Page 3: Research
Market research involves identifying what customers want and then meeting their requirements. An important part of this is to anticipate customers' requirements and be ahead of the competition. Often this involves a hunch or theory that managers will test through research.
Abbey was aware of the high levels of misunderstanding among financial services customers and was determined to provide simpler, more satisfying solutions. It set up some qualitative research i.e. sitting down with small groups of customers representative of the wider population and engaging in frank, open discussion about the financial services market, desired developments in general, and what Abbey in particular might usefully do.
The research confirmed that many banks are too product-led: the financial services they provide are based on well-tried, profitable recipes rather than on customer-led solutions that prioritise emerging customer needs and requirements.
Weighing up the research evidence, Abbey decided to remove much of banking's mystique and place itself firmly within the real world of its customers.