Brief introduction – the importance of keeping customers satisfied as a factor of customer-centric market research:
It takes just one customer to make or break the reputation that you have built with hard work, patience and dedication. One disgruntled client can ruin your goodwill in the market just as much as one happy and satisfied customer can bring you good repeat sales and new customers to serve. One of the most important mantras of a successful business is keeping its customers happy at all times. Building good client relationships can be viewed as climbing up a ladder. You can either have a one-off client, an occasional customer, a regular customer or a loyal customer. The loyal customers are the ‘advocates’ for your business. The extent to which your customers climb up the ladder will depend on how satisfied they are with the service rendered. The reasons why it is important to regularly talk to your customers, are multifold, and include the promotion of customer loyalty and retention and saving marketing and operational expenses in attracting new ones. Customer satisfaction is also important to promote the possibility of them advocating your business and resulting in fewer complaint-redressal requirements. Getting in direct touch with your customers allows you to understand the depth of the market, learn its needs and track the existing competition.
Customer-centric market research versus traditional or ‘big data’ market research:
The traditional approach includes four main factors, namely the four P’s of marketing: product, place, price and promotion. This approach towards market research is considered to be too product-focused and against the achieving of the more important organizational goal of satisfying the desires and needs of customers. Customers are keen on defining their relationship with the company and expect the products and services to be marketed in a manner that directly targets their individual needs. This change in focus has prompted organizations to focus on customer-centric market research, in order to stay ahead of their competitors and be successful.
The dynamics and types of customer-centric market research:
In customer-centric market research, the customer is the main focus of the company’s activities and strategy, as opposed to the traditional approach where the product gains primary importance. The company needs to be on the constant lookout for information about their customers, in order to satisfy their needs and ensure their loyalty to the organization. The analysis of this information can help to improve marketing decision making. Various techniques can be used to obtain information about the customers and ensure effective marketing of the products of a company to them. Some of these techniques and strategies involve customer surveys, attitude testing, insight communities, in-depth interviews and focus groups. With this feedback data, the company can develop additional customer-centric products and services or improve on the current products. The information obtained through customer-centric research can also be provided to the employees of the organization in order to allow them to focus on maximizing customer loyalty and retention.