What are the Different Methods of Customer Data Collection?

Collecting data directly from your customers is the most effective way to make informed business decisions. When you gain a clear understanding of your customers’ thoughts, opinions, and experiences, you can develop products or services and make impactful changes to your organization with the customer in mind. Because customer satisfaction and retention is at the heart of any business, more and more companies are collecting data from their customers to better understand and more strategically serve them. However, every company, customer base, and business initiative is different. For these reasons, different methods of data collection are necessary for different types of businesses and business decisions. We have compiled a list of the main data collection methods that can help companies grow and perform better.

telephone survey

Telephone Surveys

Even in the ever-expanding digital world, telephone surveys are an effective means of collecting customer feedback.  Collecting data via a telephone call provides three primary benefits — the ability to collect quantitative feedback to guarantee statistical reliability, the ability to collect qualitative feedback, and the opportunity to collect data immediately and directly from the consumer.  When partnering with a research company, look for those with an in-house data collection only call center. During survey fielding, the respondent will interact with the researcher, allowing for live person-to-person interaction and conversation.  Trained telephone researchers develop rapport very quickly with respondents and help to gain thorough responses. Telephone surveys are always anonymous, and the perfect platform to gain un-biased feedback. This anonymity combined with the natural responses that come from an engaged conversation allows for real feedback that can be turned into actionable data.

Digital Surveys

Digital surveys are an effective method of both quantitative and qualitative data collection.  Digital surveys allow respondents to complete the survey on their own time when it is most convenient for them. Digital surveys can be communicated and distributed through a variety of outlets including email, placement on websites, and social media channels.  This distribution variety ensures easy respondent access and response rate maximization.  Much like telephone surveys, digital surveys are completely anonymous. Companies often use the digital survey methodology in conjunction with telephone to increase the total number of survey responses received. Digital surveys are commonly utilized to collect data from customers in a variety of industries, such as utilities, municipalities, and consumer product goods. 

Focus Groups

Focus groups provide a method of qualitative data collection that allows for deep discussion and discovery.  Typically, focus groups consist of a small group of eight to ten individuals of a desired demographic group. These groups can be conducted in person at a research facility or online. Focus group moderators guide the discussion by asking questions about a specific topic or theme related to your company’s products, services, or processes. Focus groups are a great way to test new concepts, products, packaging, branding, and labeling. Focus groups often provide insight into areas about which you may not have previously thought, while bringing to light new ideas as well. Any business or organization can benefit from the real time customer feedback provided by focus groups.

In-Depth Interviews

In-depth interviews involve participants interacting one-on-one with a research moderator in a private setting. These interviews are open discussions that allow participants to provide their opinions, sentiments, and feedback regarding topics about your company, its products, services, or procedures. In-depth interviews, as the name suggests, provide in-depth information about your customers and allow for a deep dive into their responses. This methodology is helpful when companies want to uncover specific experiences, interactions and processes the customer has faced with your company.  

Bulletin Board Focus Groups

Bulletin board focus groups are moderated online forums in which respondents provide their feedback over a two to three day time period. Participants are asked to log in to the online group and answer a set of questions and engage in the conversations posed by the moderator. This methodology allows an organization to collect in-depth, qualitative feedback from participants located in multiple locations concurrently.

In-Home Use Tests (IHUTs)

In-home use tests are a great way to test new products and gather opinions about taste, design, ease of use, and more. This methodology provides the opportunity to gather detailed insights from consumers while they are physically using or consuming the product. A moderator guides the test, prompting the participant to follow a set of tasks and answer a variety of questions.  Following the in-home test, participants often complete an online survey to provide additional feedback about their experience. This methodology is particularly useful for companies within the consumer product goods industry. 


GreatBlue Research | Customer Data Collection

GreatBlue Research provides various strategies for businesses to collect data from their customers. Complete with an in-house call center and highly trained researchers, we can conduct 1,000s of telephone surveys each month. We also use a web-based survey platform to conduct online surveys. Our facilities include a newly renovated focus group room that is inviting and comfortable for both participants and clients. If you’re looking to collect data from your customers to make more informed decisions, contact us today.


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