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All posts in Ethnography

Perspektif Baru Kepuasan Pelanggan

Perspektif Baru Kepuasan Pelanggan

Majalah SWA, 18 September – 8 Oktober 2008

Untuk menciptakan kepuasan pelanggan, sering hanya aspek people yang digarap. Padahal, ada dua aspek lain yang mutlak diperlukan, yakni produk dan proses. Inilah perspektif baru para praktisi dan pakar tentang kepuasan pelanggan.

Amalia E. Maulana :  Menggali Kepuasan Pelanggan Lebih Kontekstual

Ada tiga komponen umum yang dikandung dalam konsep kepuasan pelanggan (customer satisfaction/CS). Pertama, pengukuran respons konsumen terhadap produk/jasa. Kedua, respons terhadap CS mengacu pada fokus tertentu. Dan ketiga, ada unsur waktu, karena respons bisa muncul pada saat sebelum memilih, pada saat memilih atau setelah memilih.

Dengan demikian, CS sangat kontekstual terhadap siapa konsumen yang ditarget, seperti apa produk/jasanya, dan situasi atau waktu pada saat dilakukan studi. Upaya membandingkan secara langsung satu produk dengan lainnya, seperti yang dilakukan dalam pengukuran indeks, berarti menyederhanakan banyak aspek, karena yang dikejar adalah generalisasi atau pemahaman umum dengan menggunakan jenis pertanyaan yang sama antar produk/jasa.

Upaya mengukur indeks CS oleh Majalah SWA dan Frontier memang bagus dan berguna sebagai indikasi umum. Namun, perusahaan atau pemilik merek harus tetap menyelenggarakan studi CS secara terpisah, yang lebih sesuai dengan konteks merek. Pasalnya, survei di perusahaan tidak bisa dibuat hanya dengan menggunakan sebuah template yang sudah umum digunakan oleh banyak perusahaan lain dari tahun ke tahun. Template tersebut tidak bisa menjawab situasi yang dihadapi oleh merek. Ia akan salah menangkap dimensi elemen produk/jasa apa saja yang lebih penting pada kurun tertentu. Periset CS di perusahaan harus membuat batasan yang jelas dan spesifik tentang ketiga komponen CS seperti yang dijabarkan di atas.

Survei CS yang baik harus dimulai dengan eksplorasi isu dengan metode riset kualitatif. Hasil studi kualitatif akan memberikan gambaran yang lebih kaya tentang interaksi konsumen dengan merek, sehingga pada saat penyusunan pertanyaan dalam survei CS, isunya menjadi mendasar dan hasilnya bisa langsung diterapkan untuk menjawab permasalahan.

Dorongan riset kualitatif CS makin hari akan semakin kuat. Sebab, pada akhirnya siapa pun ingin membuat koneksi antara CS dan nilai keuangan (financial value) terhadap bisnis. Karena, yang menjadi pertanyaan selalu menyangkut bottom line pengelolaan merek, apakah ada hubungan langsung antara meningkatnya CS dan meningkatnya nilai keuangan merek. Mengejar CS tanpa batas akan menyebabkan turunnya profibilitas.

Selain itu, memasukkan dimensi customer dissatisfaction (CDS) dalam pengukuran CS juga diperlukan. Alasannya, CS adalah variabel yang sangat abstrak. Karena itu, ada kalanya bila konsumen diminta menjelaskan secara keseluruhan tingkat kepuasan terhadap sebuah produk atau merek, ia mengalami kesulitan untuk menjawab dengan akurat. Pendekatan dengan memisahkan factor yang menyebabkan CS dan yang menyebabkan CDS akan memberikan juga gambaran yang lebih konkret lagi, variabel apa dari sebuah produk/jasa yang masih oke, dan mana yang perlu memperoleh perhatian serius. Pengukuran CDS ini penting untuk mengidentifikasi hal-hal yang membuat frustasi konsumen, yang disebabkan penyederhanaan informasi dalam survei tidak tertangkap secara baik.

Belakangan ini banyak dibahas dan dilakukan studi Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP). Ini diyakini lebih bisa langsung menjawab permasalahan perusahaan, karena customer-oriented company mengerti hanya produk yang dimanfaatkan secara optimal oleh konsumennya yang akan membuat perusahaan bisa menghitung cost vs. benefit yang optimal pula. Saat ini Microsoft melakukan CEIP dengan cara memberikan opsi kepada penggunanya untuk ikut dalam studi usability. Dalam studi ini dilakukan pengamatan langsung terhadao perilaku konsumen terkait produk-produk yang digunakannya, dengan cara tracking dan mapping terhadap pemakaian produk sehari-hari. Studi usability merupakan salah satu dari sekian banyak teknik dalam metode riset etnografi, yang diyakini dapat menangkap aspirasi dan kebutuhan konsumen secara lebih kontekstual dan bermakna.

Ethnography: Cutting Edge Research

 

 

Ethnography, cutting edge research

 

 

The Jakarta Post, Supplement News – Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Amalia E. Maulana

 

Nine out of 10 people who read “Brand Consultant & Ethnographer” on my business card ask me what an ethnographer is. This is precisely the question I am waiting for. Putting my new profession on my business card is in fact part of a strategy to introduce ethnography to the business network I have built.

 

What about yourself? Are you familiar with the term ethnographer or ethnography and its role in business? Hopefully, the word has caught your attention as a decision maker. If you are not familiar with this term, it is high time to take a short break from your routine activities and tune-in again to the buzz words of the management world. Ethnographic jargon, at the very least, needs to be part of your dictionary to enrich your discourse with business colleagues, especially when you are running a very competitive business. Broadening the horizon of contemporary research methods in an effort to better understand consumers is indeed invaluable.

 

At present, the pressure to conduct ethnographic studies in marketing is getting higher with the diminishing confidence in the research effectiveness of conventional methods such as the focus group discussion, survey, consumer panel, etc. For example, the popular focus group discussion method is being questioned since the results tend to be superficial. One of its obstacles is the domination of one or two respondents who agitate the dynamics of the discussion. Besides, some brand experiences are just too difficult to express in such a setting. The goal of ethnography research, therefore, is to capture the telling moments that reveal what consumers actually do with products, rather than what they say they do.

 

An ethnographer’s task in the context of marketing is to help a business to know the existing dynamics in consumers’ lives in dealing with products; to look closely at their experiences with the products; to learn intensively about the product’s role in its original setting; to reveal what is in the consumers’ mind from the very beginning, when they first decide they need a product until when they finally buy and use the product.

 

The job of the ethnographer is no longer simply a moderator who explores respondents’ responses in the setting of a focus group discussion in a closed room. An ethnographer involves him/herself in a dynamic environment full of various dimensions. To meet, observe and interact with both the primary and the supporting actors in an episode of a product in real life.

 

In looking for facts, the ethnographer should find the linkage between one story and another, connecting the elements involved in the big picture of the product’s role in its real setting. Extracting and arranging these findings in the form of meaningful insights is a real challenge in itself. This helps the company sharpen the blurred pictures which are not shown when doing superficial research that absorbs piles of valuable consumer insights.

 

How far is the company concerned with the needs and aspirations of the main stakeholders i.e. consumers? Quite often the decision to launch a new product is more controlled by the company’s competence in the field of technology and innovation. Some companies introduce new products only as a benchmarking reaction against competitors. Rarely does the company complete the full exercise – identify the customer value gaps which the competitors have yet to fill.

 

On the other side, the company’s focus on product improvement as a feedback from consumers still addresses technical matters. It is true that many companies have implemented customer satisfaction surveys as concrete proof of concern for their customers. Unfortunately, as a feedback system, the design of the questionnaire is rarely based on a profound and fundamental qualitative exploration study. The top management is mainly interested in the final output of the customer satisfaction achievement index or customer loyalty, for the sake of measuring the organization’s Key Performance Index (KPI) achievement. Few have any interest in finding out the essence of the reasons behind the index.

 

Ethnographic study is a qualitative study which is implemented using a combination of several different exploration research techniques, which help dig out more meaningful stories about consumers in relation to the product. Before designing a quantitative study such as a survey, the company needs a thorough understanding of company stakeholders. This is expected to open the decision maker’s eyes and ears, and of course minds. The survey as a follow up study lends a final touch to confirm the different findings. Relying on a survey alone, unfortunately, will restrict the perspective. The company will be only see a trend with many figures, but without a deeper explanation.

Like a puzzle, the pieces collected in this type of study will represent different dimensions of stakeholders’ behavior. The more pieces we collect, the brighter and clearer the insights will be that radiate from the puzzle. A difference in sharpness can be seen in a puzzle with picture consisting of 100 pieces and one consisting of 1000 pieces.

Ethnographic research is not necessary done by professional research agencies. Internal team-based ethnography with personnel from different divisions will also help the company observe problems from different perspectives. The involvement of an expert will give added value, such as speeding up the process of insights discovery.

Now the decision is in your hands. Will you stick to the conventional method? Or start learning and applying ethnography, a cutting-edge research method. It’s about time you rolled up you sleeves and plunged directly into consumers’ lives. So what are you waiting for? Just do it!

The writer can be reached at www.amaliamaulana.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Insights via Ethnography

SWA, 19 September 2006

Insights via Ethnography

Oleh : Amalia E. Maulana

Actions speak louder than words. A picture is worth a thousand words.

Dua pepatah di atas tepat untuk menggambarkan kekuatan riset dengan metodologi etnografi. Berbeda dari focus group discussion (FGD), dalam riset etnografi responden tetap berada dalam lingkungan aslinya. Read More →

Melakukan Riset Sendiri

Ditulis di Sydney, dimuat dalam Kolom Majalah SWA 23/XX/7-24 November 2004 Read More →