Customer Satisfaction #1: A comment from the customer’s viewpoint.

January 20, 2010

Welcome to our first ever “guest post”. Our intention is, from time to time, to introduce a little variety into these posts by inviting occasional comment from our friends in the industry. First up, Alistair Watts. Many readers will know that Alistair has enjoyed a distinguished career in international market research having headed up at various times the Nielsen companies in Singapore, Vietnam and China as well as being regional head of Nielsen operations in Australasia and Japan. With remarkable prescience Alistair retired from market research just months before the “great recession” hit and now – in a complete  change of lifestyle – is running a farm in New Zealand. This doesn’t mean he has given up all concern with marketing and research issues however, as is apparent from his first post for Research.Opinionated.Insightful:

They Also Provide Leading Edge Customer Service

Our Customer Service systems are similarly leading edge....

It still amazes me to see how little value so many organisations place on customer retention.  Without even trying to find them, examples of plain bad customer care keep appearing.  I am sure the organisations  I’ll describe in this (and my follow-up) posts have some customer care strategies, want to retain current customers and (probably) conduct some kind of satisfaction survey but, apparently lacking any real understanding of how the customer may view their relationship with the service provider, they plough on regardless of any negative feedback or suggestions to the contrary. Read On… >


Post-recession, a new world order for MR

January 14, 2010

Seems everybody is making their predictions about 2010 and Market Research, so I thought I’d add some of my own.  Despite many forecasts of turmoil and revolution in the industry,  I actually think that on a worldwide basis we will see a short-term burst of fairly conventional research (old-style surveys, FGD’s etc.).

Is The Writing on The Wall For Market Research?
(c) 2009, A. Gordon.

There is simply a lot of catch-up to be done, and much information that needs up-dating. However, as  mentioned in an earlier post, this bump in conventional activity is likely to mask some fundamental threats to research firms who see the upturn as a return to “business as usual”. So for what it is worth, here is what I think will be the “big 3” trends over the next year or two:

  1. New industry structures and refocus on thriving Asia. Not simply consolidation, but completely new types of owners. Many mid-level companies in developed markets may falter – survival is likely to be determined by flexibility in adapting products and ability to expand outside the home base. Simultaneously, lesser known Asian companies will grow rapidly based on the support of local, cash-rich, clients.
  2. Rise of “triangulation” – we will start to see exciting combinations of methodologies/analytic approaches creating better insights.  This in turn drives intelligent software and demand for researchers possessing either in-depth expertise, or a wide appreciation of diverse methods (e.g. panel + qualitative).  No middle ground.
  3. MR Cost focus now on executive productivity as severe talent shortages grip research. This is driven by cut-backs in the recession, emerging markets growth, and demand for new skill sets, ‘Fast-Tracking’ staff and enhancing productivity becomes increasingly paramount.  Most MR companies have got their back-office operation lean already – now comes the harder (but ultimately more important) work to relook at total research processes and the “human elements”.

So, as you (I hope) get busier in the next year with all the catch-up business that comes in, don’t get so caught up in the day-to-day of pushing projects out the door that you overlook some of the significant changes in the air!


Change the role, change the rules

January 6, 2010

As we start the New Year, many of us will take on new, more challenging roles. And in the main, that will mean replacing the previous incumbent. You may be taking on your initial managerial position with subordinates reporting to you for the first time or assuming the country manager job in place of a ‘legend’ who’s moving on to higher things. One thing that’s certain is that no matter how good or not so good that predecessor was, you are always going to be judged on his or her strengths as those will have come to be defined implicitly as the key criteria for the role.  From the get-go, you’re nearly always going to look second best and this is clearly not ideal.  Therefore, from a leadership stance, one of your first actions when you change your role is to change the rules.

If your predecessor was an outgoing ‘people person’ and you’re more of an introvert but with a strong technical bent or a shrewd eye for sales, there’s no point in you trying to be the extrovert everyone likes to be around. Instead switch the focus of the business or unit to become more sales oriented and focused on technical excellence. This will support and exploit your strengths as well as highlight your value and so make it easier for you to create the time to work on the stuff where you need more help. Read On..>


New: Extras Tab

January 6, 2010

We’ve added an “Extras” page to the blog (click on tab above),  as a place to put items that may interst, but perhaps don’t quite fit into the main themes of our blog. First up are some “wordles” and fun analysis we did of the home pages of the major MR company’s websites.  Check it out to see what is the number one word is across the sites, and which sites use the most similar language!