Title: Combining qualitative design-based methods and quantitative consumer research methods to improve customer experience in small service businesses: an example from the health club industry

Authors: Gerrita Van der Veen; Remko Van der Lugt; Christine De Lille

Addresses: Research Centre for Innovation and Business, HU Business School, P.O. Box 85029 – 3508 AA Utrecht, The Netherlands ' Faculty of Science and Technology, HU University of Applied Sciences, P.O. Box 182, 3500 AD Utrecht, The Netherlands ' Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering, Delft University of Technology, Landbergstraat 15, 2628 CE Delft, The Netherlands

Abstract: How can you provide health clubs with the possibility of offering innovative and differentiating services in an increasingly competitive and rapidly changing environment? This was the issue raised by the Dutch health club industry, which has grown rapidly in recent years. To this end, we conducted extensive research in order to understand the needs of customers and flesh out a customer-driven marketing approach. As the most frequently used models and methods in marketing do not respond to the demands of small businesses, we adapted emerging generative-user research methods from the field of design. We demonstrate how we combined qualitative design research with quantitative customer research in a study for the health club industry. Finally, we discuss how the approach prompted new insights in the context of small business in the service sector through multidisciplinary collaboration.

Keywords: customer experience; design research; generative techniques; marketing strategy; needs segmentation; qualitative research; quantitative research; small firms; service firms; health clubs; Netherlands; customer needs; multidisciplinary collaboration.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTMKT.2015.070647

International Journal of Technology Marketing, 2015 Vol.10 No.3, pp.266 - 286

Received: 04 Oct 2013
Accepted: 01 Aug 2014

Published online: 16 Jul 2015 *

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