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Thanks Andy, great teamwork, we were really pleased with the insight.
Amy Martin, Retail Eyes

Customer Research


Customer Research by Closing the Loop

Qualitative research – “Why and how?” - depth rather than breadth

People who have never seen a focus group assume they result in a soft, mushy , non-controversial middle ground. The reality is the reverse: people are highly protective of their individual viewpoints. Yes they will act as a team to solve issues, but they are also completely frank in exploring the differences in their attitudes and buying behaviour.  

The word “Ramblers” may conjure up images of eccentric middle aged men in shorts and hats! But you may not know that Ramblers is also a highly successful tour operator running walking holidays all over the world.

We conducted in-home interviews and focus groups with their own customers, with lapsed customers and with competitors. People said clearly that they preferred key aspects of the product offered by competitors, and that they wanted a reward for loyalty.

Ramblers took the recommendations on board, and their business increased substantially as a result of the changes they made.

 Qualitative research enables customers to fully engage with products, ideas, advertising. As well as direct stimulus like dummy products, proposition boards or advertising boards, qualitative uses associative or projective techniques: it uses photos and explores analogies to go beyond superficial and rational reactions to head for the underlying emotional factors which really influence our purchasing behaviour.

Quantitative (survey) research –“What and how many?”- breadth rather than depth

Quantitative research costs have fallen sharply. Tools like SurveyMonkey has opened quant research to every organisation with a database.  Telephone research is far cheaper too.

When data collection is cheap, good consultants add value by asking the right questions and by digging that bit deeper to extract real insight from the data. In the right hands, SurveyMonkey is a great tool– but if your questionnaire is badly designed, you are wasting the potential.

So the value of survey research is not in obtaining online data “for free”, nor in the confidence levels provided by sampling theory. Rather the value is in going beyond the simple counts to the cross-tabs: “The truth is in the cross-tabs” as Andy's old boss Martin West used to say, and to explore not just what but why.


For more information about our Customer Research services, please call us on 01908 263000 or email andy@closingtheloop.co.uk