Observational Research and How it Can Benefit You - HenkinSchultz Skip to main content

Observational Research and How it Can Benefit You

By February 1, 2021Service
Observational Research

We all know what employees or customers say they do. But how can we know what they do? Observational research is a great tool to assess the quality of your customer/employee interactions on many levels.

What’s to be Gained from Observational Research

There are many ways we can gather information on employees and customers. There are robust tools that can analyze online behaviors, social media and shopping interactions. Surveys are also a powerful means of harvesting valuable data and opinions.

The quantitative data from surveys delivers the quantity of what someone says about topic X;

  • 84% said they would use this product again
  • 14% reported a “poor” experience with customer service
  • 52% were “somewhat familiar” with your business

This type of data is very useful for business, but observational research, in a sense, goes a step farther. Observational research aims to deliver qualitative data, or non-numerical data, that observes how employees or customers interact in real time. This provides valuable information on things such as:

  • Is every customer greeted upon entering a retail store?
  • What path does a customer take when in a retail store or business?
  • What is their waiting experience like?
  • Are employees practicing safety protocols?
  • Are employees adhering to company standards on customer service?

Call it a pop-quiz, secret shopping or performance audit. By any name, observational research gives you the most accurate snapshot of how your business and employee interactions are performing.

Who Can Benefit and How it Works?

HenkinSchultz has conducted observational research for a number of businesses. It’s an ideal tool for any business that has multiple locations. It can be used to test and verify that business and operations are being conducted consistently.

To begin, HS will sit down with you and develop a list of things we aim to learn. What is it you wish to assess about your own employee’s behaviors? What do you want to know about your customer’s journey? What specific procedures or practices do you wish to audit?

From there, HS develops a plan with you to deploy anonymous “customers” to experience a business or service interaction, for example:

  • An inquiry into opening a checking account
  • Scheduling a medical appointment
  • Experiencing a waiting room
  • Observing employee interactions

These visits, or observational audits, are done discreetly by people unassociated with your business or service. This delivers the most authentic experience and insights for your company.

Our observers date and time stamp every visit at every location and discreetly notate every detail of their interactions. The goal is to make the visit and observations as natural as possible and deliver observational data.

The result can be extremely helpful for say, a regional manager, who oversees multiple offices or stores. It can benefit a Chief Operations Officer who wants to know how things are going “on the ground” or a marketing manager working to gain more perspective on customer habits.

Putting the Knowledge Learned to Work

So how do we help put observational research to work? To begin, HS provides a thorough research report of every interaction, positive, negative or neutral. This detailed reporting is not meant to identify “got ya” moments, but rather provide an honest assessment of all interactions.

A report may reveal qualitative insights such as:

  • The front desk receptionist was pleasant and greeted me quickly
  • Building signage to (location x) was unclear
  • Employees were visiting while a customer was waiting
  • Social distancing was practiced and made a priority
  • Employee inquired “if I needed anything else”

All of this information is delivered in a thorough report with a follow-up discussion with our clients, and future recommendations. As a marketing agency, it is not just our job to deliver advertising, but to help businesses succeed in every interaction.

With this type of market research, we can truly understand the operational strengths, weaknesses and opportunities inside your business. To learn more about how we can put observational research to work for you, give us a call.