Do your surveys lead to dubious or vague results? Struggling to gather valuable insights from your consumer insights community? Here are 5 ways to improve your research.
Gathering consumer insights can be a useful exercise, but what’s the point of conducting research if you can’t use the insights gained from strategic advantage?
The 5 key issues our community members and clients have come across are the following:
- Socially unbalanced research
- Approaching the subject in wrong way
- Participants’ lack of initiative to contribute
- Irregular diversity of insight across segments/devices
- Timing and application of analysis and its results
Do you think that any of the cases above can obstruct your community management? The answer is “definitely”.
So what can you do to remedy this?
A number of things, actually! Here are 5 effective ways to get valuable consumer insights from your community!
1) Conduct research with customer diversity in mind
It is a common mistake throughout the business community that insights are gathered without customer diversity in mind.
What does that mean?
Customer diversity is a broad term, but in the context of a consumer insights community, it means all the various differences between customers. They can include age, ethnicity, interests, income, etc.; but also:
- How well they think of your enterprise,
- How active they are in the online community,
- What they like or dislike about your products/services, and more.
It all depends on how you categorize them.
To stress the importance of adequately categorizing, we’ll give you an example.
So, you ask your audience a question like this one: “What do you like (most / least) about our product?”
A: Customer Support Service
B: Ease of Use
C: Quality of Service
D: Number of Features
And, desirably, you get a set list of diverging answers according to which you place people in certain groups when you collect data. Then, you decide to improve the area that has the least amount of positive responses, e.g. the customer support service.
In the case of randomly assigning surveys, you might get 80% of answers of people who already like that service. And, only 20% of people who point out what should be improved. In other words, you’ve skewed the results before you’ve even asked the question!
When you evenly divide your questionnaires across categories, you have a precise insight on desires of each category of the customers. So, it’s not as simple as getting the answers – you have to know who to ask. A diverse mix of respondents will give you a better all-around picture.
You can read more about this in 10 things you need to know about online community research.
2) Know what to ask, and how to ask it
Once you’ve spotted the diversity of your customers, your next step should be to find out what you should ask them.
So, the next phase is to verbalize and formulate the “real” question. Talk to the relevant people, or observe the communication between the members of your community.
Here are multiple ways you could work out the best, and most timely, questions to ask:
- Skim through the forums,
- Observe group discussions, ask a small sample size of customers and potential customers questions about what they would change, do, and keep. Discover what actions would they initiate for their own benefit, or how would they improve your community/product/service in general.
Ideally, your community platform comes equipped with features that will enable you to gather these insights eg. customizable modules, diary studies, ideation contests, forum discussions, or something similar to provoke engagement on the debate.
All relevant research comes based on something already familiar or conducted. Use such proved intelligence as a base for further inquiries into the matter you plan to delve into.
Try to find out what people expect as the answer/result. In that way, you can either confirm or reject those beliefs.
After your analysis, you can compare the expected results with the actual answers and draw a parallel between any topic or subject that you seek information about.
3) Give incentives to participants of your research
Gamification is an already familiar term in the fields of applied economics. In the context of community insights, gamification practically means to introduce incentives into inquiry in order to attract more participants.
There are three key methods of incentivizing your community: points, rewards, and badges.
Points represent the basic level of community management incentives. Not only do they serve to rank up engagement, but to keep the participants “in the game” for a longer period of time.
Participants are attracted to points as they represent a direct and immediate response to their contribution to the community. Points should be awarded for every positive contribution, and they should be made redeemable for some concrete rewards.
Here we come to the second layer of incentivization, and these are rewards.
Rewards are tangible and usable “gifts” which can be “exchanged” for a certain amount of points. The most common form of rewards are gift cards (~ $20 – $100+), but they can actually be anything that could be appealing to customers, from the actual products to symbolic tokens of gratitude.
The third and highest level of incentivization is badges.
Badges are purely intrinsic rewards with no concrete benefits outside the community they’re awarded in. They discern between “ranks” of users, and as such motivate users to reach a more “prestigious” rank, or badge, as they contribute.
Each of these “layers of incentivization” acts as a boost to the overall engagement of the community. And we know that engagement is the life juice of any thriving community.
Explore the CMNTY Gamification engine.
4) Automate for more diversity
As the technology behind online communities and business advances, so do the means of reaching potential leads and converting them into loyal customers. Whether you’re successful or unsuccessful is in most cases depends on how much you rely on the process of automatization.
A predictive business model can no longer keep track (nor efficiency) of automatized community analysis. And, applying verified results surely beats decisions based on educated guesses.
So, how does automation of gathering data and applying concrete results beat traditional analysis and improvement based on prediction?
- By utilizing very quick automated processes you reduce the duration of analysis from days or even weeks to mere hours.
- Today’s trends tend to shift in months, weeks, and even days. If you keep going with manually-initiated research, then wait for results, chances are that the trend you tried to catch has already become yesterday’s news.
By using automated processes you can get tangible results from your analysis/research/survey in hours. Which is something traditional predictive methods just can’t do.
Learn how you can use task automation in your community.
5) Go cross-device
Another important innovation (or a continually present trend) is the growing role of mobile devices in global marketing.
Tracking the patterns of behavior of desktop users is already present and well developed today. Analyzing the mobile consumer, on the other hand, in their preferred mode of on-the-go, cross-device behavior is gradually becoming a major factor and a crucial marketing tool.
According to Statista, 64.5% of the population owned a mobile phone in 2017, with estimates that by 2019 that number will reach 67%. That’s two-thirds of the entire world!
For example, conversion rates on desktop and mobile are quite different, and mobile market follows different rules of thumb that you can’t master if you don’t conduct proper cross-device research.
So, in order to get a complete picture, you have to get to mobile device users in their “natural habitat”.
Whether you do it through apps, mobile activities, or both, you have to include it in your branding business. As an understanding of cross-device behavior proves to be a benefit to the adaptation of your digital behavior.
You’ll gain insight into daily life and routine of a mobile consumer, and the habits it repeats which you could put to use or build upon.
In this way, you’ll be able to talk to the person behind the little screen, instead of the electronic device he or she owns.