The other day, I tried out a new coffee shop. It’s really near our office but I’ve never thought to go in there (namely because it means crossing a busy road and contending with London traffic). Let me tell you, I had an amazing experience! The coffee was incredible (oat flat white – complete with foam art heart) and the (unplanned) pastry was divine. The overall impression was great – the staff were polite, the atmosphere was relaxed, and the signage was on point. Once back at my desk, I took a photo of my hoard to share with my partner and went about the rest of my day.
This coffee shop may never know how life-changing (slight exaggeration) that experience was for me or how I feel about them as a result of it. The fact is, beyond people voicing their opinion instore, online or via customer services, brands may never truly understand individual encounters. This is why in-the-moment research is so important to uncover brand perceptions – evaluating actual experiences, as they happen.
By speaking to customers while they are interacting with your products or services, you can quickly learn a lot.
First, you’ll identify pain points that you may otherwise not hear about, unless it’s a negative review – which we want to avoid at all costs. The thing about negative reviews, is that they generally surface the really big stuff, the 1 out of 10 experiences. But when you catch people in the moment, they will also recall the lower level frustrations – small things that they may have forgetten by the time they left the situation.
Second, you will get a more authentic response. Remember, it’s far easier for people to talk about their emotions while they’re actually feeling them, rather than a few hours later. So, you’ll unpack more about their experience in that moment.
Finally, you can learn about how your competitors are doing – how do they respond in certain situations, what are they doing better than or not as well as you?
It’s a bit of a no brainer then, that you’d want to catch your participants while this is all happening.
So, what’s the best way to run this type of research then? And how do you make sure participants are in fact answering in the moment?
While there are many methodologies you could use, we think WhatsApp trumps them all. It’s quick and easy for consumers to use, plus most people know how to use it (or can quickly pick it up).
Let’s return to our coffee shop example, then. Using WhatsApp, you could ask customers about their experience every time they visit any coffee shop, while they are still there. So questions such as ‘how was the coffee today’, ‘rate the latte art’ or ‘upload a video blog describing your experience’ are invaluable at capturing their true sentiment. You could even display a QR code in store for your customers to answer questions about their visit. Either way, the outcome is pure gold – real, live data on how you are performing, what people think, and actionable ways to improve. What’s more, this approach is efficient, and can easily be supplemented with other tools to really get to the bottom of the story.
This approach isn’t unique to coffee shops either, as many situations benefit from in-the-moment research – think of users testing an app, or customers visiting a mortgage advisor for example, the principle is the same. Capturing experiences with your brand as they happen will always be hugely insightful and valuable.
In case you didn’t already guess, we offer an integrated WhatsApp solution on Whycatcher. You can gather your responses in-the-moment via WhatsApp and see the data in real-time via our easy to use dashboard. To find out more, check out our website or get in touch here.
By the way, the coffee shop in question is now my regular and can do no wrong ❤️