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Top 5 Strategies for Customer Experience Research Success

In our recent webinar, Digsite CEO Monika Rogers discussed how online qual research tools and methods are making it faster and easier than ever for researchers to tap into their customers' journey and identify growth opportunities. In part 1 of this blog, we talked about the four building blocks of CX journey research that help deliver great outcomes for your projects. They may also help determine how to move forward more iteratively so you can build and optimize solutions as you learn more about the obstacles in the consumer’s journey.


In part 2 below, we will share real-world examples of how businesses have used qualitative experience research to successfully address problem areas and create amazing experiences for customers. We also lay out the essential 5 tips for CX research success.


Now, we’re going to talk about 6 examples of projects that represent best practices ranging in scope, stage, product category, methodology, goals and results.



Problem: Company A wanted to come up with better products for a hospital but needed to understand all the steps typically involved in that experience. Because of the logistics and time that it would take to physically observe hospital staff (in addition to the stressors of their jobs and the abundance of COVID-19), Digsite was able to recruit hospital workers that work with the specific product.


Approach: Hospital workers completed digital diaries walking through their experiences including what worked well and what could have worked better.​ The flexibility of the research was key to collecting accurate data. The study was set up so that the participants could complete their diary activities on their own time with specific probes to help them recall details to help them visualize what had happened that day in detail.


Outcome: Through this study, Company A was quite effective in identifying specific pain points for innovation and how the product benefits were being delivered without the challenging obstacles of directly observing in a hospital.




Problem: Company B wanted to understand the different roles and ways customers engage within their particular service solution in the technology space.


Approach: The team explored 17 different touchpoints and unique needs for six different roles within their organization to accurately understand varying pain points for each. Digsite was able to recruit those different roles, identify which of the different touchpoints they had experiences with and ask them about the ones only relevant to them. A variety of approaches such as open-ended conversations, fill-in-the-blank storytelling, image sharing and video were used so there wasn’t fatigue from doing the same tasks over and over. This also enabled us to collect a mix of structured and unstructured data to speed data analysis.


Outcome: Company B was able to not only uncover the changes that needed to be made to the current experience, but also the expectations of the brand that weren’t being met by customers. Gaps were uncovered that would improve the experience at a granular level and significant strategic implications bubbled up to improve the brand image and relevance.




Problem: Company C needed to understand what drives people to certain providers of automotive retail services and what their customers’ biggest pain points are. ​


Approach: Different modalities of research were completed in this project so that participants could reflect on past experiences and walk into retailers and capture video and photos of their experiences. Based on their experiences, the team generated and shared ideas that the participants could mark up, and those activities were sequenced in a way that the team could listen, iterate on areas of exploration, and hypothesize and test solutions from week to week.


Outcome: Company C was able to see the critical roadblocks both in planning and in the physical retail environments. They generated six potential service features and reengaged consumers to validate and optimize ideas The ability to leapfrog from tactical solutions to strategic possibilities allowed them to understand each level of the process.




Problem: Company D needed to understand how and when people wanted to do their business with insurance purchases online.​

Approach:​ The team used unmoderated observation​ followed by moderated exploration​ to identify when to refer to a representative. They observed people on their website and offered some consumers the opportunity to select their preference to perform the task digitally or to talk to a representative. There was strong interest in digital experiences that weren’t yet available on the website. After this initial phase, participants were recruited for an online CX/UX study that focused on building the specific features identified in a web experiment.


Outcome: Company D was able to improve the web experience so that consumers could perform more tasks online vs. talking to a representative. And they built an approach that guided consumers to the solution they would be the most satisfied with.




Problem: Company E wanted to know if customers understood product labeling and shelf organization in-store. They were noticing problems with returns and essentially, people were getting confused in the store

Approach:​ We asked that category users go into the store with the task of buying a specific product and take a photo or video diary of the shelf set. We asked them to explain their decision process and why they selected the product to solve this. Company E was able to see if they made the right decision and probe into what was causing the points of confusion.

Outcome: The combination of the video diary and follow-up discussion after the fact helped to drill down to the specific improvements they could make in the packaging and product display.




Problem: Company F wanted to test a new virtual store experience for a product that was in the early stages of development. They had a video of what the new experience would be like and some photos of the different steps or stages within that experience.

Solution:​ The team asked participants to watch those videos to help them visualize the process and then collected their feedback. They were able to probe how this fit with their shopping behavior and articulate how they were feeling at each stage of the journey and why. During the data collection, the team identified several points of anxiety that were created by this virtual experience and were able to probe deeper to get to the root of the issue.

Outcome: Company F understood what they needed to do differently not just functionally, but emotionally to reassure people and make them feel empowered during that journey. It led them to uncover specific takeaways that would make the benefit of the virtual experience come to life rather than create anxiety.


What are the top 5 tips for CX research success?


1. Consider multi-method engagement beyond video.

Building a short-term CX community allows you to explore experiences with lots of different approaches from written diaries with photos to discussions among the participant group that allow you to iterate. You can also include self-recorded videos where consumers talk through their process or schedule live video interviews. All of these tools and methods are valid, but you may find that multiple methods of engagement get you deeper insights for your budget and can speed up analysis and decision making.


2. Capture the emotional and functional journey.

Video is one valuable tool to capture emotions. Storytelling, projective techniques, or self-reflections within group conversations can also help bring up those feelings. You may also want to use methods that allow probing or iteration, so you can tie those feelings more directly to specific functional experiences and verify whether emotional reactions are common to all participants.


3. Use the right size of scope to maximize context.

Some of these studies we described earlier were done with 10 participants and some were done with 100 or more. With today’s technology, you can get more participants and a mix of qual and quant feedback in a single study. But sometimes it only takes a dozen people to identify problems and bubble up potential solutions. Start small for issues you don’t have a lot of information on, and consider larger studies when you have a strong hypothesis and can keep the scope narrow.


4. Identify your assumptions/hypothesis upfront.

Ask yourself, what do you think you're going to learn from this research? What do you think you’ll recommend or do with the results? When you ask each of your stakeholders that question. This will help you identify assumptions or hypotheses your team might have missed. Making sure that you’re able to verify those assumptions can help deter the chance of your results being questioned.


5. Plan for iterative or continuous learning.

Iterative learning can be incredibly helpful. You could ask research participants questions on day one and have a call with your team on day two to determine if you need additional exploration. The more that you can involve your team in that process and iterate through improvements, the stronger your results will be to build towards your goals.


What do you see as the biggest opportunity to improve your organization’s CX journey research?


Using these tips, think about how you and your team can act more quickly and make faster decisions. If you're interested in a technology partner to help you succeed in conducting experience research, we can collaborate to determine your objectives and maximize your project success.

Digsite allows you to capture photos and videos of experiences, then ask fill-in-the-blank stories to help guide participants to share the context and emotion behind their choices. Our experts can act as an extension of your team to recommend projective techniques that bubble up breakthrough insights. And with multiple points of participant engagement, you can iterate as you learn so your research delivers a more accurate understanding of consumer needs.


ExperienceWant to learn more about Digsite’s flexible capabilities?

See the ways you can use Digsite to understand all aspects of the customer journey, including several real-world companies have used Digsite to optimize every moment along the customer journey.



Topics: Market Research, Strategic Best Practices, Innovation

Monika Rogers

Monika Rogers

Monika Rogers is the CEO and Co-founder of Digsite. She has more than 20 years of marketing, innovation and market research experience, including positions at General Mills, Pillsbury and the A.C. Nielsen Center for Marketing Research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.