Market research is not short of choices in methodologies as we explained in our Comprehensive Guide to Market Research for Small Businesses. Once you've decided on a quantitative approach, the next step is to determine your objectives and choose which KPIs or metrics you should be measuring in your survey.
Market research companies can help. The KPIs and metrics you choose to measure in your survey should be determined by your objectives. Depending on your needs and what your organization wants to track, the measurement tool of choice will vary. Options include metrics like NPS, CSAT, and CES.
The key takeaway here is doing the market research is equally as important as choosing a metric. Don't get stuck choosing which metric is best which prevents the research from getting started. All great companies find ways to measure and benchmark success particularly when it comes to customer satisfaction and customer relationships. In the words of Peter Drucker, "what gets measured, gets managed."
Customer experience (CX) research creates a well-aligned business strategy where customer feedback is integrated into the strategy. It constantly evolves. So new feedback is garnered on the new strategy and so on. It's a continuous cycle of improvement guides by KPIs.
Make sure the right metrics and KPIs are on your market research dashboard. Here are 6 KPIs our market research company in Syracuse suggests integrating into your efforts.
The first and often forgotten about KPI. Awareness is a metric you should tackle with an image and awareness survey or a brand equity survey. In order to accurately gather this metric, you'll need to survey a general population (meshing customers and non-customers.)
This has become more and more difficult without truly randomized samples and probabilistic samples becoming non-existent. With cell phone samples taking over and area codes spanning across geographies, it's difficult to get a true market assessment on awareness. Certain segments of demographics do not own cell phones, certain segments are not on social media, certain segments join market research online panels. Each incurs a non-randomized bias.
In a digital world "awareness" needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Is it still important? Yes. As an organization, you need to know how many individuals in your target market area aware of your brand. Lower levels of awareness (less than 10%) will create different marketing strategies and channels than a campaign where your awareness stands at 90% or better. These numbers create 2 very different kinds of marketing strategies.
When measuring awareness, it's always important to note the survey sponsor needs to be blinded. Sending an online survey with your brand in the header or making a phone call and introducing your firm as the sponsor and then asking about awareness will bias the numbers.
Awareness comes in 3 forms:
- Unaided Awareness. This is your top-of-mind recognition. It's the percentage of people who mention your brand without being prompted. Strong unaided awareness means you have extremely high recognition in your market. Unaided awareness is measured by asking a question like "when you think of market research companies in Syracuse, which one(s) come to mind?"
- Aided Awareness. This is the percentage of your market who are familiar with your brand after prompting. Although you may not be remembered top-of-mind, aided awareness still indicates some level of familiarity with your brand. This is not as good as unaided, but still important none-the-less. Aided awareness comes into play a lot with Google search. When you go on Google and search dry cleaners in Syracuse, it will show you a list of dry cleaners in the area. As you scan the top 3 you notice ABC Dry Cleaners and you suddenly realize you pass by them every time you go grocery shopping. The parking lot is clean and they always look busy so you formed a positive opinion of them. This is still meaningful for you but not as powerful as a consumer going directly to Google and typing in ABC Dry Cleaners.
- Total Awareness. This metric is calculated by combining unaided and aided awareness into one number. If 30% of your population mentioned your brand top-of-mind and another 45% remembered your brand when aided from a list, your total awareness stands at 75%.
Interested in reading about the difference between aided and unaided awareness? Read more here.
2. Customer Satisfaction (CSAT)
This KPI comes in many forms. There are benefits to a 5-point customer satisfaction scale and an 11-point. There is no right or wrong way to scale this question as it is dependent on your needs. Read more here about choosing between large and small scales for your survey here.
CSAT measures how satisfied your customers are with your product or service. Obviously, this metric is customized to customers of your business. CSAT uses 1 to 5, 1 to 7, 1 to 10, and 0 to 10 scales which range from "very poor" to "very good" or "very unsatisfied" to "very satisfied." Your scaling anchors need to represent both a negative and positive extreme.
Of all of the KPI metrics this is probably the most commonly used across surveys. CSAT measurements are synonymous with market research.
3. Net Promoter Score (NPS)
Drive Research is a big fan of net promoter score (NPS.) This is a metric we came across years ago in its infancy at an industry conference and have been implementing it ever since in client surveys. The core benefit of NPS is it is easy to understand and now, easy to benchmark. Tons of secondary research exists on average NPS ratings by industry. It's also a great metric to track year-over-year.
It uses a 0 to 10 scale of likelihood to recommend with "0" being not at all likely to recommend and "10" being very likely to recommend. Those rating you a 9 or 10 are grouped into promoters while those rating you 0 to 6 are grouped into detractors. Those rating you a 7 or 8 are called passives. The education behind NPS teaches us to find out what makes the 9 and 10 respondents so loyal and communicate that passion to the 7 and 8 respondents in hopes to build their loyalty and likelihood to recommend.
NPS ratings range from -100 to +100. Any scores in the 4th quartile of +50 are considered strong. The Apple's and Amazon's of the world compete for NPS ratings in the high +70s and +80s. Looking for a local business that might score high on NPS? Wegman's comes to mind.
4. Customer Effort Score (CES)
This is probably the newest and fastest-growing metric in market research. It's essentially designed for a growing digital world in which customer relationships are short and transactional. Amazon is judged by how easy their online ordering and return process is. Apple is judged by how intuitive and easy to use their devices are. Banking apps are judged by how quickly customers can check their balances or make an account transfer.
Customer effort score or CES measures how easy it is for a customer to do business with you. In transactional business models a low likelihood to frustrate equals higher customer satisfaction and higher loyalty. Something as simple as a user experience (UX) design flaw on the e-commerce portion of your website can cause customers to run. Particularly if they incur the same frustration time and time again when they order each day or each week.
Customer effort score is typically measured using a 1 to 5 scale with "5" being the positive extreme or "very easy." We highly recommend including this question in your next customer survey, as it can prove very telling to your overall customer experience.
5. Likelihood to Switch (LTS)
This metric ties in nicely with NPS and CES and they typically correlate to one another. The typically is italicized for a reason. High likelihood to recommend and positive CES will naturally result in a low likelihood to switch right? So why even ask it?
Here's why. Some of the NPS and CES data carries no context. You may score a +64 on NPS and have an average CES score of 4.2 but how do your competitors perform? Maybe those scores are low compared to some of the other vendors your customers deal with. Perhaps your main competitor scores a +70 NPS and has an average CEO of 4.5? Therefore, it's critical to ask likelihood to switch in your customer survey.
Another dynamic at play here is the influence and decision-making prowess the survey respondent has. The survey respondent may be highly satisfied with your product but it is very costly. As a mid-manager, he or she may be getting pressure from management to lower costs. As a result, the survey respondent knows there is a strong likelihood to switch to a competitor next year even though they are extremely satisfied with the quality and the product or service. If you only ask NPS, CES, or CSAT, you will likely lose this context without LTS.
Much like other metrics, pick and choose where you ask follow-up open-ended questions. Don't ask respondents to write-in an open-end on all of these KPIs but pick one or two you might find most valuable for your needs.
6. Employee Satisfaction and Employee Experience (ESAT or EX)
We often forget about measuring happiness and satisfaction with our own employees, don't we? Businesses get so caught up with pleasing their customers and measuring CSAT, they forget about the most important stakeholder of all: the employee.
Many claim employee satisfaction = customer satisfaction and at face value, it seems to make sense right? Happy employees feel more empowered, more fulfilled, and involved. In turn, they pass those positive attitudes to their work and dealings with their customers.
This is why it is critical to creating EX KPIs at your organization. Understanding the pulse of your own workforce will help you identify problems and opportunity areas to improve. The great thing about measuring employee satisfaction as a KPI is you can pick your scale of choice. Whether it is CSAT (which becomes ESAT) or NPS (likelihood to recommend the company to a friend or family member), the measurement tool can be customized.
Need Assistance Choosing KPIs for Your Market Research?
Drive Research is a market research company in Syracuse, NY. We custom-design surveys for our clients in all industries. From understanding your needs to formulating market research projects to getting the answers you need, Drive Research manages all aspects of the work.
Better data. Better decisions. Better strategy. With Drive Research.
Questions? Contact us at email@example.com or call us at 315-303-2040.