Qualitative Research

Qualitative research is the customer data that a business obtains using in-depth customer engagements, including discussions, interviews, surveys, diary studies, and focus groups. In the world of customer experience, this type of research studies people to understand their culture, context, and experiences with products/services. Qualitative research describes the ‘’why and how’’ of the customer experience.

‘’We want to map the customer journey’’ is typically where investigation into customer experience starts. However, accurate mapping of a customer journey is not possible without the customer. Yes, that’s true, and the process will become assumptive if the customer perspective is excluded. Hence, qualitative research is a critical tool as far as mapping is concerned.

What is Qualitative Research?

Qualitative research is the customer data that a business obtains using in-depth customer engagements, including discussions, interviews, surveys, diary studies, and focus groups. In the world of customer experience, this type of research studies people to understand their culture, context, and experiences with products/services. Qualitative research describes the ‘’why and how’’ of the customer experience.

Examples of Qualitative Research of Customer Journey

We would write volumes if we were to mention all the examples of qualitative research on the customer journey. Sampled in this post are a few of them to help you better understand the qualitative research concept to ensure your clients get the best experience from what you offer.

Example 1: A case study where a specific firm’s organizational structure is examined to determine its impact on job satisfaction and employee performance.

Example 2: An ethnographer immersing himself in a remote community to study their social dynamics, rituals, and cultural practices.

Example 3: A grounded theory study investigating (through interviews) the cancer patients’ coping mechanisms.

Example 4: A phenomenological study to determine the lived experiences of natural disaster survivors and how the disaster impacted their emotional and psychological well-being.

Benefits of Using Qualitative Research

Businesses need to understand the ‘’what and why’’ of the journeys, their customers and leads undergo as they discover, consider, and buy their products. And while there are many ways to nail this understanding, qualitative market research stands out among them. As mentioned earlier, any customer journey mapping process should include qualitative (and of course, quantitative) market research to understand how customers behave and feel, and what drives them.

Effective customer journey mapping mirrors the key moments that customers will experience, as well as a thorough understanding of their emotions and motivations. With online qualitative research, companies can explore those key customer journey milestones in depth.

Did you know that qualitative research allows participants to reflect on their choices and give thoughtful insights into the research? That’s true, and you can also exploit online qualitative research to gain insight into in-the-moment responses at the most influential of your company’s touchpoints i.e., customers share their activities with the business in real-time, as they visit your website, for instance.

Qualitative Interviews

Qualitative interviews are commonly used in research projects that involve new products, market research, market segment exploration, behavioral analysis, social research, purchase dynamics, and brand positioning, among others. There isn’t any doubt that it is a highly effective strategy, especially when used in customer engagement initiatives. Qualitative interviews have also proved extremely handy when it comes to defining problems and developing solutions to those problems.

Essentially, a qualitative interview is a research approach applied in a qualitative study where personal interactions are required and comprehensive information is collected from participants. The interview usually involves follow-up queries and is done in a discussion or conversation format.

How to Conduct Consumer Interviews

Conducting qualitative consumer interviews calls for careful planning and implementation to end up with meaningful data. The process involves the following steps:

  • Defining the research methods and objectives
  • Recruiting participants
  • Obtaining their informed consent
  • Developing an interview guideline
  • Choosing a comfortable environment for the interview
  • Conducting the interview

How to Analyze Qualitative Interviews

There are many methods of qualitative data analysis, and your choice depends on factors such as your research goals, personal preferences, and the type of data collected. These methods, among others, include content analysis, narrative analysis, discourse analysis, thematic analysis, and grounded theory. Once you have chosen the method you want to use, you can use the following process to analyze your qualitative research data.

1. Define your research questions

2. Collect your qualitative customer data

3. Organize and categorize the data

4. Identify the patterns and themes using data coding

5. Make and test hypotheses

Online Qualitative Research

Online qualitative research involves collecting non-numerical data through digital means to gain insights into people's behaviors, opinions, and experiences. This type of research leverages various online tools and platforms to conduct studies, making it particularly useful for reaching a geographically dispersed audience and gathering in-depth information.

Consumer Diaries

An online diary study allows you to delve into the customers’ journey with your product over an extended period. This research type is suitable for product/service types that require careful consideration. These could be higher ticket items like mobile devices and technology or complex ones like financial services.

Once your target audiences are accurately identified and recruited into online research, you can ask them to document their researching, choosing, and purchasing activities. This gives you a detailed journey map for each customer or lead that participates. You can then analyze the similarities and differences in those journey maps to create a generic map or separate maps for each buyer persona. To contribute to an online consumer diary, participants can do so by simply uploading videos, audio, photos, or texts of their experience. This ensures that you end up with a comprehensive set of data that helps you to map their journey process.

Qualitative Research Platforms

Strylite is a brand growth platform helping business owners to effectively collect and analyze qualitative data. With its suite of features, users can easily understand how customers interact with their brand, products, their needs, and how to improve user experience.

Tools for Data Collection in Qualitative Research

Collecting qualitative data involves capturing detailed and in-depth information about participants' thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Various tools are designed to facilitate this process, each offering unique features that cater to different aspects of qualitative research. However, it can be difficult to choose a suitable tool from the crowd. That’s where Strylite comes in. With this tool, you can collect qualitative feedback on suggestions, pain points, preferences, and user experiences from customers through in-app surveys.

Read more