Online research platforms are exactly as they state on the tin. If you want to find out how your customers, or even employees, are feeling, it’s time to bring this in. These platforms are crucial for gathering essential information and insights. They can reap great rewards for the business.
A key element of business research is that it provides feedback. This is integral for business growth. You can learn how to drive the business forward; improve your customer and employee experiences (CX and EX); and analyse trends, behaviours, and preferences.
These platforms are seen in many forms across the online space. This includes the likes of Qualtrics, Zotero, Bit.ai, SurveyGizmo, and Google Forms. There is a plethora of different platforms out there which are accessible to any person of any digital ability.
Business and marketing research for the function of organisational development belongs in the realm of qualitative research. This research method is used to understand how people experience the world and receive their insights. It collects and analyses non-numerical data. This will help an organisation to comprehend their target audience’s concepts, experiences, and/or opinions.
Some examples of qualitative research survey questions in business spheres could include:
- Which factors influence employee retention in a large organisation?
- How is anxiety experienced in the workplace?
- What is your experience with this company over the last 3 months?
Research methods are also extremely varied. They can be carried out online or in-person. These are some of the most common methods:
- Focus groups
- Social network analysis – An emerging technique. This includes measuring the flows and relationships between people and organisations through social communications. This even continues on to include ‘meme culture’ and the links between them and social structures
- Surveys – with open-ended questions, i.e. avoiding answers that are simply ‘yes’ or ‘no’. The aim of an online research platform for businesses is to gain deeper insights into their functions to improve how they work)
- Secondary research – collecting existing data and media such as video recordings and audio, etc.
- Customer ethnography – an in-depth observation of how people behave
Why should a business opt for qualitative research?
This method of research is particularly advantageous for businesses. Which is typically why organisations will opt for this form if they are aiming for development. The flexibility of qualitative studies means that it can be conducted whenever is most convenient for the business.
Also being a key feature of online research platforms, is the ease and convenience it brings by saving time. The server hosts the experiment (as whichever method chosen) on one online research in the background of your work. Once the online link is sent out to the target respondents, it can be left alone until you return at a later point to analyse the results.
The benefits of using online research platforms within a business
If utilised and implemented successfully, online research platforms could bring many benefits. With business growth and development being a key aspect, there are ways this can target each part of the organisation from all levels.
Making your customers feel understood
When the target audience is your customers – say you wish to find out their latest trends – you can modify your research platforms to provide these results. Online research platforms are extremely helpful to drive your CX forward and understand your customers better. We all know their experience is at its peak when they feel understood by organisations.
Online research platforms are the perfect tools to understand your consumers. Understand what they want, what they need, what they’re thinking, and much more. Once you have that understanding, you can deliver on their feedback.
At CXM, we often use LinkedIn as a platform to host customer surveys. This works well to understand thoughts and feelings surrounding upcoming topics. For example, we recently held a successful poll on the benefits of investing in CX initiatives. These results indicated our followers’ preference, which we can explore further. We typically apply mixed methods or surveys and interviews – this will garner a larger pool of results for our insights and comprehension.
Guidance for the development of new products and initiatives
When customers have the power to tell companies what they want, this can lead to new creations and developments. This can even help businesses to confirm their consumers’ trends and behaviours. Learning these things is extremely useful and beneficial if acted upon.
Let’s tackle the example from a clothing retail company perspective. In an open survey, the company discovers that over half of the surveyed customers are currently loving a summer dress. This is where the opportunity can be seized from taking notice of current trends in mindset. Tailor your working initiatives – promote those dresses more frequently, provide special discounts.
By taking notice of what your customers are thinking and desiring and then taking action, you will benefit. Going after exactly what your customers want and delivering it seamlessly will help your business both thrive and survive.
This can also be applied to developing new products based on what your customers feedback to you. If you receive multiple comments observing that a function of your business is missing or not functioning, you can create what they’re requesting.
Customer happiness and retention as an end result
As a result of delivering on feedback sent through qualitative research, consumers will see your commitment to their needs. In turn, they will keep returning to you as a happy customer. The key thing any business wants for success and happiness is customer retention.
This customer retention and satisfaction may also bring further brand awareness, too. Showing that you’re in touch with everyone will be a great message to send across to potential future customers. All consumers want a happy relationship with a company who takes feedback and criticism on board to progress. Where this is proved, the business may be recommended to other.
Final thoughts – why you should be utilising online research platforms
Growth and development are all any company wants at its core. The ability to progress in line with changing needs and trends is a desirable trait of a brand. Online research platforms are the perfect breeding ground to start these processes.
At its bases, the process of undertaking research and growing from it is quite simple:
- Decide which area of the business you need feedback on. Maybe it’s your face-to-face customer service
- Host an online research platform. There are many examples out there of many different methods. This isn’t linear and clear cut; you can tailor the methodology to be whatever best suits your company’s time commitments and abilities
- Analyse the results. Take note of key trends, behaviours, comments, areas of improvement, and even areas of success. It’s also important you know what’s working well so you can keep doing what you’re doing!
- Act on what your customers think is missing or lacking. When you fall short, your consumers will know. And they’re the best ones to ask for feedback, because they know what they want from a business, and if that is being delivered or not.
- Repeat the cycle! Frequent surveys, polls, follow-up pieces, results review and reports all play into customer retention and happiness, too. You will be able to prove your willingness to listen, and that you’re in touch with your consumers.
You should invest your time and resources into qualitative research. It will produce many results, successes, and even clarity about your business models. There’s lots of methods and online platforms out there. So, there’s no reason to hold back!