Customer Research: How to Ask Focus Group Questions That Provide Actionable Answers
You’ve often heard that the best way to find out what your customers want is to ask them, but once you’ve set up a focus group or decided to conduct a customer survey, what’s the best way to ask? Customer research needs to explore both emotional and rational motivations behind purchase and usage, according to a recent whitepaper from brand consultancy Hiebing. Following are a few tips on how to quiz consumers on their buying habits:
* Ask consumers about real-life situations. Detailed surveys that include questions such as “When was the last time you purchased our brand?” or “Why did you purchase our product instead of our competitor’s?” will provide clearer insight than “How do you usually shop?” Details about real situations will let you know what type of products and communication you need to offer to attract customers in those situations, Hiebing officials write.
* Make it about the emotion. Ask what feelings your customers had in the moment and what feelings they were looking for in the product or the brand. “Often giving consumers wrong examples lets them get to the meaningful answers,” the whitepaper’s authors suggest. For example, if you ask, “Were you looking for a fun brand experience in this situation?” and they respond “of course not,” you’re closer to getting a meaningful answer about what your customers are looking for.
* Keep in mind that non-behavior is behavior, too. When customers decide to hang on to old products for another year instead of buying new ones, consider that part of your competition, Hiebing officials point out. They suggest using questions such as “When you last thought about purchasing our products, but didn’t, what did you do instead?” and “How did that fit better in your life at that time than our products would have?” Answers to these questions are part of your customers’ consideration sets, and will inform their purchasing decisions.