Magazine article Marketing

Quality: It's Worth It

Magazine article Marketing

Quality: It's Worth It

Article excerpt

Effective market research does not come cheap, but 'bad news' can be worth the expense.

It's no wonder that market research agencies have gleefully locked into their clients' preoccupation with customer satisfaction -- because just about everything, from product manufacturing to the queue at the bank falls into this category.

And it is all embraced by the worthy notion of building up a good, long-term relationship with customers. Loyal clients mean predictable income. But research doesn't come cheap.

Forays into customer satisfaction will involve hefty expense on initial ad-hoc work, both qualitative and quantitative. And it doesn't stop there. "Dipping in is not a good way to go about it. It says that you don't have the confidence or commitment to act on the results," says Charles Soyer, spokesman for the Association of Users of Research Agencies.

The market research industry is gearing up to cope with rising interest in how customers react. It is a well-established US trend, so there is a bank of method based on experience to tap into. Taylor Nelson AGB, for example, talked to US experts before formulating FOQUS, a syndicated package soon to be launched in the UK.

"There's a split in the way companies look at quality," says a director of one specialist research company. "You can find out what consumers think is happening, which is usually dealt with through classic market research techniques. But to discover what is actually happening you must move into mystery shopping. …

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