Selecting Customer Research Methods – What to Consider?

Choosing the right method for customer research is crucial for building and developing a company’s understanding of its customers. One of the most important first steps in customer research is to answer the following questions:

  1. Why do we want to research our customers?
  2. What will we do with the insights we gain?
  3. Who will use these insights, and how?

By answering these questions, we can identify the best solutions to meet the organization’s need for information. Selecting the right methods is essential in finding these solutions, as the right methods will provide the right insights for the organization’s needs.

Qualitative Research: Deep Understanding and Insights

Qualitative research is a great way to gain a deep understanding of customers’ feelings, motivations, and experiences. This includes methods such as interviews, focus groups, and ethnographic studies. The sample size for qualitative research is usually small compared to numerical research (e.g., 10-20 interviews per target group). Often, increasing the sample size doesn’t improve results, as the data tends to saturate with small samples. Qualitative research allows us to explore customers’ mindsets and gain deep insights that numerical data cannot provide.

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Example: Imagine a company wants to understand why its online store customers do not make repeat purchases. Qualitative research, like in-depth interviews, can reveal that customers find the website hard to use or the customer service lacking. Based on this information, the company can make the necessary improvements to increase repeat purchases.

Quantitative Research: Broad and Measurable Data

Quantitative research focuses on collecting data that can be statistically analyzed. This includes surveys and metrics such as NPS (Net Promoter Score), CSAT (Customer Satisfaction Score), and CES (Customer Effort Score). Quantitative data provides a broad picture of general customer preferences and behavior patterns.

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Example: A company wanting to measure customer satisfaction can use CSAT surveys. These surveys provide concrete data on how satisfied customers are with different services or products. This data can be used to identify weaknesses or strengths.

Combining Methods: Complementary Approaches

Qualitative and quantitative research methods complement each other well. Qualitative research provides deep insights that help interpret quantitative data better. Conversely, quantitative research offers a broad and measurable perspective that supports qualitative research findings.

Example: Suppose a company has identified through quantitative research that customer satisfaction is declining. Qualitative research, such as customer interviews, can reveal the reasons for the decline, such as slow service, poor product quality, or unclear customer communication. With this information, the company can make targeted improvements.

Practical Tips for Method Selection

  1. Identify the research goal: Before choosing a method, it’s important to determine what you want to study and why. This helps in selecting the right methods.
  2. Use diverse approaches: Combine qualitative and quantitative methods to get a comprehensive view of customers’ needs and behavior.
  3. Utilize experts: An experienced research company can help design and implement studies effectively.
  4. Keep the customer at the center: Focus on the customer’s perspective and experiences in all research. This ensures that the research results are relevant and useful. 

If you need support in planning customer research and choosing the right methods, we are happy to help.


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