Our team at Tetra Insights recently completed our second annual Customer Insight Trends & Benchmarks report. We collected data from more than 200 product and insights professionals, including product managers, designers, and researchers to better understand how they’re producing and using insights in their organizations.

Customer Insight Trends  Benchmarks report cover

The goal of this research is to help organizations benchmark how they generate customer experience insights and find opportunities to improve. Our research provides clarity into how data is collected, the current tools used to originate and analyze research data, and opportunities to improve and enhance related processes.

The results of the research paint a compelling picture of a growing commitment to customer-centric practices and delivering excellent user experiences across industries. Below are some interesting findings from the report.

Customer experience continues its growth as a key strategic priority across industries

customer experience survey graph

When we asked, “On a scale of 1 to 5, how big of a strategic priority is creating an excellent customer experience to your organization?”, 58.9% of respondents answered with a 5/5, with 87% answering at least a 4. Fully 98% of respondents answered a 3 or above.

Even though companies are prioritizing customer experience, their assessment of themselves shows great room for improvement. Only 21.6% of companies believe their customer experience is best-in-class in their industry, and 39.5% believe they are at or below average.

When we asked, “On a scale of 1 to 5, how big of a strategic priority is creating an excellent customer experience to your organization?”, 63.9% of respondents answered with a 5/5. This is an increase of 8.4% from last year.

graph rating customer experience understandingInterestingly, as the focus on customer experience has grown, companies are rating themselves more critically than last year. Only 12.7% of companies believe they are “best in class” when asked, “When it comes to understanding your customers and creating great customer experiences, how would you rate your organization compared to competitors or others in your industry?”

Companies that prioritize excellent customer experience rely on qualitative research

methods for generating customer insights graph

When we asked companies what methods they use for generating insight, 100% of companies that describe themselves as “best in class” rely on qualitative data from moderated user interviews and usability tests. This follows the trend we’ve identified that when companies focus on customer experience, they increase their usage of qualitative insights to inform strategic decisions. 

In fact, across all respondents, when asked to select a single source of insight into their customers for the rest of their career, nearly 97% of respondents chose qualitative data sources such as interviews and recorded customer behavior. When CX teams have the ability to learn directly from interacting with customers, it is their favorite source of insight.

The ecosystem of affordable tools is changing software usage

tools for conducting and analyzing customer research graphIn the past few years, a proliferation of effective tools emerged to solve the growing problems of research professionals. Where UserTesting or UserZoom were previously the only choices for software to complete end-to-end research, modern researchers are increasingly relying on a constellation of tools to get their work done.

Arguably, Zoom is now the most ubiquitously used research tool. Moderated video interviews were difficult technologically and cost-prohibitive before Zoom. Now, meetings are free or cheap and easily recorded. Accordingly, researchers are using more generic tools for much of their work, including primarily Microsoft and Google products. The modern research stack is lower cost and more flexible than previously.

Participant recruitment remains a major pain point

obstacles for conducting research graphResearch work relies on qualified participants. Sourcing participants is a constant difficulty for research, especially when the focus is on niche segments of users. The second biggest issue is time. As the demand for research grows, stakeholders become increasingly reliant on fast-paced insights. Moving at this speed puts pressure on researchers and, anecdotally, affects research quality.

The full report contains more data and charts, as well as key insights and actionable recommendations you can implement immediately in your own organization.

If you’re interested in the full report, you can download a free copy here.

For those curious about year-over-year changes, the 2019 report is available here.