Taking the discomfort out of B2C (Business to Customer) Marketing research

By Pia Beukes (pbeukdeak)(215355582)

If you shop like me, you dash into the shops with a list of things to do, and knock them off as quickly as possible to still be on time for fetching the family after work/school. So heaven help the poor, hapless student standing there with their marketing survey form ready for your input. I tend to mutter a breathless ‘No thank you’ and disappear as quickly as possible so that any uncomfortable hesitation cannot be construed as acquiescence.
We are bombarded with post-sale survey emails, dinner time marketing calls and pop-up web pages requesting surveys, which annoys many of us no end. But there is a better (and less painful) way for businesses to conduct their marketing research.

Rate as you pay

A UK software application called TruRating is presently being trialled at some businesses in Melbourne and Sydney. The software allows customers to rate a business as they pay using their EFTPOS machine. It is designed primarily for retail and hospitality businesses and asks one of 5 core questions related to value, service, atmosphere, and whether the customer would recommend the business. Businesses can also add their own questions.

RateAsPay

The TruRating software allows each consumer to answer one feedback question

Georgina Nelson, co-founder of TruRating, developed the software to fight the frustration of businesses looking for reliable feedback from customers. Websites such as TripAdvisor and Yelp can be easily gamed, with reviews filled out by disgruntled ex-employees or bored teenagers, for example. Further, the feedback on such websites is subject to the 90-9-1 Rule – 90% of customers do not give feedback, 9% only give feedback when they are very angry or excited, and only 1% regularly give useful feedback – the so-called creators. TruRating also aids in providing close to real-time feedback, and from customers of all ages, socio-economic backgrounds, and shopping habits.

This makes it easier and cheaper to conduct than the traditional customer feedback survey. Either way though, well-designed questions are required to ensure reliability (consistency in eliciting the same type of information each time the survey is conducted in the same circumstances) and validity (sample representativeness – do the questions collect the data required and is the population sample representative of the target segment) .  With a system such as TruRating, the entire customer base (target segment) is surveyed. The influence of cognitive biases such as the social desirability bias where people answer questions in a socially acceptable manner should be reduced as survey results would be completely anonymous.

How your credit card predicts your purchases (or lack thereof)

Few nations make more cashless transactions per person that does Australia. Already many businesses use our cashless payment habits to provide market insights (the ‘Context’ and possibly ‘Competition’ of the 5Cs and potentially effectiveness of the segmentation, positioning and targeting (STP) strategy followed). Spending data showing an increase in the purchase of new car tyres or car repairs, for example, can signal an approaching fall in new car sales. People are much more likely to spend money on keeping their cars going when they are not planning on replacing them soon. Spending on furniture or travelling usually indicates a strong economy, since household goods and other discretionary spending usually increases when consumers are feeling more confident about the economy. The onset of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) spurred household savings of Australians up from almost zero to over 10% of their incomes. Seven years on, this percentage still remains quite high.

Customer trust essential

The downside of all this data collection is of course privacy and personal information security. Marketers as ever have a responsibility to protect the information of customers. It would be foolish to lose the customer’s trust over the storage and usage of their personal information, especially given the many benefits this information presents to marketing teams. And this growth in Big Data and its usage in marketing is set to grow. It has even been touted as the new gold of the business world…

Digital Gold

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