in Product Research

Online Customer Research: What Brick & Mortar Can Teach You

Customer Research : how to understand and surpass customer expectations

What do people expect when spending time and energy, then money, into looking, selecting then buying a good, or subscribing to a service? 

Instinctively and quite reasonably, you may think that your customers expect from your service to deliver what is is designed to do. It is always about Expectations and Delivery.

But, does what you deliver meet all your Customers’ Expectations?

For instance, pizzeria restaurants are supposed to deliver pizzas, right?

However, is this everything people expect from pizzeria places? 

In reality, this is a good start, but still just a start. 

Among customers, some people will expect to find specific ingredients or special recipes, a selection of wine, some will look for a place where they can enjoy their meal and some will want to bring their pizza out to home as fast as possible, some will seek for a special ambiance, some may look before all for a decent price… Some may look for the lovely Italian accent from the waiter, who knows.

Featured illustration: according to this  “Good Pizza, Great Pizza” pizza business simulator (!), the way your pizza is sliced has a major impact on the customer satisfaction smile emoticon.

All these things are so many and diverse customer expectations that you can face at some point, in the context of your own service – not necessarily a pizza business, ed. note. These are also so many potential ways and opportunities to make customers happy with your service. 

Because people are really exigent when it comes to spend their hard-earned money.

People expect to have the best, for everything.

Nothing unnatural.

If people can have double in return, for the same amount / time / energy spent, they will simply go for it. And this principle is not only quantitative, people do not only want to have the best, they also expect, depending your business, to feel the best.

In the competitive world we live in, your first competitor will be too happy to take their money in your place if you fail to transform them into fans that will come again spend their money at your place and recommend your service.

So, your entire energy as an entrepreneur must be dedicated in placing your company, service, or product, where people look : in front of your customers and above the competition. Keep in mind:

Average is not recommendable.

Customer review aggregators such as Yelp or Tripadvisor based their entire model on this. Marketplaces like Booking.com understood years ago the major importance of travellers’ recommendations and comments on their own customer experience, for their customer’s decision process.

Your customers just have a certain level of expectations that you may find out, and always try to surpass in what(ever) you deliver.

Customer Research is about knowing your Customers’ Expectations

Customer Research: Part of market research in which the preferences, motivations, and buying behavior of the targeted customer are identified through direct observation, mail surveys, telephone or face to face interviews, and from published sources (such as demographic data). – businessdictionary.com

It is about knowing what your customers expect, so you can in-fine :

  • confirm that your service actually delivers what they expect from you

  • find ways to perform better and surpass their expectations

  • identify and solve the pain points in their experience that create frustration

  • give a positive impression in the hope that people will talk about you

It works for restaurants, SMEs, startups. Actually it works for every business.

And no one is waiting for you to apply this to their business.

If there is any link, direct or indirect, between the people you serve and your revenue, then you must care about the Customer Experience you deliver.

Whatever you plan to perform behind this idea, it has a name: Customer Research.

To build a sustainable business, being average is not enough.

That means, you must not satisfy yourself by delivering your promise only. To be visible and considered, you must look higher than that ! :

Customer Expectations : Promise vs Delivery

Even the simplest business in the world can take advantage of the knowledge extracted from Customer Research : it will still allow you to know if you actually reach to deliver the simplest mission you fixed for your business.

Then, it will allow you to understand what would be interesting to change / improve / optimize in your workflow, in your teams, in your sales points, .. let’s say in your organization, in order to improve the service and experience you deliver every day to your customers. And to be able to expect in return from them to become loyal customers, or even ambassadors that will actively recommend your service.

That is actually how you reach the higher level of the pyramid.

Customer Research applied to Online Businesses

Online businesses are nothing but businesses.

On many regards, online businesses are not different from traditional businesses :

  • They deliver a service or sell products

  • They must differentiate from the competition

  • They need to deliver customer satisfaction and develop customer loyalty

On another hand, online businesses face certain constraints that do not have physical businesses, especially changing the game when performing observation for the Customer Research :

  • The distance : your visitors / prospects / customers / users are not in front of you, so you can not observe them, talk with them or read their non-verbal language (intentions, moves, facial expressions)

  • The context appreciation : are your visitors here for a specific reason, just visiting, or completely lost? something you can easily figure out in face-to-face but not online.

  • The amount and explicitness of information – in the real world you would have relatively few customers to observe, gaining information for direct observation would be quite direct and easy – where online visitors may provide you a ton of information through their navigation scheme, but which will be unorganized and scattered.

All these reasons make it as much necessary than complicated to conduct observation online for a Customer Research purpose. The good news is, to reduce this pain, lots of products appeared to help online companies in this duty !

Continue reading on our blog :

At Onvey, we are in this boat as well ! We decided to turn all these differences at your advantage, exploiting every single signal from a visitor or a user as a potential actionable information for your Customer Research. This is the purpose of our platform, Onbrowse.io, on which you can now apply for beta !

 

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