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Thursday, 24 April 2014

Real research

From: Tea and Sympathy

Just before boarding the 8.40am train for Crewe this morning I noticed a stand of besuited business people chatting to passing travellers.

It turns out that this is a regular monthly event whereby the senior managers from London Midland train company hang out in either Birmingham or Euston stations and chat to customers who happen to be passing by.

I spoke to the marketing director who said it was a great way of getting feedback, even if they had to put up with moans about the trains being late. Apparently, it serves as a rallying point for all senior London Midland folk before they start their monthly management meetings.

All very commendable, of course, but the downside for me is that there is no research company involved. On the other hand, it is great to see managers getting inspired by customer feedback.

Readers' comments (6)

  • Are we researchers expecting to have a monopoly on providing customer feedback now??!!

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  • Oh, if only!!

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  • Love this Steve. I recently hired a van from Europcar to move some office furniture around. I got a follow up call a few days later. Turns out that the woman calling me to do the customer sat survey was the "Customer Experience Director" and not a research company or a normal interviewer. They have a policy of each of the senior people internally to do 1 sat call per day to get first hand feedback. I can tell you the insight she got from me, from working in research, was certainly invaluble to her. She might even be getting involved in the Mafia conference! Small world and even though its possibly taking work away from research companies its refreshing to see companies doing this kind of thing cause it proves they really care.

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  • When I worked on the railway I always advised senior managers and directors to talk with their customers like this. This was not to do myself out of a job as their market researcher but as well as them finding it a valuable experience it also led to research projects to perhaps quantify or examine solutions. There was another benefit in that it often enabled them to understand better the reasons behind research results.

    I know of more than one MD on the railway (when I was working there) who would take phone calls from customers ringing to complain

    I do not see why you would expect research companies to be involved

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  • Completely agree Alison, I thiink its great that managers are becoming so much more directly engaged with customer feedback, can only help us out in the long run...

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  • There is no substitute for real life interaction with customers, for clients and researchers. The only risk for clients is if they don't hear what is being said.

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