Your customers are unique and ever-changing people with many layers. Understanding them can feel like a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be. Most companies utilize qualitative data to reveal what customers do or want. But that’s only giving them part of the story. To really get to know your customers, you need to understand the “why” behind their preferences and behaviors.
That’s where qualitative and quantitative research strategies can unite to provide a clearer picture of your customers. But if you’re currently relying on mostly quantitative methods, folding in another set of feedback may feel a bit intimidating. But worry not because incorporating qualitative feedback into your current quantitative research strategy is easier than you think and we’ll even show you how. We’ll take a look at a few common quantitative metrics, and share how you can add qualitative user research to understand your customers even better than you do now.
NPS is great. If you measure it consistently across multiple touch points and channels, it can give you a great benchmark for how your customers feel about your brand. But, as you may know, it doesn’t tell you much more than that.
This is where user research can enlighten your NPS. Since you’re already running regular NPS surveys on various touch points and channels it’ll be easy to see where you’re strong and where you need to improve. Once you identify those areas, run an unmoderated user research study to understand where those scores came from.
For example, if you have a high score after the first purchase but a low score on return visits, you can instruct a research participant to go through the process of making a purchase and observe what they encounter. Maybe the design of your homepage is spot-on, but the checkout page was last on the list of priorities in your latest sprint—and your customers noticed.
A/B tests help us remove ourselves from the design process and let real users tell us what works and what doesn’t. While I might believe with all my heart and soul that the copy I wrote for a landing page would help convert leads, an A/B test will prove whether or not that’s true. It’s not easy to ignore your instincts. The curse of knowledge is real, and the closer we are to a project, the more likely we are to opt for the choices that we feel work best.
The problem is - you aren’t your user. But if you have a passionate team (which I hope you do!) then it’s probably going to take a bit more than a statistic to convince everyone that a project could be moving in the wrong direction.
And nothing is more convincing than watching a user interacting with your product. A/B tests can guide your research strategy. Listen to the pain points—and delights—users mention, and iterate on those aspects of your product. Understand why customers chose version “A,” “B,” or some combination of the two by listening to and observing their interactions with your product.
Surveys can provide a plethora of information to guide your strategy—but the information provided can’t be completely trusted. For example, a survey may indicate that your customers want to receive more coupons via email, but, in reality, sending your customers too many emails might actually hurt your business.
If you follow up your survey with additional user research, you can learn more about what your customers really want from coupons. You may discover that, in reality, your customers just aren’t aware of the regular sales you run on your website.
You won’t know what’s behind your survey answers until you follow up and get your customers talking in their own words. Start with a survey, then design follow up studies to dig deeper into why they answered the way they did. You’re likely to discover some pain points you hadn’t considered.
The Magic 8 Ball
When it comes to your customers, sadly, there’s no magic 8-ball. Understanding what they want and need takes commitment and empathy. But the companies that commit to listening to their customers are the ones everyone else is striving to compete with.
While there’s no magic solution to understanding your customers, combining the quantitative metrics you’re already using with qualitative user research comes pretty close.
by Jennifer Winter, Marketing Content Writer, at UserTesting