I’ve been at a couple of events lately (in person, woo hoo!) where I heard a number of conversations that started with something like:
- “I wonder…”
- “Do you think…”
- I’m not sure, but…”
Companies were talking about how their customers might be responding to challenges like the paper shortage, whether or not they blamed the printer for more frequent price increases, were they considering making a push to drive more of their communications online. Sometimes it was more forward thinking topics like whether their customers would consider them as a supplier of an expanded array of services, or if they could broach a conversation about changes that would streamline processing, or if the customer was considering a statement redesign or communication simplification effort.
Any of these topics could have significant impact on suppliers and their customers, so why are we just asking each other about it and not talking to customers? One reason is that can be hard to broach difficult conversations, and another is that it can be time consuming and expensive to talk to enough customers to get dependable feedback. It’s also very expensive to make bad decisions and the resulting conversations can be even more difficult! This is why “voice of the customer” research is so valuable. When you have a third party conduct the research it can also take out the awkwardness of broaching touch conversations and help to get more objective results. The problem is that, traditionally, this type of research has been done by flying or driving to multiple client sites, or flying clients into a central location for research. That gets expensive fast AND flying is absolutely no fun right now.
That’s why we think it is particularly timely to have Dan Adams of the AIIM Institute and Kelly Lawrence of Lawrence Innovation with us this week to talk about how to conduct voice of the customer research without getting on a plane. They will provide guidance that will help you work more effectively with third parties to conduct research, or develop the skills to conduct effective research with your clients directly.