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Customer Experience Market Research

Mission Viejo, CA
May 14, 2024

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Chris Hlavatovic

Mission Viejo CA *****



Customer experience professional with 20+ years of market research experience, focusing on the customer experience and customer loyalty. In the last decade, I led research teams at Pitney Bowes, Cox Automotive, and fertilizer producer Advanced Nutrients. I’ve designed and executed hundreds of projects, both B2C and B2B.

HL RESEARCH & CONSULTING LLC 2016-21 & present


Owner of firm that provides market research, competitive intelligence, and associated consulting. Clients include AutoMate software, Case/New Holland, Ephesoft, Husqvarna, Univ. California Irvine, and Wolters Kluwer.

Surveying: helped a leading SaaS provider in the automotive sector segment its market and gain share. Also helped a regional construction company segment its market and update its online presence.

Mystery Shopping: performed on-site observational research across US for confidential clients in multiple industries (inc. cannabis, software, retail). Confidential writing sample available upon request.

Qualitative research: multiple projects in the “building trades,” retail, CPG, SaaS (software), food & beverage industry, cannabis & CBD. Several studies of healthcare professionals.

ADVANCED NUTRIENTS (specialty fertilizer) 2021-2022

Director, Business Intelligence

Reporting directly to owner, I led a team of three analysts responsible for all research and competitive intelligence.

Our team was the company’s primary information hub, essential in creating a Project Management Office, establishing Key Performance Indicators, building corporate dashboards, writing SOPs, setting up CRM.

Our team was responsible for all primary and secondary research. We surveyed small cannabis cultivators, “legacy growers,” and licensed producers across the world. Our research optimized marketing ROI and determined ad spend.

In competitive intelligence, set up monitoring systems to track competitors’ products, prices, promotions, messaging, and distribution practices. Conducted dozens of on-site interviews of resellers.


Director Market Research

Joined company as it prepared for acquisition by Cox Automotive (part of Cox Media family). I ran all primary, secondary, and VOC research as Cox and Dealertrack sorted out their newly-combined SaaS portfolio.

Served multiple business units and Dealertrack senior management with tactical and strategic research. My team helped the company use data more effectively - to understand customers better, increase customer satisfaction, refine and launch new products, and to better target marketing spend.

Migrated the company to Salesforce. Revamped company VOC programs and staffing of phone banks.

PITNEY BOWES 2011-2014

Director of Customer and Market Insights

Joined newly-created, in-house research team charged with deepening the company’s understanding of market dynamics and the customer experience--as it went through a strategic transformation. Designed and executed primary research for several business units and for new executive management. Redesigned part of global VOC.

Improved cross-BU sales 15% in 2013 by better understanding client origination, and then segmenting customers by behavioral and attitudinal methods.

Corporate-level studies improved win/loss by nearly one-third in the business unit that sold industrial inserting/sorting equipment. Also, improved customer feedback systems by linking survey results to; this significantly reduced call-times to 800-help numbers, improved customer satisfaction and referral rate, and reduced call escalation.


(Please see other page; this is my own company. It was my livelihood 2006-11, 2016-21, and is at present.)


Director of Client Development

Brought in to diversify the client base. Responsible for designing, selling, and executing primary research.

Honoring a non-complete agreement with previous employer, successfully reached into new sectors to land clients outside of previous relationships and the firm’s traditional markets.

Provided customer insights for clients including Columbia House (bundling studies), McDonald’s (composition of “dollar menu”), World Wrestling Entertainment (customer profiling that led to better targeting and partnering).


Vice President of Client Development

Joined as the third salesperson and sixteenth employee and charged with growing the business. Designed and sold custom research using the Internet. Served as an industry and company evangelist, speaking at conferences.

Exceeded sales target of $1 million per year for multiple years.

Clients included Arnold Worldwide, Barnes & Noble, Brown-Forman, Cigna, Citibank, Datamonitor, Fidelity, Finish Line, Forbes, Harland, Hartford Courant, Honeywell, International Masters Publishers, iVillage, LexisNexus, Napster, Nationwide, NYTimes, Ogilvy, Pharmavite, Priceline, Reuters, Sears, Showtime, Thomas Publishing, Verizon, Western Union, Zoom Media, Zurich Insurance.

Most projects were quantitative – subjects inc. concept tests, attitude and usage, brand perceptions, satisfaction and loyalty, segmentation. Qualitative projects inc. online focus groups and bulletin boards.


M.A., Political Science, City University of New York

B.A., Global Studies, Pace University

Net Promoter certified

Adjunct Lecturer, UCLA (“Consumer Market Research”)

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