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Jessica Chavez

Recent Posts

Parents at the Tumble Gym: A Segmentation Analysis

Posted by Jessica Chavez

Wed, Jun 25, 2014

segmentation, parenting, cmb, chadwick martin baileyOn Saturdays, when the weather is not fit for the playground, I take my toddler to a tumble gym where he can run, climb, and kick balls around with other kids his age.  Parents must accompany kids in the play area as this is a free-form play center without an employed staff (other than the front desk attendant).  As a market researcher and a perpetual observer of the human condition, I’ve noticed that these parents fall into three distinct groups: the super-involved group, the middle-of-the-road group, and the barely-involved group.The super-involved parents take full control of their child’s playtime.  They grab the ball and throw it to their kid. They build forts. They chase the kids around.  They completely guide their child’s playtime by initiating all the activities.  “Over here, Jimmy!  Let’s build a ramp and climb up!  Now let’s build a fort!  Ooh, let’s grab that ball and kick it!”

The middle-of-the-road group lets the kids play on their own, but they also keep an eye out and intervene when needed. For example, a parent in this group would intervene if the child is looking dangerously unstable while climbing the fort, or if the child steals another kid’s ball and sparks a meltdown.

The barely-involved parents tend to lean against the wall and stay on their phones—probably checking Facebook. They don’t know where their kid is or what their kid is doing.  For all they know, their child could be scaling a four foot wall and jumping onto another kid’s head.

This just demonstrates this simple fact: people are more the same than they are different.  This is why I love segmentation studies—it’s fascinating that almost everyone can be grouped together based on similar behaviors.

At CMB, we strive to make our segmentation studies relevant, meaningful, and actionable.  To this end, we have found the following five-point plan valuable for guiding our segmentation studies:

  • Start with the End in Mind: Determine how the definition and understanding of segments will be used before you begin.
  • Allow for Multiple Bases: Take a comprehensive, model-based approach that incorporates all potential bases.
  • Have an Open Mind: Let the segments define themselves.
  • Leverage Existing Resources: Harness the power of your internal databases.
  • Create a Plan of Action: Focus on internal deployment from the start.

Because each segmentation study is different, using appropriate selection criteria ensures that segments can be acted upon.  In the case of the tumble gym patrons, we might recommend that marketing efforts be based on a psychographic segmentation.  What are the parenting philosophies?  In what ways does this motivate the parents, and how can marketing efforts be targeted to the low-hanging fruit?

Incidentally, I find that I fall into the middle segment.

Jessica is a Data Manager at CMB and can’t help but mentally segment the population at large.

Want to learn more about segmentation? In the “The 5 C’s of Great Segmentation Socializers,” Brant Cruz shares 5 tips for making sure your segmentation is embraced and used in your organization. 


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Topics: methodology, market strategy and segmentation

The Bright Side of The New Customer Experience

Posted by Jessica Chavez

Wed, Jun 26, 2013

customer experience satisfactionOne of the cardinal rules of great customer service is be helpful - even if there's no immediate profit in it. That’s never been truer than today; a customer who feels truly special and cared for has more channels to express themselves than ever before. We hear quite a bit about the power of negative reviews; many companies spend millions trying to recover poorly-served customers, but the positive impact of a happy customer also deserves attention.Case in point, Crate & Barrel has awesome customer service. And now all my friends, and friends of friends, and probably even their friends, know it. I bought 2 glasses from Crate & Barrel a few months ago. One arrived chipped. I called to see about getting it replaced, I was all geared up to argue my case to the representative on the phone. I was ready to try and prove that it arrived chipped, I wanted to make sure she knew that I wasn’t lying about it to get something for free. Of course, I assumed I would have to send it back, so they could see that it was indeed chipped and mark it in some inventory database somewhere, and basically go through a lot of trouble to get my unchipped glass.

The customer service rep didn’t question me at all.  She looked it up in the database, saw that I had ordered the glasses, apologized for one being chipped, and said she would send a replacement out right away. She said as far as the chipped glass goes – I could keep it and use it as a flower vase or throw it out or do whatever I wanted with it. I got the new one 2 days later.  It could not have been easier or more pleasant.

I was so excited about the whole experience that I immediately posted on Facebook about it.

Facebook and Yelp have, of course, helped revolutionize customer service. Before them, a bad experience could be emailed around to friends, talked about at gatherings, you might have even written to the company itself. But these channels only reached so many people. Now, however, through Facebook, Yelp, and countless other online review sites, we can reach thousands of potential customers in one second. We can literally tell the world about our experience, good or bad. This is a pretty powerful motivator for companies to go above and beyond in the customer service department, and we can thank social media for that.  

Jessica is a data manager for CMB’s Technology, e-Commerce, and Medical Devices practice.  She always reads reviews or consults Yelp before buying any new products or services.

Click here to read more of our Customer Experience blogs.

Topics: social media, customer experience and loyalty, retail research

Hold the Phones: Chat as an Alternative to 1-800 Helplines?

Posted by Jessica Chavez

Mon, Sep 26, 2011

1-800 beauty hotlines

I recently read Mike Albo’s piece in W Magazine about beauty hotlines where operators are standing by to answer questions and deal with “emergencies,” like accidentally using an antiperspirant cream as a hand lotion.  This got me wondering , in a 24/7 online world filled with IMs and chats, are most beauty companies still relying only on 1-800 numbers to answer their customers’ questions and concerns?Curious as to whether beauty companies offered a customer service chat option, I did an impromptu investigation of 10 product websites based on products I have in my bathroom.  Most products are from well-known, deep-pocket companies (e.g. Neutrogena and L'Oreal).  A few were organic-type products produced by smaller companies (like Earth Science Naturals). I was surprised to find none of the product websites I visited offered live chat with a representative.  Not one.  If chat was available, I couldn’t find it anywhere on the sites I looked at, and I searched.  Usually, all I could find were the 1-800 hotlines from the back of the product itself. 

As a marketer I acknowledge there are some definite pluses to beauty hotlines, they are great for building customer relationships. As a market researcher I see other benefits too: the calls are recorded, and companies get the pulse of the customer, potentially driving further research on hot topics.  It's essentially free qualitative research that comes to them.  But the world has changed from a decade ago, customers expect answers now and limiting feedback to phone calls could keep companies from getting the most accurate information. Also, there are a couple of problems with limiting interactions to 1-800 numbers.

  • First, these hotlines are usually available during office hours: Monday to Friday 9-5. These are the prime hours counted against cell phone minutes (800 numbers still count as minutes used).  Plus they’re closed nights and weekends, the time that most cell plans offer free calling.  With fewer and fewer people owning landlines; companies must consider that their toll free numbers aren’t free for most.  And hey, people work too!

  • Second, if you can’t, or don’t want to call during hotline hours, there’s usually an email option. The rise of IM can make even email feel like a pain in the neck. And sometimes an email answer generates more questions.  Sometimes you need a little back-and-forth to get to the root of your question.  People want reassurance: a real live person to answer questions and hash it out with you until you get the information you need. 

There’s a huge opportunity here folks. I’m talking to you, Bath and Beauty Products Industry.  With the implementation of website chat functionality, just think how much easier data collection could be.  Think how you could be getting more contact with a wider variety of people with a wider variety of questions. Think of the potential increase in customer satisfaction by offering another option for contact, and the chance to drive future strategy.  Think of the “Cool Technology” factor and who might be inclined to use it. 

As both a researcher and a consumer of beauty products, this seems like a no-brainer.  What do you think?

Posted by Jessica McClelland.  Jessica is a senior associate researcher at CMB who does her best thinking and magazine reading while exercising.

 

Topics: data collection, technology solutions, customer experience and loyalty, retail research