B2B Software Company – surveys and in-depth telephone interviews

Customerwise helped Esri UK to obtain quantitative data and qualitative insights using customer surveys and in-depth telephone interviews (IDIs).

The brief

The client

Esri is the world leader in GIS (Geographic Information System) software that is used for mapping, spatial analysis and asset management. The company’s ArcGIS product brings “The Science of Where” to a range of organisations including governments, military, energy and resource, utilities, retailers, transport and logistics, housing, land ownership, and many more.

Esri UK wanted to gain answers to an important question:

“What is it really like to be an Esri UK customer?”.

The Challenge

They were especially interested in understanding their customers’ experiences and perceptions over the first 1-2 years of using their software.

Complex and varied use cases

ArcGIS is a powerful and versatile system that facilitates exploration, analysis, decision-making and operations in a vast number of situations. It is capable of many complex functions and of dealing with very large, multiple datasets.

New customers often need to invest in onboarding and training, and sometimes in bespoke implementation and consultancy services.

This early period following a purchase is one of the most important for customers. Esri UK wanted to find ways to help customers to be more successful with the software more quickly and easily.

Esri UK approached Customerwise for help.

We agreed to deliver quantitative and qualitative data and insights into the experiences of Esri UK customers who had signed up within the previous 18 months. The objective was to uncover opportunities to improve customer experiences, increase customer success, and where possible, reduce customer attrition.


We worked closely with the senior management team at Esri UK to agree a suitable approach. From there on we took direct responsibility for the hands-on management of the project.

Stage 1: An overview of GIS and the Esri software

As GIS software (and ArcGIS in particular) is used for varied purposes that are often complex, the project began with a brief but effective immersion into the basics of GIS and the problems that it can be used to solve.

Stage 2: Qualitative and Quantitative online customer survey.

Working with Esri UK, we designed a survey questionnaire aimed at recently acquired new customers.

We then managed the deployment of the survey and took steps to maximise the number of responses.

After providing an appropriate opportunity for Esri customers to opt-out of the process, we made use of telephone canvassing and bespoke email messaging to maximise the number of completed responses to the online survey.

Customers were contacted prior to the survey being deployed to gain their commitment, and where necessary, were offered reminders following deployment.

A careful balance was struck to maximise responses while avoiding resistance or push-back. During telephone canvassing, rapport was built with many customers leading to increased survey responses, and later, to a high level of engagement with telephone interviews (see below).

The number of completed survey responses far exceeded Esri’s expectations, and the results were reliable, statistically significant, and highly valuable in helping Esri UK to understand their customers’ experiences and perceptions.

Stage 3: Qualitative insights through in-depth telephone interviews

In-depth telephone interviews were then conducted with a range of customers across different industries and government agencies.

Interview subjects included decision makers and end users in a range of settings including education, central government (regulation), housing, retail, land and asset management, publishing, and forestry. The organisations had many different objectives and reasons for using GIS software.

This stage enabled customers to describe their experiences and perceptions in their own words. Pain points were then “teased out” and discussed in detail, along with ideas and suggestions for how those customers’ experiences could have been improved going forward, and what lessons could be learned more generally.

Execution and delivery

The project was delivered within agree time scales. The number of responses / participants for both the online survey and the in-depth interviews exceeded expectations by over 50%.

In addition to the agreed deliverables, Customerwise produced an executive report, summarising key learnings from each customer and outlining general themes and suggested next steps.

Value and impact

Esri UK obtained valuable new insights into the perceptions of a range of customers in a variety of industries. The findings have been used to support a number of strategic and operational decisions.

In addition, the business was able to become aware of potential interventions or changes of approach to help specific customers to be more successful and efficient in meeting their objectives.

There was also overwhelming support and appreciation from customers about the very fact that Esri was making a pro-active effort to gain their feedback. The process of gaining in-depth feedback through a third party was seen as a very positive thing by Esri UK customers.

Through the process Esri also became aware of significant business opportunities.


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Paul works creatively with a broad range of B2C and B2B organisations to help them find ways to compete more effectively. Read More...

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