Customer feedback research

An advanced UX research project

What was I trying to solve?

IKEA had four main areas to focus on: finding new ways of gathering ad-hoc qualitative feedback; promoting an open and transparent communication channel and long-term relationship building with customers; researching IKEA customers and their behaviours, needs and motivations towards providing feedback; and to provide recommendations that advises IKEA on what approach to take to achieve their ad-hoc feedback goals.

My role and responsibilities

I collaborated with a team of designers to interview the stakeholders and understand the problem we were trying to solve. Individually, I designed and conducted a research plan tp understand the needs and desires of the audience. This was then presented to the IKEA team for review.

Project Timeline

Start to finish: 9 weeks; a project-based learning experience for IKEA.

Tools Used

Google Forms for surveys

What are the design challenges?

Based on the brief and the stakeholder interview, we uncovered the four areas of objectives which were:


IKEA have a vision to create a better everyday life for the many people. Their mission is to offer customers opportunities to improve their lives at home.

Customer expectations have changed, and IKEA have an ambition to co-design and create the IKEA Australia of the future, together with their customers.

The mission of this new platform is to enable IKEA to gain qualitative insights from their customers, and potential customers. A deep understanding of the why and how, and to be able to explore different topics with their customers.


This new platform will be a vehicle for IKEA to connect with audiences that have had a positive experience, or had no experience at all.

IKEA want to drive visitation from people that may not have visited the store, where they don’t have any visibility on what they think or feel of IKEA.

The foundation of this project is engaging audiences to co-create, rather than measure once.
They would start with qualitative, and then that could lead into a quantitative piece where it is validated across the market.

What has been done?

Incentivising is something to think about. IKEA would be more inclined to support foundations or initiatives such as sustainability or climate action.

Video and the power of storytelling or narrative to get a point across is an area of interest. Translating data insight into action & initiatives to produce a visible change in that area of the experience that we're trying to analyse. That is where they currently struggle.

Competitors are: Bunnings; Kmart; Fantastic Furniture; Super E-mart; Temple & Webster; Harvey Norman; Big W; Target.


We don't have any identifiers, or anything that's specific. We are interested in attitudinal & psychographic background.

We want to create a conversation around the services that they might want to offer, or experiences that they want to generate.

To be able to submit topics to drive as well as to be completely open to what we don't know.

To lean towards the first half of the customer journey, before the interaction happens with IKEA.

My approach

This project was guided by a User-Centred Design approach to understand exactly what motivates visitors and workers in the Circular Quay area, and to start to understand what they may be looking for in a Digital Experience.

This process moves through 5 key steps:

with IKEA customers, to understand their motivations, pain points, and behaviour towards providing customer feedback by conducting user interviews.

and hone in on their needs through creating affinity maps, empathy maps, personas, user journeys, pains and gains, and defining the design opportunity.

by creating ideas for how this could be solved, with photo elicitation and expert reviews.

ideas with users via interviews, surveys and photo elicitation.

were relayed back to key stakeholders based off the research I had conducted. No prototyping was required as part of this brief.

Empathising with user needs

I planned and conducted 13 interviews with users, to understand their needs, motives, behaviour, and pain points around customer feedback.

Affinity map analysing user feedback
  • User feelings towards leaving feedback are complicated, and in some cases inconsistent.
  • Some avoid feedback. Some say they love giving feedback, but only in certain situations.
  • Some will only leave feedback if they had an extremely good or bad experience. Others will let their voice be heard with actions, and avoid shopping with a brand.
  • Users were most familiar with email surveys, live chat was popular, and some have had bad experiences with SMS surveys.
  • A lot of users felt they get too many emails, and it wasn’t the best place to reach them. Others wanted an email, and to be able to choose to do the feedback or survey in their own time.
  • Some users were open to receiving surveys via social media, while others were opposed.
  • Most users felt that leaving audio or video feedback was way too personal, while others thought it was a quick and easy way to respond.
  • Over the board, it was very apparent that users thought the majority of surveys were misleading with how long they would take.
  • Users were concerned with data privacy, and what was being done with the information they provide.
    Sometimes feedback was just too difficult, and gave up.
  • Transparent and clear communication about the length and time taken for surveys, and what will the data be used for.
  • Users clearly wanted ‘in the moment’ feedback, and for it to be easy and quick.
  • Users were also interested personalised, relevant, surveys. The option to leave quick feedback on a website popup, or even at the checkout.
  • Some also wanted communication or updates on company initiatives that the feedback is driving.

User Personas

Primary Persona - People who are opposed to giving feedback
Users who are opposed to leaving feedback have typically been put off previously by misleading surveys that take too long to complete.
They are concerned about privacy, and what will really be done with the data they provide.

IKEA Presentation Report 3
IKEA Presentation Report 4
IKEA Presentation Report

Secondary Persona - People who are open to giving feedback
Focusing on the users who like to give feedback, we can see they still want the experience to be quick and easy, and in the moment.
All users are different, and would like options for the way they leave feedback.
They want questions to be relevant, specific, and personalised.
Users want transparency, and clear communication about what is being done with the information they provide.
Users also say they prefer to be incentivised.

IKEA Presentation Report 5
IKEA Presentation Report 6
IKEA Presentation Report 2

What was the UX opportunity?

Based on the information and process so far, I was able to look at the business problem, and the needs of the users, and understand that the key opportunity was reducing the friction and making it easy for people to leave quick and honest feedback.
Building on the customer relationship and encouraging communication.

Ideation & testing

I wanted to try and further validate my findings so far, so I did some photo-elicitation with users to gain some qualitative feedback on different types of surveys.

Presenting the users with images of surveys I asked questions like… How does this survey make you feel? What do you like about it? What don’t you like about it?

Users were open to social media ads and surveys if they were from brands that tey know and trust.

IKEA Presentation Report 9

Users liked the option to choose different ways to leave their feedback.

IKEA Presentation Report 10

Users wanted surveys that were visually engaging.

IKEA Presentation Report 11

Users liked the option to have a follow-up and wanted the control to choose their preferred follow-up option.

IKEA Presentation Report 12

Users wanted simple, quick, and easy to complete feedback.

IKEA Presentation Report 13

Users liked the idea of concise messaging that clearly communicates the value in their feedback.

IKEA Presentation Report 14

Users found the existing IKEA surveys to be very corporate and boring.

IKEA Presentation Report 15

Users did not find the surveys engaging and felt they would take too long to complete.

IKEA Presentation Report 16


Building the relationship

Throughout my user interviews it became clear that the customer is complicated.
Users say one thing, and do another. It really comes down to the moment, the thought, and the emotion.
The majority of users had reservations about leaving feedback. There were concerns about privacy, and what would be done with their data.
I believe the solution to this is in nurturing and communicating with the customer, to further build that trust.

Building trust first.
Transparency around why the feedback is needed, & what change it will drive in the company.
Clarity around what will be done with the feedback and data.

IKEA Presentation Report 18

Communication around what positive change the customer feedback is driving

Customers felt that it would be great to see and hear what positive change the feedback is driving, and to be able to up-vote to prioritise and influence change.
Although not all customers were interested in hearing what others thought, and some were not interested to hear what was being done with their feedback, the majority of customers like the idea of easily being able to vote for the most popular change initiative.

IKEA Presentation Report 19

Giving users the option for their preferred method of feedback

It was clear in user interviews and analysis, that users all preferred different methods of providing feedback.
Some users were strongly opposed to video or audio feedback, while others thought it was a quick and easy way to have their voice heard.
Some users wanted an email, to provide the feedback in their own time. Others users thought email was personal, and needed to be relevant and personalised. Others had too many emails in their inbox, and wouldn’t do it.
I recommend to give users the option for how to leave the feedback, either by written, online chat, audio, or video. This reduces friction, and puts some of the control back with the user.

IKEA Presentation Report 20

In the moment website feedback

The majority of users all felt that they wanted quick, easy, in the moment feedback.
I would recommend adding a quick feedback option to the website. Here, users could be asked specific and relevant questions that relate to where they are on the website, as well as giving users the option to provide their own custom message.
I would recommend implementing a live chat into the website. A number of users felt that live chat was the best option, and wanted to be able to speak to a real person (but not on the phone) and provide feedback in the moment.

IKEA Presentation Report 21

In the moment instore feedback

I would recommend better messaging and signage for the instore kiosks, to make them stand out, and let users understand what you are trying to achieve. What change is the user feedback driving? How are they making a difference? Make them more visually interesting.
Users wanted specific and relevant questions, to make it easier for them to answer. There could be the opportunity to ask different questions throughout the store.
Give the users options for how to leave feedback.
Some users were interested in leaving feedback at the checkout, in the moment while they are being served. This feedback would need to be extremely quick and easy. I would recommend further investigation to explore how this could be successful.

IKEA Presentation Report 22

Social media & targeted feedback

While some users were opposed to targeted ads, a number of users were either open to it, or realised it goes hand-in-hand with being on social media. A number found the ads to be helpful to their shopping experience.
I recommend utilising targeted ads on social media and display ads. Users need to be warmed to the brand first, so I would recommend brand awareness first, with clear messaging about the goals and initiatives, and how important customers are in that process. Once users have engaged with this content, they could be served targeted surveys in social media posts and stories.
I would recommend these surveys to be personalised, relevant, and highly visual and engaging.
This is a way to reach new audiences, and engage before the customer interaction begins.

IKEA Presentation Report 23

All research and recommendations were presented to the client and a final report was provided to guide them with their customer feedback initiatives.

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Digital and user experience designer. I would love to learn about your business, and talk about how we can work together.
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