Why Quantitative Surveys Fall Short When it Comes to Crafting a Superior CX

What do your customers really want? Finding out isn’t just a matter of asking via surveys. It’s about asking the right questions – something that Forrester Research says most companies fail to do.

Take quantitative surveys, the No. 1 tool that organizations use when developing customer experience (CX) strategies. Conventional wisdom says they’re a gold mine of customer insights that simply cannot be gleaned from internal stakeholder discussions. Not so, according to Forrester Senior Analyst Deanna Laufer.

“Surveys are not enough,” Laufer warns in Anchor Your CX Strategy in Customer Understanding. “They may tell you the ‘what’ and ‘how’ but not the ‘why’ of customers’ behavior needed to envision future-state experiences. Firms with extremely or moderately effective CX programs, on the other hand, conduct more qualitative customer research more frequently to inform their CX strategies.”

At Andrew Reise, we agree that it’s a mistake to over rely on quantitative surveys. That’s why we advise clients to include ample amounts of qualitative research, including in-depth interviews, focus groups and ethnographic research. Those tools provide a holistic view of the CX and complement journey mapping work.

Unfortunately, we’ve seen far too many instances where a company is looking to gain customer feedback to inform strategic decisions, but it ends up only with feedback about the current way of operating. That approach is process improvement and not strategic development. Big difference.

We’re not the only ones emphasizing the value of ethnographic research, either. As Intel Research’s Ken Anderson wrote in Harvard Business Review, “By understanding how people live, researchers discover otherwise elusive trends that inform the company’s future strategies.” His company used those insights to better understand how PC and TV habits converge.

At a high level, Andrew Reise’s approach consists of four steps:

  1. Explore – Through secondary research, we explore the entire ecosystem of the customer to understand their world. We develop hypotheses about key moments in the customer lifecycle to get a holistic view of the customer.
  2. Immerse – Using primary research techniques such as focus groups, we uncover customer attitudes, behaviors and habits and validate the key customer interactions.
  3.  Synthesize – Using CX tools such as journey maps and personas, we visually communicate whom the customer is and represent his / her emotions along the key touch points in the lifecycle.
  4. Communicate – We finalize all the previous work in a detailed read out that includes insights and recommendations. Posters, workshops and presentations all help to socialize the final deliverable.

If you’re serious about delivering a CX that maximizes brand loyalty and, in turn, your bottom line, we’ve got plenty more tips and secrets to share. Click here now to get in touch.

Then download our complimentary copy of Forrester’s Anchor Your CX Strategy in Customer Understanding report. It’s packed with examples of how brands such as Airbnb, Trane and Virgin Mobile took a fresh approach to research – and how that paid off. Will your company be next?

Dan Arthur
Dan Arthur

Dan is VP Customer Research and Analytics with Andrew Reise Consulting and has over 16 years of consulting experience in the Telecommunications and Health Insurance industry verticals. His specific expertise includes customer and employee experience strategy, consumer insights research / analysis, CX design, CX capability analysis, call center transformation, billing system implementations and sales / customer service operations.