David Rothstein
Chief Executive Officer, RTi Research

John is the head of Customer Experience (CX) for a large hotel chain. Jennifer is the CMO. John shares his latest report with Jennifer that shows 40% of their customers thought their stay was enjoyable. Is Jennifer pleased with that report, or is she appalled? Probably the latter. But for some reason, we in market research (MR) seem to be satisfied with this same low level of positive CX among the many millions of respondents we engage each year.

According to the latest GRBN Global Trust Survey (free access), just 40% say they find the research they participate in to be enjoyable. Wait, what??

There’s more. Right now, as highlighted in the same global research, almost half the people say they aren’t sure if they trust MR (45%). Another 16% flat-out don’t trust MR. As an industry meant to distill what people say, do, and think into meaningful and accurate insights, should we be concerned that only a third of the people trust us?

Let’s assume we do want to engender a higher level of trust. How does CX fit into this equation? The answer is that CX drives trust. And trust drives participation – especially participation for the right reasons. And broad participation from people that want to contribute improves data quality – which improves trust. See where this is going?

Tackling trust as an issue is hard. Where does one even begin? You got it – by improving our CX. GRBN’s research shows a direct relationship between CX and trust. If we can improve the CX we provide to our respondents and participants, a broader level of trust is sure to follow.

Let me recommend a great resource on how to get started on improving CX – GRBN’s participant engagement Handbook, ENGAGE 2.0 – a guide with 30 expert tips for improving the research participant user experience.

Customer experience can be defined as the customer’s perceptions, opinions, and feelings developed through the cumulative effect of their interactions with a brand or supplier.

So it will take time to change opinions that have perhaps been formed over a long period of time during which people have become accustomed to a certain level of engagement (or lack thereof). It will take effort. But there’s no doubt that as an industry, we have ways and means to accomplish the goal. The question is whether we have the will. I hope so.