“It’s hard to believe that only 2 years ago, Opinion Solutions was founded; As a marketer, i build my brand with the sole mission of empowering clients to improve their products and services, by combining my love for research technology and insights. I firmly believe in the importance of a direct line to your customers by paying more attention to how you communicate and value their feedback”
Today’s reality is shaped by data, giving companies an opportunity to actually listen to customers. Ironically that voice gets lost, as even today only 9 percent of marketing decisions are based on what the customer is really saying.
So why is that?
Tanya van Tonder has been a marketing researcher for the last 18 years and is the MD of digital insights agency Opinion Solutions based in South Africa; she insists that it's not because marketers’ disinterest or lack of empathy. Their real ‘enemy’ is time... and the absence of a direct ‘line’ to customers.
Finding insights is only half the solution businesses need; the other half is ensuring that insights are turned into tangible actions. It doesn’t just mean moving faster, or doing things cheaper. It means embracing a new strategy, a whole new approach for uncovering the right insights at the right time to inform the right decision.
Gone are the days when a marketer could say that acquiring customers was the only goal, customer engagement in today's digital direct to customer approach is what's vital. It translates in showing your customers that their feedback has impact, that their opinion matters for your brand.
To maintain customer loyalty is not something you do once, but it is a chain of events involving positive interactions with your customers.
Just think of when you are preparing a pitch for a new product and you would benefit from that one customer statistic to support your business case. Customer centricity exceeds just simple classic research projects, it is about installing ongoing customer connections. And that is what Tanya pitches to her clients, she elevates Market Research to a business solution that gives companies a better relationship with their customers. And Upinion is the right platform to facilitate that relationship. Truly customer centric companies build genuine connections allowing customers to help them out whenever needed. At the end of the day, customers are actually your best consultants, wouldn’t you say so? so why not just ask them?
“Imagine having your customers sitting next to you in the boardroom, where you can ask them anything and get immediate answers, that is the power of Upinion” - Tanya Van Tonder
Contrary to what many companies believe, the innovation process does not begin and end with your team in a room developing the next big product idea or service. Your customers need to be involved in the process, because without insights into what they value, want, and need, you simply can’t predict how they’ll react to your products and services.
Market research can be elevated to the "dialogue spectrum" where chat messaging is used instead of one-off survey forms.
In 2015 Opinion Solution lead by Tanya van Tonder pitched their market research services to Caxton, one of the biggest print magazine publishers in South Africa. Using Upinion as their main research platform, Opinion Solutions helped their client to identify areas that needed product and service improvements. For Caxton Upinion became not only a customer engagement platform, but also a strategic and business solution that allowed them to organise and keep on track with their customers so that the data can be used to identify patterns, capitalise on emerging trends, and drive fresh, strategic ideas.
“Consumers are quick to dismiss traditional surveys, it's out of touch, impersonal and invasive. But exploratory chat messaging is one of the best ways to get respondents to actually read and respond to messages that you are sending”
For Caxton, Upinion was incredibly valuable because the platform made it easy to reach their audience, store findings, evaluate data, and share critical information across the organization. In this way, the solution ensured that they were able to leverage consumer insights in an efficient manner, ensuring a productive and successful innovation process. Intertwining product development and customer feedback gave Caxton a strong competitive advantage; and Upinion as a platform enabled the right balance of convenience, context and personalization to reach their readers.
For Opinion solutions as a company, landing the Caxton assignment grew the office from just one employee to 4 permanent staff members in 2017, and the company itself is expanding successfully into the Media industry, Beauty and Fashion Industry, Medical sector and most recently: Human Resources.
“Upinion has modernized traditional research and made it proactive rather than reactive”
With Upinion you work with current data, and have direct-micro-survey-messaging- conversations with your customers, which enables a real-time dialogue instead of a one-way (one off) questionnaire.
“ it really is that straightforward and game changing”
... we are using the word customers again... and do not see them as respondents only. And at the end of the day... their research experience is part of the customer experience.