Tool Belt

You previously practiced with surveys and analytics. Now you have a chance to examine the use of an online focus group.

Focus groups are typically conducted either in person or on line when a company wants a group’s reaction or feedback regarding the product, service or customer experience. Conducting in-person focus groups are costly because the company has to pay for an off-site venue usually (somewhere away for the company building) and also has to pay the focus group participants, and usually an outside research consulting person or team to conduct it.

However, online focus groups are much less costly since there is no facility, and the researchers can conduct it from their offices. Less pay for participants may also be a possibility. Participants also tend to feel freer to disclose their opinion in the online environment since they seem to feel there is also more anonymity. However the drawback with online focus groups is that you must have technology savvy participants and an expert facilitator for a successful interaction to obtain customer reactions to a product or service.

Read the scenario below and using the CSR Tool Belt and CSR skills, respond to the checklist items.

Topic 1: A difficult focus group

A research team of two CSR Research personnel from the car company are conducting the session. All the participants receive a company gift card for their participation. They are trying to determine if a new product has all the stylistic and practical attributes wanted and needed by customers. There are 6 people in the focus group regarding a new auto-drive car that through technology drives itself. All 6 people had a chance to test ride in a car from the local dealership, taking notes as they did so, before joining the on-line focus group to share their impressions.

You will now join the online focus group session of current customers. The customer service researcher has asked all of the participants’ for their initial impressions.

Customer #1: Well, I don’t know about the rest of you but I found it an unnerving experience. However, I think I could get used to it.

Customer #3: I really don’t like color of the car or the way it takes turns.

Customer #4: My ride wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t that great.

Customer #2: Wasn’t that bad? Who are you kidding, you must have been asleep! The experience was positively terrifying and there wasn’t anything good about it. Just because one imbecile thinks it’s alright doesn’t mean it is!

Customer #6: Wait a minute; everyone is entitled to their opinion here!

Customer #4: Who are you calling stupid?!


  • Before this focus group deteriorates any further, what should be done to immediately get this focus group back on topic? Using your CSR skills and the CSR Tool Belt, discuss what can be done immediately.
  • Using the same CSR skills and Tool Belt items, decide what should have been done just prior to the start of the focus group session.

Topic 2: Trust and the Customer Relationship

Go to the University’s Online Library in the Academic Tools area of the course room and search for an article within the last three years concerning “customer trust”.


  • Provide your classmates with the article title and reference, and then discuss what you learned from the article.
  • Explain how what you learned might help you regain a lost customer once they are stating that they are going elsewhere for the service or product you offer and explain why. (You may use your current company if applicable or use a company for which you ideally would like to work.)



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