B2B International
B2B International

November 18, 2015

10 Traps To Avoid When Carrying Out Customer Experience Research

Customer experience programmes, when executed effectively, are highly valuable. Learning more about your customers means you can better serve your market and stay ahead of the competition. There are, however, many risks involved with building a customer experience programme. Below, we list the 10 most common traps you need to avoid when carrying out customer experience research.

  1. Don’t rush it. Customer experience programmes which are hurried into field often miss crucial components. At this stage, it’s extremely difficult to go back and fix these issues. Allow enough time to set up the programme, taking extra care at the following stages:

    • Customer journey mapping: make sure all bases are covered before survey development
    • Questionnaire design: it’s fine to go through various iterations before a questionnaire is finalised
    • List-building: ensure the list is comprehensive and includes as much background information as possible that can link to survey data
  2. Don’t lose focus and don’t go overboard. Avoid the temptation to pack the survey with as much as possible. Instead, appoint a centralised team to take control of the project, and avoid the situation where other departments “piggyback” on the questionnaire.

  3. Don’t assume that satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy are the same thing. While they are all linked and important to measure, different metrics mean different things and are useful in different ways. Ensure everyone agrees on what is being measured and how each relates back to the objectives set out at the start.

  4. Don’t let stakeholders influence customers. While buy-in from everyone in the organization is essential before embarking on a customer experience programme, survey execution should be as independent and objective as possible. Those from customer-facing roles should be discouraged from encouraging participation or influencing responses.

  5. Don’t make rash decisions. Taking “broad-brush” actions based on limited or anecdotal evidence can be just as damaging as taking no actions at all. Don’t make key decisions until you know with absolute certainty what’s going on.

  6. Don’t compare apples to oranges. Shifts in the data can of course be attributed to improvements or declines in customer experience, but can also be due to bias in the form of culture, demographics, social desirability or methodology. Make sure to identify and account for potential biases before action is taken.

  7. Don’t keep it a secret. The customer experience must be ingrained in the culture of the company and should inform everything that it says, thinks and does.

  8. Don’t ignore the data. Make sure any issues identified by the customer experience research are dealt with promptly. It is crucial to “close the loop” through an effective detractor management system. The same applies to promoter management systems – make sure stakeholders are rewarded and a library of case studies/testimonials is built.

  9. Don’t think short term. Customer experience programmes should be built with the long term in mind. Companies should periodically revisit customers to reassess performance. Without tracking in place, companies will struggle to measure the impact of their actions.

  10. Don’t stand still. Benchmarking is a critical component of a customer experience programme. Continually raise the bar and strive for improvement to stay ahead of the competition.