Earlier this week I went to The Quirk’s Event in London.

The Quirk’s Events are market research and customer insight focused. They are held all over the world and the London lineup featured speakers from Salesforce, Microsoft, Molson Coors, Nectar, WorldPay, Twitter and a ton more fascinating brands.

I came away with a deluge of notes and thoughts about the way the insight and research worlds are changing, which I’ve shared below.

Top Takeaways & Quotes

Data from your service organization is becoming increasingly important because of the subscription economy

The impact of experience and service quality on product perception was mentioned by everyone I listened to.

Even if you sell beer like Molson Coors, or music systems like Sonos, customer perception is shaped as much by the experience as the product. For example, where and how you drink Blue Moon beer will affect if you buy a second one. The beer might be fine but if it was in a dirty glass, or they forgot the orange slice it’s marketed with, or the bar you drank in were rude to you, it colors the experience of the product in your mind.

Similarly, the long-term experience of owning and operating a Sonos system will be made up as much by the support you receive in trying to set it up, or resolve wifi issues, as it will with the audio quality of the product.

All the market insight teams of these businesses had recognized that customer lifetime value is directly affected by surrounding service factors, and that getting data on this performance was a critical dimension on their research.

“There is an unprecedented demand for service” said Molson Coors, “experiences are our currency now.”

Real-time, actionable insights still hard to get into the right hands

Many practitioners described that it’s incredibly hard to provide insight at the speed required for decision-making by the businesses they worked in.

Brand after brand described how they are still steeped in classic market research practices, and to achieve actionable status, that their the focus had to be on enabling the business to use its own tools and derive its own integrated insights.

“We are working in an ever more complicated landscape” said Molson Coors “even just the sheer amount of data coming our way. We need a total consumer-centric approach.”

Many speakers described a new way of working that they were trying to shape, where they worked hand-in-hand with their colleagues from marketing, service and product, to get the best consumer and customer insights from across all dimensions of the company.

The holy grail is to get feedback from product and service lines during usage

Brands drew attention to how important it is to be seeking feedback from customers and users at point of use.  One speaker summed it up beautifully by saying when it comes to surveys, “Relevance relies enormously on immediacy.”

“We are seeking to get more feedback from across our product set during usage by embedding the question we want to ask right in there.” said a GM at Microsoft.

And Salesforce’s Senior Director for Customer and Market Insights said “I gave feedback to my hotel, Marriott, this morning on my experience because they asked me this very morning how they had done. I stayed in another hotel last week and if they send me a survey now I won’t complete it because I honestly cannot recall it well enough. Brands need to learn from this. Driving insight from within the experience is critical to what we do as a customer listening company.”

Situational customer and employee feedback is becoming an important data flow into Research and Insight departments.

Social media, peer reviews and online reputation mean that your future buyers’ opinions of your brand are being shaped by what your current customers are saying.

If you attended the event and have any thoughts to add, I’d love to hear them in the comments!

In the meantime, if you’d like more insight into your customers in real-time, give Customer Thermometer a go for free: