Igniting Employee Passion Through Deep Customer Insights

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These days, keeping employees motivated is no small task. Between workplace financial concerns, and ones at home, people become discouraged, even apathetic.

So now is a great time to think creatively about re-igniting employee passion. And to do that, a little customer insight can go a long way.

Customer Insights Ignite

In most companies, only a small percentage of employees have direct customer contact. And even of those that do, such as in retail, they are so busy that it is hard for them to really observe customers and get a sense of their attitudes and behaviors.

Yet I can tell you from 20 years of experience, that when people get the opportunity to listen to and observe clients-amazing things happen. Here are some examples I have personally witnessed

* Engineers erupting into a productive debate about how an existing product can be modified to meet an emerging customer need.
* Sales people excitedly specifying new customer training materials that they want to deliver personally.
* Executives formulating new pricing models on the spot.
* Product managers devising new, hard-hitting competitive positions.

And thats just a few examples.

So yes, the mood in companies these days is a little down. But with a relatively small investment, we can re-ignite employee passion.

How?

There are several options, but the fastest track is to simply use updated versions of a conventional research technique: focus groups.

Do you think of focus groups as a kind of dated methodology? Yeah, they can be. But there are also lots of very cool, new techniques used in focus groups these days that make them fun for participants, and will generate lots of aha! moments for observers. And focus groups are fantastic because you can have a group of employees observing in real-time, and get a DVD to those that were not able to attend. Many focus groups facilities have observation rooms that can comfortably sit 15 or even 20 people.

If you dont have a research agency partner that does focus groups, you can find some on the Quirks.com or the QRCA (www.qrca.org) sites, or shoot me an email and Ill give you some more suggestions. If you are on a really tight budget and want to do it in-house, you can contact focus group facilities on your own-and they will connect you with freelance moderators in their areas.

Kathryn Korostoff is a successful entrepreneur and market research professional with a special interest in how organizations acquire, manage, and apply market research. Over the past 20 years, she has personally directed more than 600 primary market research projects and published over 100 bylined articles in trade magazines. Currently, Kathryn spends her time assisting companies as they create market research departments, develop market research strategies, or otherwise optimize their use of market research. Prior to Research Rockstar, Kathryn completed the transition of Sage Researchan agency that she founded and led for 13 years to its new parent company.
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