Market researchers use every tool in the shed to gather valuable information about customers. They listen on social media, send out email surveys, and ask for reviews. However, one very valuable resource is often left out of market research initiatives – the company’s own customer service team.
Customer service and support teams are on the front lines all day long, interacting with your customers to answer questions and solve problems. They hear it all straight from the horse’s mouth – the good, the bad, and the ugly. So, these teams have a unique opportunity to capture a wide array of data about products, service, logistics, and much more.
As we recently covered on the blog, all feedback is valuable to your business – even the negative. (link to previous article). Thus, insights drawn from customer service interactions have the potential to change your business for the better. Following are a few of the ways your customer support team can add meaning to your market research efforts.
Even the best marketers miss the mark sometimes. If any part of your marketing message is confusing or unclear, you can guarantee the customer support team will be the first to hear about it. When customers don’t get what they thought they were being promised, support agents hear the same complaint or receive the same questions over and over.
By leveraging data from the customer support team, you can learn exactly where your messaging went wrong. Find out where you need to provide more detail or explanation. You could use transcripts of recorded calls, for example, to pivot your campaigns and better suit the needs of your audience.
New product development often begins with market research involving stakeholders, sales teams, and competitors, among others. But are you seeking the opinions of the people who matter most – your customers?
Remember, customer support teams talk to customers all day long. They “speak customer”. So they can offer rich insight from a customer perspective.
These employees can provide quantitative and qualitative feedback about user needs or gaps in the market. They can give you hints about proper pricing strategies, and reveal what percentage of your customer base might buy a new product.
Make sure product developers have access to this valuable information, as soon as possible. Studies show that involving customer service teams early in the product development process leads to higher rates of product adoption and fewer support issues down the line.
Now that your product is now out there in the market, you’re done, right? Wrong. Unmet needs can be a product developer’s best friend, as they uncover the potential for product improvement and new feature development.
If customers love your product, but they just wish it also did this one other thing…they will let your support teams know about it. If a product falls short of your customer’s needs or expectations…customers will let you know about it. Whether it’s new features, brighter colors, or more versatility they want, your support team has heard it.
The insights gathered from customer service teams is a key link to your consumer research success. They could tip you off to what product upgrades people want – upgrades that lead to higher customer satisfaction, increased sales, and fewer complaints (a bonus for your support team)!
When data goes south, start with your customer service team to understand why. Be it friction in the customer journey, service issues or product shortcomings, your future success depends on understanding the why behind them.
Why does the strap on your product keep breaking? Why isn’t your sales team focusing on top features or new services? What makes customers keep abandoning their online shopping cart at a particular moment?
Customer support employees know a lot about your customers – probably more than anyone else in your organization. Yet far too few companies leverage this advantage in a systematic way for research or root cause analysis purposes.
There are a number of ways to capture data from these teams to make your research more cost-efficient, understand root causes, and head off issues before they become widespread.