By TLF Research
One of the biggest frustrations of customer insight and customer contact staff is how to convey customers’ views to senior management in a way that makes them sit up and take notice. It’s difficult with statistics, almost impossible with reports – and please don’t show me another PowerPoint presentation!! Of course, for some time it’s been possible to video customers. This can be done covertly, e.g. with hidden cameras in store or overtly in situations such as focus groups. The former are good for observing functional behaviours but not for gathering opinions or emotional insights and whilst the latter will gather plenty of opinions they do so in an artificial environment. Both are expensive to collect and need a huge amount of editing time to extract a few highlights from hours of mundane footage.
Luckily, technology has now moved on a long way from recording focus groups. The rapid adoption of smart phones plus the growing habit of uploading videos to Youtube, Facebook and other sites means that more and more customers have the ability to make a video and upload it to a website.
Already, over 20% of YSP panel members have flagged themselves as willing and able to record and upload videos, and the number is growing all the time. Panellists can be asked to express their views about a specific question from a survey, about the theme of a consultation exercise or about any subject at all. Organisations can specify exactly who they want to record a video, either based on specific demographics or respondents who have answered a particular question a certain way. Videos tend to work best when there is a tight brief or question for the panellist to respond to. They are usually between 30 seconds and 3 minutes in length. A further advantage is that the customers are in their own environment, usually at home (although they can be asked to shoot a video ‘on location’), so you get cues from their environment and people tend to be more relaxed. And of course, the whole thing costs a tiny fraction of previous methods of producing customer videos or ‘vox-pops’.
Uses of customer videos
Customers giving their opinions of things like service, products, their relationship with the organisation, in the form of voxpops can be extremely powerful when used in staff training, to reinforce points and bring elements to life. This is particularly useful with audiences that have very little customer contact or with customer facing staff such as call centre advisors who do have customer contact but typically on a more functional basis. The videos can highlight how customers feel, thus enhancing advisors’ empathy with customers.
People’s opinions in video format can be used for marketing purposes, in terms of perceptions of products, brands, advertising, etc. Whilst the statistics from a survey provide the results, the videos bring the results to life.
What’s more powerful than a real customer talking about how fantastic your organisation is? In terms of advocacy, it certainly beats a few lines of text in inverted commas! Videos can feature on your website and you can create your own channel on Youtube.