How Focus Groups (Online Communities) Can Help the Customer Experience

The Customer Experience

The customer experience is crucial to your business’s success. To make sure you are continuously improving your customer experience, you must listen to your customer voice. Your customers are the ones who purchase and use your product/service, so why not give them what they want? This helps build brand loyalty and repeat customers.

People want to be listened to and have their ideas taken into consideration. Customers care a lot about how a company treats them.

This can make or break a company’s reputation and their brand. Optimal customer experience can be found through their individual feedback. Customer feedback can help drive your sales and market share. A company can get this information through research. This research can be done through marketing research online communities or MROCs.

Market Research Online Communities (MROC)

Marketing research online communities have become even more popular since the pandemic. Market researchers have not been able to have business travel or have any kind of in-person research due to the virus. Not having any research means the company is not listening to their customer voice. This can be detrimental to a business and their success. It continues to prove why online communities are important and relevant.

Over time, more and more companies have been shifting to online. There has been a greater shift of companies going online since the pandemic. People in general are becoming more knowledgeable about technology. It is the way of the future as Gen Z and Millennials are well-versed in technology and the web. The pandemic has also forced older generations to become more knowledgeable of the internet as well.

Big corporate companies are unaware of the opportunities and growth businesses can have shifting to online qualitative research. Companies need to be aware of the customer experience and be able to get on that human level. It ties the gap between the corporate world and the consumer world. With the ever-so-shifting times there is no better moment than now to get on board with online communities.

There is a world of opportunity through online market research. Digital qualitative research has come a long way allowing market research to explode. There are many online tools to get qualitative research that can help reach that customer voice. Some of these tools include video chat, VR, and online discussions. These are just a few of the many ways you can conduct qualitative research through online communities.

Online Qualitative Research Tools

There are many ways to get research from your customers, but a great way to get individual feedback is through focus groups. This is where there is a group of people and a moderator. The sample of people are usually the company’s consumers. The moderator has a list of questions to ask the consumers about a specific product or service.

These can be conducted at any point in the business production cycle, depending on what research you need. Microsoft teams (or Zoom), can be used as a qualitative tool to gain research in a focus group setting without being in person. There is still that back-and-forth collaboration with one another and the moderator. You can still get that personalization virtually face-to-face.

These virtual meetings can also be done individually to get that one-on-one experience. This can be done over video chat or can be a phone call. It involves the moderator and one consumer. Doing a one-person virtual interview allows no room for biases of other people influencing the answers of others. It is the true feelings of that one customer. It is a great way to get in-depth qualitative research. These one-on-one interviews can be done multiple times with different people for one project. This way it captures trends of what consumers are saying. This approach allows consumers to know that the company they purchase from wants to listen to their customer voice to better their product/service geared towards them.

VR or virtual reality can replicate a real shopping experience for consumers to look at. This is a great way to get research without having consumers actually go to the store. It is a digitally generated model of a store where consumers are immersed in the shopping experience virtually. This way they will feel safer knowing research is being conducted from the comfort of their home. This method helps researchers gain insight seeing where consumers go to purchase an item and track what items they are shopping for and looking at.

Online discussions are a great way to get a group of consumers to ideate and build off each other virtually. This method doesn’t require face-to-face, however there is a moderator replying back to consumer’s comments. This is to further probe what they are saying and continue the conversation. It is a great way to personally talk to the consumer online.

Depending on the type of research you want, online discussions can be one-on-one with the moderator instead of a group ideation session. Just like the one-on-one video chat interviews, this type of discussions allows for in-depth answers from consumers. The difference is, it’s not face to face. Consumers are typing their responses with the moderator typing replies. These discussions can go further in-depth with IDIs. IDIs are in-depth interviews via online communities. It is the same thing as a discussion, however, there are more questions and more probing. It is taking the online discussions a step further to gain deeper insight on projects. This type of qualitative tool usually consists of fewer people than regular online discussions. It’s a great way to “dig” into your customer voice.


Marketing research online communities provide a plethora of tools and methods to conduct qualitative research virtually. Companies large and small can greatly benefit from its resources. Online is how the world is shifting, especially in these unprecedented times of the pandemic. These methods are continuously growing in popularity since this has started. A business must focus on their customer voice and experience for it to be successful. Marketing research online communities are an exceptional way to gain insight to your customer voice. Online marketing qualitative methods provide companies with the tools they need to continue to be victorious in their business efforts.

Want to learn more about MROC’s?

Let’s Chat!