Our Voice of the Customer Research Services

Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty

Business to business is different than business to consumer. There are customers who are more important than others, i.e. there is an 80/20 rule: 20 percent of the customers make up 80 percent of the revenue. If any of these customers defect, it would have major consequences on the client's revenue. Second, there are usually multiple decision makers. It is important to obtain the perspective of the decision makers and key influencers within the organization. We have found that conducting in-depth phone interviews provides a rich understanding of the company's loyalty to you the client. As part of the diagnostic framework, we use the Net Promoter Score methodology developed by Frederich Reichheld. The output is to identify the three to five key actions that need to be executed to be successful.

Channel Strategy

Many end user customers prefer to buy products from a third party channel such as a distributor or wholesaler. Some of the reasons include buying lower volumes, just in time shipments, and one-stop shopping where they can purchase many items on a smaller number of purchase orders. It is important to understand how your products fit within the distributor and what types of support they require for you to be successful in the market.

Developing Go-to-Market Strategies

This includes developing an assessment of the market, the projected near term growth rates, the major players, and the channels required to be successful. Typically research includes interviews with customers, channels and potentially competitors to determine how likely a new supplier will be able to be successful in the market.

Other Services

Other services include: Lost account analysis where lost customers are contacted to determine why they are no longer a customer; New Product/Service concept validation where we test the liklihood to buy a company's new service or product offerings at several price points, branding/repositioning, marketing due diligence for M&A prospects, employee satisfaction research, and consulting.

Client Recommendations

Alan is the best at marketing research and creating detailed voice of customer (VOC) surveys that drive unquestionable results. There is no better way to understand current market positioning than with a dedicated VOC. Alan has an incredible insight for market segmentation/feedback that will drive needed actions to move any initiative in the right direction. I have worked with Alan for over 10 years on key corporate projects that led to new marketing strategies yielding significant results. (Joe Saganowich Vice President Sales & Marketing Ideal Industries and SK Tools)

I have known Alan Hale professionally and personally for over 15 years. In all the many projects I've seen him lead, there is one thing that is consistently unbending: His commitment to his clients. Alan has a laser-like focus on delivering research that adds value in a way that is actionable and not only informational. He is a person who speaks his truth and in doing so adds significant value to the insights of his findings. If you are trying to learn more about your customers, your competitors, or your market, I strongly encourage you to engage Alan. (John Borta Senior Director, Strategic Planner at Grainger)

Alan is an insightful, inquisitive and intelligent business partner and consummate professional. Companies I have worked for has retained Alan to conduct market research, develop business strategies and conduct VOC surveys. He consistently exceeds expectations and delivers tremendous value for his clients. And best of all, Alan cares about the results. He follows up after the projects are complete to check on implementation, ask questions and offer further assistance. (Deron Austin Director of Marketing & Communications Mueller Company)

Alan has provided marketing insight for a variety of DHD's b-to-b clients over the years. He is unique in his ability to glean customer perceptions that add depth to the marketing or communications strategy. Alan gives every project a 110% effort and delivers results beyond what one would normally expect. All of our clients that utilized Alan's services were very pleased with his enthusiasm, professionalism, and expertise. I highly recommend him as a source for well-grounded marketing insight. (Doug Davis Retired President and Fou8nder of Davis Harrison Dion ad agency)

Alan Hale is a professional sales and marketing executive with credentials and experience in working with clientele with innovative solutions and programs. Alan has always delivered outstanding results. He also supports continual education and certification in the sales and marketing industry to ensure that professional ethics are always a part of the solution. (Caren Shaffer Owner of Success Group)

Case Study  
Case Study: New Product Introduction

Situation Overview: The client was a manufacturer of additives used in concrete.     They introduced a new product, and wanted to make sure it was successfully launched in the quickest amount of time.

Methodology: Since this was a new product to the market, we followed a fairly complex methodology.

--      We conducted secondary research to determine the biggest areas of concrete. We found out that   
the leading market segments were warehouse floors, parking lots, and residential foundations and               sidewalks. Other large uses of concrete like airport runways were viewed as too difficult at the beginning.

--       We followed six concrete finishing contractors in these segments to understand how they finished concrete, understand their unmet needs and points of pain, and how they look at using new products. This ethnographic research laid the foundation (no pun intended) for the balance of the research study.

--     Focus groups were held in four cities across the US, both in the South and freezing weather cities with finishing contractors and specifiers (structural engineers). The purpose was to understand how they looked at finishing concrete and adopted new products and how the specifiers specified new products.

  --   We conducted in-depth telephone interviewswith 40  specifiers across the country.                                

--    We then used an e survey sponsored by a concrete magazine. They sent out 9,000 requests for participation to specifiers, and we received 500 responses across the country.

Findings: -- We found out that the specifiers controlled the material specs.                                                           

-- The specifiers generally specified one brand or approved equal for new construction projects.
They relied on supporting documentation from sales reps which had test data. The biggest                           concerns/points of pain were:Inability to pour and finish concrete in winter weather, slowing down the
timeline and hairline cracks appearing in the finished concrete.                                                                                      

--       Older engineers were more reluctant to use a new product. “We like to see how products perform over a decade of freeze thaw cycles.”                                                                                                                            
            -- They preferred to have catalogs and printed specification sheets.                                                                                                    
-- Younger ones, were more likely to believe independent test results and trial new products in                  non-critical  low visibility projects.  They were happy to review specs on the web and/or  CD's.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     
Outcomes:  --  The client’s advertising agency used the market findings to advertise the benefits (quicker cure time, less hairline cracks in magazines, ability to use in colder weather) to the specifiers.                
These top magazines/journals were identified through the research resulting in hard hitting ads. The agency also prepared information tailored for the specifiers.                                                                                       

-- The client’s sales reps delivered customized presentations developed by the ad agency to the                     specifiers. These included independent lab results, referrals from specifiers and suggested amounts.   

-- Trade show exhibits were used to promote and explain the benefits of the concrete additive.                       

Impact on the client:  -- This product was successfully launched within 18 months, the quickest launch in their history.                                                                                             

--  They were positioned as the market leader for this product, which made it harder for their                           competitors to copy the product.                                                                                                                               
-- The client exceeded their annual sales goal by 37%.                                                                                                           .