Meeting Clients’ Needs, Before They Know They Have Them
It’s About Innovation and Automation
As in so many industries, the rate of change in the market research industry is staggering, and it continues to accelerate. If we are to keep pace with the constantly shifting landscape—and help clients do the same—we must be able to anticipate client’s needs. In other words, we must be able to answer clients’ questions before they know they have them. The means to that end is focusing on innovation and automation.
In my work as part of the Toluna product R&D team, I’m fortunate enough to work with clients on one side of the fence and our development team on the other. In my interactions with clients I come to understand their product requirements and how we can add features and enhancements to satisfy their needs. I strive to understand the details that will make the products the tools they need. Then I pass on those details to our developers, web designers and user experience (UX) experts, who integrate these new features and enhancements into our new releases. (To keep pace with the accelerating rate of change, we average a new release every month or two.)
Automation: Anywhere, Anytime Access
One of the major requirements clients express these days is automation of standard processes. They want to be able to launch and monitor projects anytime, from anywhere. In today’s fast moving world they need quick results at a lower cost, and that’s what DIY features delivered through automation offer. A good example of this is our SampleXpress product, which gives clients instant access to feasibility and sampling for their project. (So a client can initiate a project on Sunday at midnight if that meets their needs.)
Customization and Support
But there is a caveat: We have found that, along with automation, clients want solutions with built-in scalability—and we need to be able to customize those solutions to meet their specific needs. In today’s ultra-competitive marketplace, one-size-fits-all products no longer suit the needs of clients, who need not just fast answers to their questions, but the RIGHT answers. Without that ammunition in their hands they risk losing market share to better-equipped competitors.
We’ve also learned that, while they demand more and more DIY features, clients also want the option of gaining help and support at any time, turning a DIY project into full-service if they find they suddenly need additional expertise or research services not originally predicted.
Staying Ahead of Change
As I said at the outset, the way we in the industry will stay ahead of change and give clients what they need is by anticipating their questions before they know they have them, and maintaining a laser-like focus on innovation. That’s how we will continue to be the partners they need to succeed in a constantly shifting global economy.