Customer panels are groups of people with common interests who agree to participate in research studies. The panel is usually created and maintained for a particular company’s customers, hence “branded customer panels”. But panels can be created for various groups of stakeholders, whether customers, members, employees, CSRs, partners, prospects, suppliers, or others. Panels work equally well in either business-to-consumer (B2C) or business-to-business (B2B) environments.
What Makes a Panel a Panel?
Here are some of the characteristics of a branded customer panel:
- Panelists have regular opportunities to participate in a variety of research studies.
- Panelists can opt out/unsubscribe from the panel list and future research initiatives at any time.
- There are clear rules or guidelines to prevent fatiguing panelists (for example, no panelist is invited to take a survey more often than every 60 days).
- Panelists’ survey activity is recorded and tracked. Frequency of invitations sent, frequency of participation and topics or types of research that generate interest are recorded.
Why Invest in a Panel?
Branded customer panels are a great tool for keeping your finger on your customers’ pulse, by allowing you to reach out to a pool of customers who have agreed to be contacted for marketing research purposes. But the value of branded customer panels is even greater than having a ready “sample” of research respondents. Here’s why.
- Brands that ask questions, and then show that they have listened and taken action in response to what they have heard, earn their customers’ trust and inspire loyalty. Respondents tell me time and time again how deeply they value being asked for their opinions, and how much they love being asked to help improve their experiences as customers.
- Brands with customer panels keep their customers engaged in an ongoing relationship. Like in any relationship, there is an ongoing dialogue that continues to deepen over time. Both customers and brands benefit from the experience.