Skip to: Main Content / Navigation

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Add This

Rx for CEM: Get out from behind the desk



Article ID:
20140626-3
Published:
June 2014
Author:
David D. Fish

Article Abstract

Big data may be the buzzword of the day, but sometimes it's important to leave the desk and go out to see exactly what is going on.

Editor’s note: Dave Fish is responsible for global marketing and product development at Maritz Research, St. Louis. This is an edited version of a blog post that originally appeared here under the title “A simple CEM challenge.”


As CEM professionals, market researchers and data scientists, we sometimes get caught up in and enamored with the powerful analytics that are at our disposal. We can quickly run advanced multivariate, Bayesian, neural network, machine learning algorithms and thousands of other advanced analytical techniques with the click of a few buttons to instantaneously reduce millions of people into neat categories and models. Big data seems to be the buzzword of the day, with companies trying to understand specific customer preferences for specific locations and customers, with the goal of learning what side of the bed you sleep on in order to ensure proper location of the remote control and alarm clock. While big data hasn’t lived up to the hype to date, when it is done right it  is good for the customer because it creates a better experience. But however good we get at big data analytics there is still a need to really understand consumers. We ratchet down and get closer to this understanding through the measurement of evaluations and attitudes; understanding the whys behind the whats. Even still, without understanding the context of behaviors and attitudes we are still flying a bit blind.


Now, qualitative work certainly assists with this issue. Long the “deep” to quantitative’s “wide,” qualitative research methods certainly have their place in CEM. Focus groups continue to be very popular. I always found it interesting that I could show a franchisee 50 survey responses from customers that highlighted a problem, with some very pointed comments to boot, but it wasn’t until I got him behind the glass and his customers started talking about his people and products that he became very engaged in the issue. At that point it turned real and personal. He grew very motivated, which is an excellent reason to do qualitative in the first place. But even with traditional qualitative approaches there is a contrived artificiality that is introduced that might not get you to the real truths. That one-way mirror at times has the effect of influencing what is and isn’t said.

Rather than sitting behind the desk and looking at numbers and reports in your CEM system, it always pays to go out and see what exactly is going on. Not only does this provide color and context, it gets you in touch with the folks you are suppose to be helping and delighting – your customers.

There is no substitute for seeing it with your own eyes. Go out and experience that hotel lobby or how you are greeted at check-in. Understand the culture and location in which the interaction is happening and the type of people who are participating. It is the difference between trading e-mails with a colleague and going out and having a beer with him. You just get a much richer experience.


When I worked for a Japanese firm years ago they called it genchi genbutsu, which roughly means “Go, look and confirm.” There is something to be learned from that.

 
Whenever I am in a customer experience setting (a bank, a restaurant, a dealership) I try to be a focused observer. What things are happening that might take away or add to an experience? What things aren’t happening? What things would people want that could make the experience even better? I make it habit (much to my wife’s embarrassment) to ask many questions wherever I am at when I see things that are going well or poorly with the customer experience. How do you handle complaints? How do you assure consistent service? How do they queue traffic and keep people informed?

Comment on this article

comments powered by Disqus

Related Glossary Terms

Search for more...

Related Events

AMA 2015 MARKETING AND PUBLIC POLICY CONFERENCE
June 4-6, 2015
The AMA will hold its 2014 Marketing and Public Policy Conference on June 4-6 in Washington, D.C.
FROM PRACTITIONERS TO THE C-SUITE: WHO REALLY INFLUENCES B2B PURCHASES?
June 10 at 1:00 pm CDT, 2015
Illuminas will be sponsoring a one hour Webinar titled, ‘From practitioners to the C-suite: Who really influences B2B purchases?’ on June 10 at 1 p.m. CDT.

View more Related Events...

Related Articles

There are 586 articles in our archive related to this topic. Below are 5 selected at random and available to all users of the site.

Trade Talk: Uncovering the soul of the Soviet consumer
Conducting consumer research in the Soviet Union is quite unlike doing so in America. This article discusses a recent study of Soviet consumers led by Dr. Ernest Dichter, a pioneer in the field of motivational research.
Measure the total customer experience
The author presents the total customer experience model and explains how its four categories of factors drive a company toward outstanding customer service.
Polaroid uses software package to enter new market
Polaroid Corp. used A-Cross, a cross-tabulation software, to prepare of its entry into the 35mm consumer film market. The software processed data from survey sampling of hundreds of consumers across the United States.
How recruitment enriches your ethnographic research
The author discusses the importance of recruiting and why ethnographers should consider recruiting as an integral part of the research process.
Talk of increased travel just a lot of hot air?
Leisure travel is expected to increase by mid-2010; Americans say that they are planning to travel more, but an Ipsos Marketing poll indicates they aren't booking the plans to back it up.

See more articles on this topic

Related Suppliers: Research Companies from the SourceBook

Click on a category below to see firms that specialize in the following areas of research and/or industries

Specialties

Industries

Conduct a detailed search of the entire Researcher SourceBook directory

Related Discussion Topics

Indexing GAP
07/26/2011 by Felipe B. Fehse
role of generational cohort analysis in understanding purchasing behavior
09/14/2009 by Ian L. Straus
Me Too
09/01/2009 by William Bailey
role of generational cohort analysis in understanding purchasing behavior
08/29/2009 by Gul na Ahmad
GAP Analysis
04/07/2009 by William Bailey

View More