Menu
Back to latest posts

Creating a Customer Panel? With Brexit looming now really is the time!

Tuesday 26th February 2019 by David Jones

If you’ve harboured the intention to put in place a standing Panel drawn from your customer or client base but have never quite got around to implementing it, now really is the time to act. Your Panel delivers pre-qualified and signed up members for ongoing research studies making participant recruitment faster and more cost efficient. You can capture and understand the customer mood and how mindsets are shifting day-by-day, week-to-week or month-on-month.

No market or product category in the UK is immune to the impact of Brexit. Now more than ever, you need to ensure that you have the research and insight infrastructure in place, to learn as much as possible, as fast as possible. How is Brexit affecting and re-shaping the outlook and behaviours of your customers and prospects? How will it do so in future? Having the best handle on this, is very likely to deliver competitive advantage, in an increasingly uncertain trading environment. At the very least, it should make your business less vulnerable to the unexpected. Establishing and engaging a Customer Panel can provide valuable answers and insights, helping you keep ahead of where your customers’ are going, both metaphorically and sometimes literally.

Many Business-to-Business and Business-to-Consumer brands across multiple sectors have established and run customer panels either on a pop-up or ongoing basis. For example, British Gas Business wanted to engage its Corporate and SME customers in a regular feedback process. Two British Gas branded community panels delivered continuous dialogue with each audience. Quarterly immersion sessions were run. Customers could provide free form feedback at any time.

A couple of years’ ago we conducted an Online Diary Panel on behalf of Mercedes-Benz Vans UK with commercial vehicle fleet owners, investigating their media behaviour on a daily basis, whilst also finding out about each of the steps in their vehicle purchase decision journey. Many of the participants were then also involved in attending follow up Focus Groups designed to build intelligently upon themes and learnings that had already been identified through their Panel interactions.

More recently, here at Habit5, we’ve established the new Lincolnshire’s SAFER TOGETHER Research Panel on behalf of the Police & Crime Commissioner for the county. The aim is to provide the means and mechanisms for more ongoing and joined up consultation with residents. Exploring their fears or experiences of crime, gathering opinions on the way their community is policed and getting a quick reading on how emerging or topical issues are influencing the outlook of panel members.

Establishing a Customer Panel delivers several benefits, including:-

There is an upfront cost in getting your Customer Panel defined, designed, built, tested and live. Recruiting Panel Members also has some cost associated with it. You’ll also need to ensure that the platform the Panel is being run on can technically support your immediate and importantly your longer term needs and requirements. But this investment should be more than repaid from the valuable insights and savings achieved over a one to two year time frame. Understanding the multi-layered direct and indirect impact of Brexit upon your customers, really should promote creating a Panel to the very top of your insight ‘To Do’ list.