The benefits of continuous research for agencies
by iperceptions, on Mar 25, 2014
When doing a site redesign or making site improvements, conducting a Voice of the Customer (VoC) study is a great way for agencies to gather customer feedback for their clients and prioritize the changes that need to be made to the site. The insights collected can then be used to make informed changes to their clients’ websites that will increase satisfaction, overall experience ratings and/or conversions. However, collecting customer feedback does not have to be just a short term or ad hoc project. It can be done on an on-going basis. Research done on a continuous basis allows for benchmarking, creation of KPIs and continual evolution of a brand.
How do you know when you are doing ad hoc research?
Often when working with agencies, they are ready to conduct Active Research because they have exhausted the possibilities of behavioral analytics, best practices and common sense. Agencies and their clients are at the point where they want to uncover the uncanny and dirty truth about their digital properties so they can make the necessary improvements to their site, i.e. understanding the WHY behind user behaviors.
In some cases, the need for instant benefits from this type of research becomes so great that the objectives become extremely focused and tactical, and key insights are misunderstood or overlooked. This can undermine the research being conducted and lead to what I like to call “ad hoc research”. Some common telltale signs that an agency is focused on ad hoc research include:
- I only need the solution for 1 to 3 months because I know what I need to ask the site visitors to gain the insights needed for the project
- The client has a specific problem/need and has only contracted me to fix this problem/need
- I don’t have the budget for a UX study
- I have tried using behavioral analytics and A/B testing but am still not sure why customers can’t complete their task
The research benefits of conducting continuous research
Don’t get me wrong, you can use Active Research to answer specific tactical issues or as a dovetail for UX consulting. But when the scope is broadened to a continuous approach there are additional benefits. Especially when for the same or fractional increase in investment you can obtain greater benefits. These include:
- A more robust collection sample is obtained for analysis when collection is left on. If you only run collection for a short period of time and subsequent collection is low, analysis may not be consistent from month to month which can place a question mark over the accuracy of the findings.
- When collection is on for a longer period of time, the number of open ended feedback responses increases allowing for better text analysis. Remember, the open ended questions can be where valuable insights are hidden.
- Monitoring feedback over time allows for strategic decision making. Benchmarks can be established and compared month to month or quarter to quarter. This sets the stage for a strategic evaluation of all the tactical feedback that is provided by your customer base.
- Monitor and measure how site changes and marketing campaigns impact the perception of the website. For more information please read our marketing effectiveness framework case study.
- Continuous research allows for the ability to inject the data into other business processes and conduct future research into areas of the business like measuring customer intent in real time.
What are the benefits to clients of conducting continuous research
When your client is focused on running a short term project on their site it can be challenging to get them to consider a different approach to their research. This is especially true when budgets are tight and there are a number of other marketing priorities competing for their attention. Here are some of the discussion points we share with our clients when they consider conducting continuous research projects:
- Look to measure the effectiveness of your site redesign and discover if more work is needed. This leads to increased conversions and satisfaction
- The research and analysis dashboards are already set up, making it easy to keep track of your customer feedback. This saves time and resources for your analysts
- The KPIs created become an essential part of website measurement and can demonstrate the success of the digital team to the CMO or other stakeholders
- As an organization you get to demonstrate to your customers that you are committed to doing continuous research and placing importance on their needs
Measure to Manage
As an Agency, you would never shut off your clients click stream data or only capture behavioral analytics for a few months at a time. Behavioral analytics is left on to analyze what happened at an unanticipated time, so why should VoC research be any different. By doing continuous research you always ensure that you have the information needed to analyze an issue.
Further, when agencies are in a position to present the continuous research approach to their clients they are in a position to stay strategically connected to the needs of their client. Not only can the agency solve the immediate site needs today they can look to create strategy and guidance for future development of their client’s brand.
For more ways in which Agencies can add value to their client read Add Value to your Agency with Active Research.