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Customer experience: Different ways to uncover your Customer Truth™

The Experience Economy is forcing brands to rethink, innovate, create and automate their customers’ end-to-end experience to gain and keep customers. Today every customer interaction and touchpoint are important.

The most powerful element that can be used by any business leader is authentically understanding, engaging and connecting with their customer: uncovering their Customer Truth™. This goes beyond a simple Voice of the Customer feedback survey but rather understanding their mind, their true perspective completely. Why they do what they do. How they think, feel, act.

So how can you do this? What are different ways to understand your customers and explore all aspects of their lives? This paper highlights a few different ways to capture your Customer Truth™ from a variety of angles.

Set up a Voice of the Customer program

The most commonly used approach is to set up a quantitative Voice of the Consumer (VOC) program, using Forsta, to track customer experiences with your product and/or services. Here you can learn things like: Did they have a problem shopping in store? Are they satisfied with your products? Is your website easy to use?

This program should be an efficient, meaningful always-on approach that provides in-the-moment or close-to-the moment feedback on your customers’ experience. This survey often includes customer loyalty metrics such as Net Promoter Score and attribute ratings on key loyalty drivers as well as satisfaction questions.

This said, don’t just stop at gathering quantitative data through closed-ended questioning. Build in richness and greater understanding by including a video open-end response and invite participants to record themselves talking about their experience. You can also go one step further and recruit customers to participate in short online webcam interviews using Forsta. This is what eBay did to elaborate upon their VOC survey findings and develop a richer connection with their customers. The result: through the video interviews they were able to bring the customer into the boardroom to tell their story.

Map their shopper journeys

No matter what your product or service offering is, you need to understand the journey people take from first hearing about your brand or product to becoming a loyal customer. You need to uncover: What makes people buy? How do they decide? And what channels do they use along the way?

You may be starting right at the beginning, exploring the broader landscape: how and when decisions are made, whether/how this differs between age groups, gender, cultures. These are the questions The Family Room LLC started with to understand purchase decisions within the modern family. They fused quantitative and qualitative approaches, starting with a short Forsta survey and following up with a Forsta online community where participants engaged in exercises such as recording video testimonials, letter writing, photo uploads, and metaphor picture choice to further bring their consumer experiences to life.

Further down the line, you may be thinking more specifically about details such as in-store product placement. In this case, it is beneficial to understand both current experiences with similar products within the category as well as in-store shopper behavior. What makes people buy one product over another? What frame of mind are they in when shopping? A three or four-day Forsta study can be used to gather close to the moment feedback of their in-store experiences using the mobile app and combined with in-depth activities using projective techniques completed at home on their laptops. This is what Fresh Intelligence did on behalf of their client launching a new healthy snack.

Follow their product experience

Once your prospective customer has become your customer and you’ve captured feedback on their purchase experience, the next area to understand is their on-going product experience. How are your products being used in real life? Where do they fit into their lives? What functional and emotional roles do they play? Is the product performing as intended?

This could be in the form of an on-going program monitoring a set of KPIs. It could also be an ad-hoc study set up to answer specific business questions. Sales data for P&G’s Pampers brand
for example, showed they were losing volume and market share as parents were transitioning between diaper sizes. To understand the parental decision-making at the moment their children transition to a new diaper size, P&G set up a 3-month Forsta community to follow the product experience journey.

Of course, the product may not be a traditional product but rather a service or an experience. For example, the English Football Association (The FA) has an on-going program capturing the visitor journey at their events and monitor the quality of their experience. The day after an event (be it a football match, another sporting event or musical performance) they send an invite to a short Forsta survey. This always-on experience and satisfaction data directly informs KPIs for several departments.

Talk to your website users

Finally, in today’s digital world where many brand touchpoints are through their website, gaining feedback from your website users on their experience is equally important as feedback on product and service experience.

There are several ways this can be approached. You can set up a Forsta survey that is either always on or intercepts every X user to find out what they want and need from you, and provide in-the-moment feedback on their experience. These people could also be recruited to a follow-up study exploring the usability of your website, which can be evaluated through a Forsta webcam interview. In this instance, you can set tasks and watch how they move around your website and apps. This behavior and feedback can be used to help you design and improve a better digital experience.

On-going, holistic understanding

Customer experience isn’t just about a one-time interaction with your brand. It covers all touch points. It also involves understanding all aspects of your customer – the need to explore their lives in different ways so you have the understandings of their truth needed to make informed business decisions.

Central to this is that you ask your customers and keep asking. No one approach will give you all the answers you need. It’s an iterative process. Your questions will evolve, adapt and change from one set of data and one conversation to another, building layers of insight. All of this helps you to truly understand your customer and allows you to create better experiences for them

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