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Why Companies Are Investing in Online Community Research

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by ConsultaPanel Team, 27 Jun 2012


Online community research

You may have heard the term online community research, but what exactly is it and why is it important for companies? Online community research is a form of market research that allows companies to conduct deep and thorough research using the Internet and groups of participants, also known as online communities. Companies host research activities regarding specific topics on a website or research platform and online communities complete surveys, provide feedback, exchange experiences, offer thoughts and give suggestions for development and improvement.
 
Online community research is ideal for many reasons. It can save companies large amounts of money by greatly reducing the costs involved with traditional research activities like recruiting and travel costs. When a company conducts research using an online community, participants are able to provide feedback at their own convenience and the time it takes to gather feedback can also be reduced. 

Straying from the models of traditional research methods, online community research utilises different methods. Instead of having participants fill out questionnaires that are pages long, or ask them questions in a focus group, online community research encourages participants to engage with one another, share experiences, express concerns, and interact in ways that are usually not generated by traditional research methods. You can watch as online communities exchange stories about a service or a product and gain insights about customer needs you may have previously overlooked or simply never considered before. Online communities allow for the development of ideas and strategies that can improve your business and make your customer experience a positive one. 

A customer’s needs are at the core of every business. Online community research is an effective and value-for-money way to learn exactly what it is your customers need, want and expect from you or the industry you operate in. The participants may ask one another questions you would not have thought to ask while exchanging thoughts and comments. The key is seeing how your customers interact with one another in relation to your business, and learning how you can improve upon existing services and products. 

While traditional market research can be beneficial, online community research is fast, cost-effective and convenient. It provides you with unique ways to watch participants discuss your business. Many people enjoy participating in online research as opposed to in-person surveys or in-person focus groups because they don’t feel pressured to answer questions in a certain way, and the anonymity provided by the internet may encourage participants to be more open and honest.

Partner with ConsultaPanel for online community research
 
Online community research is a valuable tool for understanding your customers’ needs and wants. After all, your customers’ experiences are what dictate their loyalty. Online community research gives you the opportunity to discover areas that require improvement in order to provide the best service possible.
 
Interested in online community research in South Africa? Contact ConsultaPanel to find out more about the research services we offer.



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