Especially over the last couple of weeks with our analytics speaker, our own TA presenting and taking a closer look at applied PR and Ad research, it's finally solidified in my brain that research is completely necessary. The problem is that research done incorrectly or results that are misunderstood can end up as a waste of time and money.
The article urges every company to embrace more than just quantitative surveys and random focus groups. They use the example of a European energy provider that does extensive customer research to ensure their customers are happy. A representative from the company explains it very well, "The way that we make a customer feel will dictate how they behave--whether they stay with us as their energy provider, whether they call us up, and whether they shout at us when they do call," he says.
What method did the company use to research? They asked a number of new customers to keep every piece of communication they received from the energy provider in the six weeks it takes to switch over. These customers were also asked to graph how they felt about the switch each day. "These exercises and subsequent one-on-one interviews in customers' homes revealed that E.ON's new recruits wanted reassurance that they'd made the right decision to switch providers--and became concerned when they didn't get it."
It may seem like a tiny piece of the company's entire plan but it's absolutely crucial and a great example of research done well.