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What Are the Different Types of Customer Research?

Surveys are sometimes conducted in an effort to gather customer feedback.
Businesses may hire people to conduct phone surveys with customers.
Valuable feedback may be collected through customer surveys.
In order to meet and exceed customer expectations, it's critical to know what consumers want and need from the company.
Article Details
  • Written By: Laura M. Sands
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 05 August 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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Customer research is commonly performed via the use of customer surveys, data received from customer complaints and employing the use of undercover shoppers. Focus groups are also counted among the numerous ways of analyzing consumers. Another type of customer research includes reward programs or incentive programs that track consumer purchases by offering customers a discount in return for participating in a program.

Business owners who analyze customer research find better ways of improving customer service, as well as ways of improving customer retention. Thorough customer research is able to help identify a business' strengths, weaknesses and overall public perception. It also supplies information useful in identifying what types of customers patronize a business, which helps advertisers more directly target likely consumers.

Individuals and companies interested in customer research often use the feedback gained from customer surveys. A customer survey or questionnaire may be handed out to individual customers or a business may use a customer call center to speak with customers by telephone to determine the level of service a customer experienced at a particular business. Participation in this type of marketing research may also be offered to customers online or by mail.

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Customer complaints can also be a way of acquiring useful customer research. Individuals who report having experienced bad customer service help bring customer perceptions to a company’s attention. Once this information is shared, owners and managers can work with frontline employees to work on how to best handle customer complaints. They can also change internal policies in such a way as to offer the public the best customer service possible.

Strategic customer care serves to improve a business’ bottom line and helps companies excel above competition. The most successful businesses are those that work hard at building a strong customer base, as well as customer loyalty. These businesses commonly collect consumer information by inviting undercover shoppers to give detailed customer reports of their experiences with a business. These reports frequently include information that goes beyond service provided by staff members, but also includes information on the impressions made by a business’ signage, cleanliness, physical location and the quality of its products or services.

One of the most reliable types of customer research involves focus groups. By inviting individuals of a certain demographic to participate in groups that offer feedback on products or services, a company can get a somewhat accurate reading on the voice of the customer. Researchers can use the information garnered from such groups to improve customer marketing, as well as to improve customer perception.

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