How Kapiche helps Research Square listen to the voice of the customer

With Steven Hill, Senior Manager Voice of Member

For the longest time, Research Square didn’t have to worry about marketing. The company, which helps researchers communicate their findings through English language editing and translation services, enjoyed being in the position where word-of-mouth was sufficient to bring in new business.


Understanding customers deeply as competition in their industry grew

With over 2000 field-specific topics and a community of 20,000 academics, Research Square has always taken pride in delivering the highest quality services in the research industry.

However, as the competition and customer base grew, Research Square struggled to understand what their customers (new and old) needed.

To continue growing, Research Square needed actionable insights that would help improve their current services – while uncovering new areas where they could help authors. In the past, they tended to treat all customers the same, even though they knew they are not. Here’s how using Kapiche’s text analytics helps Research Square deliver their world-class customer experience at scale.

The Challenge

Data insights at their fingertips

While Research Square prided itself on listening to customers and their needs, it struggled to do that in an automated manner that generated quick, actionable insights.

Michelle Ebbs, VoC Advocate is the person responsible for turning things around. Working at Research Square and its parent company American Journal Experts for ten years, she now specializes in customer retention. “I wanted to act on the feedback we received,” she explains. “I felt like our customers are taking their time to tell us how we could improve or tell us what we were doing well and someone should be listening to that,”

Initially, Research Square considered setting up a custom-made software but soon realized it came with serious drawbacks. “We were manually coding and that took a lot of time. There was also a lot of bias and room for error because you're trying to remember to check everything,” Michelle explains. That’s when they started to look elsewhere for help.

Michelle wanted a tool that was both easy to use and set up so she could work on the data herself. As a former researcher, she’s a self-taught data analyst. “[With Kapiche], it's been very easy to find information. I think the user interface is really simple. We had used different text analytics software before and it was just hard. The graphs weren't as good,” she says.

Simpler dashboards meant that providing data to leadership was a no-brainer. Before Kapiche, Research Square had trouble finding the data they needed when they needed it. Now, it’s always at their fingertips.

“My manager is now able to be in a meeting and just pull up those dashboards and give information like, ‘this is what customers are saying’ immediately versus ‘I'll take that as a to-do and I'll come back to you later.’ It’s instant information.”

- Michelle Ebbs, Voice of Customer Advocate

Research Square now has the supporting evidence it needs in order to know they are on the right track when it comes to the customer experience.

The Solution

Listening to the Voice of the Customer through text analytics

Working with Kapiche’s text analytics software has also enabled Research Square to figure out what customers really like about the services they offer. By listening to their customers via their NPS system, they’ve increased their biweekly rolling NPS from a maximum of 43 to consistently over 65.

For example, as a result of text analysis, Research Square was able to pin-point a long-standing pain point: the submission process. Customers were frustrated that they had to provide their area of study when submitting a document. (Understandable, as there were over 400 options to choose from!) Customers also had to provide a word count (which would impact pricing) during the submission process. Now, all that is automated. The result: happier customers.

Research Square uses three different types of surveys to hear from customers at various points in their journey:

  • A website cart survey: used to monitor changes in customer’s carts and how it impacts them.

  • An NPS survey: sent seven days after the order is completed asking customers how likely they are to recommend Research Square.

  • A relationship survey: a yearly survey that goes to all customers to check on the general relationship with Research Square.

Research Square also uses Kapiche to figure out what different customer groups are thinking, specifically around pricing segmentation. Michelle says that using Kapiche has “been helpful for us to try to decide what we're doing with pricing” and which subset of customers to ask for feedback.

The Promised Land

Focusing on the positives through storyboards

Storyboards, one of Kapiche’s original features, has been particularly helpful for Research Square. Storyboards transform large, complex datasets into a compelling visualization that presents a data narrative.

Michelle finds the Storyboard a great place to see your business through the words your customers use. But that doesn’t mean you need to focus only on the negatives. Michelle says that they also use Storyboards to “look at the positives and see what we're doing right and who those customers are. This way, we can keep bringing those customers back in and serving them.”

To keep improving, Research Square continually monitors and acts on customer feedback. Working using an agile methodology, changes can occur pretty rapidly which means that it can be hard to track how they impact customers. Research Square uses the timeline tool within Kapiche to monitor feedback over time.

Using the observed vs expected section of the Field Segmentation Chart within Kapiche, Michelle can track trends between groups and how a particular change affects them. “It’s been eye-opening to dig into the differences between our customer groups”, she explains, “because that's one of our struggles in the past.” By using the advanced segmentation data Research Square has an accurate overview of how each customer group reacts to a certain change.

Be willing to listen and be willing to change

Michelle knows that one of the reasons customers appreciate Research Square is because they know they take feedback seriously, and they go above and beyond to communicate all of the changes they’ve done.

“We actually have an article in our knowledge base titled We're Listening. In it, we'll mention any kind of change we've made in the past month or two based on customer feedback.” They also send out a newsletter linking to that article. “We’ve kept seeing our NPS increase since we started doing this. So that's been encouraging,” Michelle explains.

At the end of the day, Michelle knows that Research Square has always been pretty good at listening to customers. “We have a really good understanding of our customer base,” says Michelle. “Using Kapiche has provided good supporting evidence that we're doing things right.”