition. The organization engages with the customer to gain insight and feedback on whether a process, product or solution is in line with the customer’s expectations.
    Some common best practices include:
    • Usability Testing
    • User Feedback
    • Journey Mapping
    • Surveys
    • Ethnographic Research
  • Innovation - Research is conducted to uncover and explore new ways of thinking, new products, new processes, etc., to better improve the interaction with any customer. The organization applies systematic thinking to identify ways of improving interactions with customers.
    Some common best practices include:
    • Design-thinking Workshops
    • Co-creation Sessions
    • Rapid Prototyping
    • Contextual Inquiry
    • Ethnographic Research

It is important to strategically plan continuous touchpoints to maintain the conversation with customers. Whether it is another round of product research, a client advisory board, or an email closing the current phase of research, connecting back with the customer is an important step to building a continuous dialog.

Common Pitfalls

Even in organizations that adopt Customer Research & Feedback, there are problems that can occur in the implementation:

  • Do it once and the organization does not adopt it - In some organizations, Customer Research & Feedback is not a continuous process that occurs regularly throughout the organization. Companies find themselves having done a Customer Research project but not getting the executive and cross-silo buy-in to incorporate findings. This allows for potential issues to remain hidden and inefficient relationships to emerge that damage the brand.
  • Feedback and insights are not given back to employees - Though research is conducted, the insight obtained are not presented back to the employees. Employees are not given information in way that allows them to see their impact on the customer experience.
  • Everyone assumes it is another department’s issue - One department may have direct feedback from customers that presents clear opportunities to better the relationship, but they may incorrectly assume that other departments are able to make use of this information.
  • Nothing is done with the insight - Rather than purposely using the information to design new processes, products, or solutions, the organization checks the box that research was done. In these cases, all the findings get lost in the shuffle of normal business operations. This leaves the customer’s problems intact and damages their relationship with the brand.

Tools

There are multiple mature tools for recording Customer Research & Feedback. At Universal Mind, we recommend the following tools: