Learning the customers’ opinions is, perhaps, the most essential step toward creating the product that will become a success in the target market. No matter how sophisticated a marketing strategy might be, the clients are unlikely to be interested in the product that does not meet their demands or standards. True, several groundbreaking tools used to be given a cold shoulder at first, with customers warming up to them as their usefulness became obvious (Pyzdek & Keller, 2014).
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However, traditionally, it is curial to carry out a detailed analysis of the target audience’s opinion prior to releasing a certain product or service into the market. Although the existing tools are quite numerous, most of them have certain problems concerning primarily their scope and the opportunities of embracing a vast population. Nevertheless, when choosing a specific approach, one should give preferences to the combination of all traditional methods as the most efficient tool due to the high customer diversity rates.
The concept of the voice of the customer (VOC) is typically used as an umbrella term for different types of feedback received upon the introduction of a particular brand into a certain market (Voice of the customer (VOC), n. d.). Needless to say, feedback emerges in a variety of forms and, therefore, can be collected in a range of ways, from offering clients to leave their reviews to carrying out a vast market research. However, each of the tools used for carrying out the data collection is far from being perfect. While some are too general and do not allow for conducting the assessment of all customers’ needs, others allow for embracing only a small amount of population.
Traditionally, three primary tools for data collection are identified. These are interviews, surveys, and focus groups (Voice of the customer, n. d.). Interviews, especially unstructured ones, allow gathering a rather vast amount of data, thus, creating premises for a rather detailed and large-scale concept of the customers’ attitude. The specified tool is perfect for getting general directions that the product or the service should be developed in.
Moreover, an interview helps identify the tiniest issues that would have been passed unnoticed in any other form of data retrieval. However, interviews are rather time-consuming. As a result, gathering the data from a large amount of population within a relatively short amount of time is virtually impossible.
Surveys, on the other hand, are designed to collect data from a large number of people within the shortest amount of time possible. As a result, they can be used among the largest demographics. Moreover, surveys are very easy to collect, especially once the appropriate software is used. In fact, a range of online tools, such as OpinionLab, provide free software for survey design and its further distribution among the target denizens of the population (5 types of online audience surveying tools to help create a more customer-centred website and brand, 2016).
However, surveys may fail to deliver a detailed description of the product. In addition, certain information that the customers might want to get across may not be included in the survey form.
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Focus groups, in their turn, allow for direct interaction with the target population, which none of the tools above offer. As a result, the feedback gathered is much more detailed. Moreover, the use of information retrieved from focus groups may steer the product design in an entirely new way, as the opinions of the people participating are not affected by the format of the question. However, focus groups represent the opinions of only a comparatively small part of the target population and cannot be viewed as the ultimate truth.
Therefore, to retrieve credible information about the product or service provided, a company will have to use a combination of the tools mentioned above. As soon as the opinions of most citizens are heard, the identification of the required product characteristics can begin. As a result, the product that will meet the needs of all members of the target audience becomes a possibility.
5 types of online audience surveying tools to help create a more customer-centred website and brand. (2016). Web.
Pyzdek, T., & Keller, P. (2014). Project management using DMAIC and DMADV. In Six Sigma handbook (4th ed.) (pp. 213-244). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
Voice of the customer. (n. d.). Web.
Voice of the customer (VOC). (n. d.). Web.