New chapter for MR on the Horizon says Confirmit


Attendees at Confirmit’s recent seminar - “VoC – The Next Frontier for Market Research” - considered the benefits of ‘blending’ channels and approaches in order to capture the big picture insight that organisations now consider vital for effective business planning and decision-making in a customer-centric company. Claire Sporton, VP, Customer Experience Management at Confirmit was joined by MR clients RONIN Corporation and W5 - and its customer Gas Networks Ireland - to talk about the business benefits of harnessing Voice of the Customer (VoC) programmes not only to enable customers to reflect on their opinions and to validate other surveying techniques but to open the door to new revenue streams, helping to boost the MR bottom line.
Ceara Nevin, Associate Director of Ireland’s first full service customer experience agency, W5, and Marie Lyster, Customer Experience Manager at Gas Networks Ireland explained the attraction of taking a blended approach to customer experience measurement, citing their combined experience in the Utilities market.
“The number of organisations that need to create and enable a strong customer-centric strategy for their businesses is growing so it’s entirely logical that MR agencies should adapt in response to this changing requirement. Over time our work in W5 has become increasingly specialist in the customer experience measurement and insight space and Voice of the customer programmes are now integral to our work as other more traditional qualitative and quantitative research methodologies. Our experience working in partnership with Gas Networks Ireland and others is that this blended approach enables us to match the right customer experience measurement technique to the right customer,” said Nevin.
“The work we do with W5 helps us to harness more qualitative approaches which enable us to work with customers, without agenda, acknowledging the importance of their views. It enables customers to reflect on their experiences, what went well and what did not, the impact that has on how they perceive the company. It allows us to uncover less tangible and more complex aspects of the customer experience which more traditional approaches would not be able to capture,” said Lyster.
John Buglass, Associate Director and Simon Glanville, UK Managing Director at MR agency RONIN Corporation, also welcomed the gradual move away from a purely traditional approach to Customer Satisfaction Programmes.
“The adoption of multi-channel, multi-touchpoint methodologies enables Voice of the Customer programmes to attain the depth and immediacy of insight not possible with any one single approach and where the opportunities for MR agencies ultimately lie. There can be no doubt that real-time reporting, multi-channel contact and digital recording can enhance the Voice of the Customer and help MR agencies to boost the bottom line,” said Glanville.
Claire Sporton, VP, Customer Experience Management at Confirmit, supported these arguments by providing pragmatic advice on ‘The Seven Steps to VoC Heaven’.
 “Be under no illusion that the key to marrying VoC and MR is effective communication about programmes and successes in order to inspire further success and innovation. Executive support for change must be built from within the agency in order to ensure that VoC programmes have the backing they need to succeed. There can be no shying away from getting the basics right so that there are strong foundations in place from which to build a sound business that harnesses VoC alongside traditional MR programmes,” said Sporton.
Tim Hannington, EVP at Confirmit, commented: “The issues raised at the seminar mirror what we are seeing at the coal face. MR agencies are the fastest growing sector of the Confirmit ACE (Achievement in Customer Excellence) Award entrants – and winners – with 15% of winning VoC programmes run through MR agencies. Indeed, W5 was announced as the winner of the ‘Best Use of Insight through a Market Research Agency’ last week, with RONIN Corporation achieving an honourable mention in the same category. Interest in taking a blended approach to MR and VoC is gathering pace and we look forward to many more lively discussions with both boutique agencies and well-established MR businesses alike in the coming months and years.”