May 24, 2024
Customer research

Customer research: from satisfied customers to loyal customers

customer research

Customer satisfaction is super important for any business, but there’s more to it than just happy customers. We want to create fans. People who not only keep buying from us, but also tell everyone how cool we are. How do we achieve this? By doing good customer research. This will help you find out what your customers want and expect. In this blog, you’ll discover how to turn satisfied customers into real fans. Read more!


Setting up customer research: step-by-step plan


If you want to do customer research, it is important to set up a step-by-step plan that helps you to set the right course. We list the steps for you.


Step 1: The importance of a well-thought-out research plan

This is the foundation of a solid building – without it, your research could get bogged down. It forces you to think about your goals. For example, do you want to understand why customers complain about a specific product? Or do you want to know why others love it so much? Other examples include:


  • You’re just starting out and want to get to know your target audience
  • You want to sharpen or expand your product range
  • You want to know how your customers view your business

Defining your goals helps to formulate targeted questions. Good questions are the key to valuable answers.


Step 2: Determining your research goals in your customer survey

The second step is like putting beacons on your journey: they lead you to where you want to go. To successfully fulfill this step, you will set up SMART objectives. Once your goal is established, it will point you in the right direction by setting up specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound research goals. That’s what SMART stands for. An example of a SMART objective is that you want to measure customer satisfaction for a specific region within three months. Based on these results, you can formulate the objectives to improve your services.


Step 3: Plan of action

Once you’ve gathered the results of steps 1 and 2, it’s time to clarify your customer survey. It should now be clear exactly what you are going to investigate: taking on too much is a well-known pitfall. The more sharply you delineate, the more concrete your results will be.


  • Accurately describe your target audience and gather information that is already available and relevant. Consider age, location, income level, and any behavioral traits.
  • Formulate your central question. In doing so, you also directly mention relevant research topics that you need to research in order to be able to answer the central question. Example: What are the key factors influencing customer loyalty in retail and how can we improve them??
  • Choose the appropriate research method. Ideally, you should start with an internal analysis and see what data is already available. Now is the time to let your data do the talking. Look at sales figures, customer behavior, customer feedback, and other information you’ve already collected with a CRM system, for example. Involve other departments as well to get a full picture of it. How can product developments contribute to customer satisfaction and what can marketing learn from customer service?
doing customer research

Additional research


When you realize that these steps do not provide sufficient insight, you can decide to do additional customer research.


  • Online or offline surveys: A questionnaire contains questions on a specific topic and can be presented to a group of people both offline and online. Online tools like Google Forms and Typeform simplify the processing of responses, while offline questionnaires can provide context in locations such as retail stores, festivals, and events. A handy tip: an online questionnaire can also be used offline. This can be done, for example, by having it filled in with a tablet on site, which saves time during processing.
  • Poll: A poll is a quick online survey with one question and multiple answer options. A tally list is a similar offline method with checkmarks on answers. They provide quick insights into customer opinions and can verify existing survey results or assess the need for more extensive research.
  • Interviews: An interview is a personal research method in which clients answer questions individually. It provides in-depth insights, but is less reliable in limited quantities. Reliability can be increased by combining multiple interviews with other methods. A structured interview schedule and the ability to understand the interviewee well are crucial for a successful interview.
  • Customer panel or focus group: a customer panel consists of registered people that you consult at different times, usually online, such as via a private Facebook group. A focus group is a live group interview in which participants engage in dialogue with each other and with you. It is important to steer and direct the conversation to allow everyone to have their say. This way you can also pick up both verbal and non-verbal signals.

In the pursuit of business success, customer satisfaction is an invaluable treasure that must be cherished. But in today’s dynamic world, contentment is no longer the final destination; it’s just the starting point. We’ve discovered that the true triumph lies in transforming satisfied customers into loyal ambassadors of your brand. Remember, customer research is not a static destination, but a continuous process that adapts to changing times and trends. It is the bridge between data and strategic decision-making, between knowledge and action. So don’t stand still. Continue on this path with confidence, listening to your customers, understanding what makes them tick and embracing their wants and needs.