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The Top 3 CX Research Methods for Customer Understanding

The Top 3 CX Research Methods for Customer Understanding


The Importance of CX & Why to Measure It

Customers are critical to the business; thus, their experience matters. With so many competitors flooding every market, the true differentiator is the experience they can give customers. Since customers have so many choices, the key to success is becoming the preeminent product or service. To achieve such a feat, a business must get to know its customers and continue to iterate through ongoing customer research.

Customers play a pivotal role in the success of any business, making their experience a paramount concern. In an increasingly crowded marketplace, the true distinguishing factor lies in the experience an organization can provide its customers. With an abundance of choices available, the path to success lies in becoming the unrivaled leader in delivering exceptional products or services. To achieve this, a business must proactively understand its customers and continually evolve through ongoing customer research and feedback. By staying attuned to customer needs and preferences, an organization can iterate and enhance its offerings, ensuring it remains at the forefront of delivering a remarkable customer experience.

For example, Apple customers exhibit a remarkable loyalty to their product ecosystem, even when competitors introduce enticing new offerings. Apple’s reputation for crafting exceptional customer experiences has contributed to its customer retention, satisfaction, and advocacy. By actively listening to its customers, Apple collects valuable feedback that informs product iterations and developments, ensuring they address genuine customer needs. The key to achieving true success in a market is not merely creating a trendy product once; it lies in identifying and fulfilling unmet customer needs. However, how does one identify this untapped potential in the market? The answer lies in CX research and its ability to unlock exceptional customer experiences.

CX Research Methods

Uncovering customer pain points with customer experience research

Diary Studies


Surveys are one of the go-to methods for understanding customer experiences. They provide quantifiable metrics that measure satisfaction and loyalty. Two of the most popular forms of surveys are Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) and Net Promoter Scores (NPS), which can be highly effective when wielded together. CSAT surveys calculate satisfaction directly, while NPS measures how likely customers are to recommend a product or service. By combining these two methods, CX teams can identify unmet needs and pain points in the customer experience and benchmark a product or service against competitors.

Customer Satisfaction (CSAT)

A Customer Satisfaction Survey can be an effective method for understanding customer sentiments around products and services. This survey method involves customers rating satisfaction levels on scales ranging from 1 to 5 or 1 to 10 for overall satisfaction and for satisfaction on product and services attributes. For these surveys, higher top 2 box (Very/Somewhat Satisfied) satisfaction percent or mean scores indicate higher levels of satisfaction. Surveys like these can be administered widely and easily on a reoccurring basis through online platforms.

This method elicits direct feedback about satisfaction and experiences, which can be extremely helpful as it reduces the data coding and analysis that CX researchers must do. The survey findings can provide a benchmark to track customer satisfaction over time. CSAT surveys are straightforward and relatively short, so designing them can be incredibly quick and easy to do. CSAT surveys can then be disseminated quickly to many people across many regions. Findings from this method can unveil actionable insights that CX teams can take to tailor products and services. Additionally, this method is beneficial for determining how a company is performing against its competitors and across key segments.

Net Promoter Score (NPS)

This survey method is extremely helpful in determining the willingness of customers to recommend products in addition to their level of loyalty. Upon analysis, these findings categorize respondents as Promoters (9-10), Passives (7-8), and Detractors (<6). NPS is effective because it’s short and straightforward, making it easy to collect with an extremely high response rate.

By prioritizing advocacy, companies gain valuable insights into customer satisfaction, loyalty, and the likelihood of customers recommending their products or services. This approach also enables companies to benchmark their performance against industry competitors. Collecting feedback, particularly from Detractors, helps uncover unmet customer needs, while input from Promoters highlights the strengths of a product or service that marketing departments can leverage. By conducting customer-centric surveys, companies are empowered to make informed decisions and prioritize initiatives that enhance the overall customer experience. In addition, by identifying the promoters, companies can identify key aspects of ambassadors of their products/brands.

In-Depth Interviews (IDIs)

In-Depth Interviews (IDIs) empower CX researchers to delve into the intricate realms of customers’ thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and actions. By engaging in deep probing and personalized interactions, CX teams can unravel subtle details, unearth hidden motivations, and examine underlying factors that shape these experiences. Moreover, IDIs provide a comprehensive understanding of the contextual elements that influence the customer experience. This method enables CX researchers to explore emotions or subconscious factors that may impact customers. By attentively listening, researchers can identify unarticulated needs and adapt the interview structure to explore unforeseen aspects of the customer experience. This flexibility ensures a thorough examination of the customer’s journey.


In a highly competitive market, customer experience emerges as the vital catalyst for unlocking higher ROI and fostering long-term customer loyalty. Employing a combination of diary studies, surveys, and IDIs, CX researchers acquire a comprehensive blend of qualitative and quantitative insights, providing a holistic understanding of customer needs, expectations, and behaviors. Armed with these invaluable findings, organizations gain the opportunity to distinguish themselves from the competition by genuinely meeting customers at every touchpoint. This customer-centric approach enables companies to deliver exceptional experiences that resonate with their target audience, establishing a strong competitive advantage in the marketplace.