Customer feedback: beyond what the users tell you

By Harsh Vardhan
  • Customer feedback: Beyond what the users tell you
  • Customer feedback: What can you do with the data you have collected

After going through the regular drill of collecting customer feedback, go a step further. Scratch the surface, know what customers don’t want you to know.

This guide will help you understand the techniques and tools to learn in depth about your customer’s taste and preference. Set a powerful customer feedback engine that allows you to provide unparalleled customer satisfaction - at the same time, measure it.

Reduce customer churn by coming up with strategies that provide a unique value to customers. Take your customer experience to the next level, and create a brand that’s impossible to ignore.

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How many times when the waiter asked ‘How do like the food’ have you said ‘I think it’s a little too cold’ or ‘I do not like it’?

Customers do not always want to go through the hassle of explaining what is wrong. Collecting accurate customer feedback is not an easy task.

Another one: have you asked for customer feedback a month after they bought from you?

In all likelihood, the customer will only talk about the price and the features. Perhaps they did not like the color of your dashboard. Would they talk about it now? Well, most customers won’t.

  • They might have gotten used to it by now.
  • They might have already moved onto a better-looking version.
  • They think it’s too much of a hassle to discuss it with someone.

It is worth noting most users will just talk about what they think was important, but significant things might have impacted them which they didn't consciously feel as important, or would not want to say was important. For example, they’d be reluctant to raise a concern as small as the color of the dashboard.

Basically, anything you do after the event will never be quite enough to re-create the same situation, and the customer feedback you collect will not be accurate - a huge problem in itself.

The only way to really know what excites your buyers and what makes them despise your product: implement systems to read and track the signals/triggers that make them act in a certain manner.

Customer feedback: Beyond what the users tell you 

There are quite a few aspects that can be uncovered without having to ask any questions. This is where customer analytics comes in. Let’s see how companies can collect the implicit customer feedback with the right tools in place.

1. Which areas on your website do visitors like the most

The number one worry most companies have is: we do not know what our customers really want.

They gain insights from market research, build a great product, spend time and energy on marketing it, and still might be clueless about what their users really want.

Seeking explicit customer feedback might help to a certain extent, but the problem is that most visitors would not have a conscious memory of what appealed to them the most before they went ahead a purchased the product.

Customer analytics has the power to unlock these answers for you. Monitor how they behave on your website: which areas do they view the most, which links do they click the most, and more.

The analysis will, to a good extent, tell you which elements on your website actually help convert visitors into paying customers.

The tool you should use for this:

You can use the Zarget Heatmaps to (a) understand if your page layouts are good, and (b) identify the elements on a page users click the most.

It not only gives you an overall picture of what people do on the page, it can tell you what a particular user does on it. It is a great way to identify the most popular areas on your webpage.

A heatmap looks like this:

customer feedback heatmap

The tool also allows you to monitor the clicks on interactive elements such as drop down menus and sliding banners.

2. Which areas on your website do visitors find uninteresting

The information on your website needs to have a logical flow for visitors to be able to make sense out of it. If they are lost on your page or are not able to find what they are looking for, there’s a good chance of them bouncing off the website altogether.

It is very unlikely that they would write to you on the live chat or the customer feedback popup. It is too much of a hassle anyway.

The best way to identify the least sticky sections is to use a customer analytics tool that tells you how much time do people spend on each one.

The tool you should use for this:

CrazyEgg has a great tool for this: the Scrollmaps. They tell you the exact amount of time your users spend on each section of your website.

An impression is recorded when a user stops scrolling on a certain section of the page. A corresponding color gradient is used to visually represent the time users spend on various parts of your page.

customer feedback analytics 1

Darker shades mark regions with the highest buyer retention whereas lighter shades of color mark regions that are ignored.

Combined with the Overlay feature, you will also be able to see the number of clicks that each area receives.

customer feedback overlay

3. How do customers behave at every stage in your funnel

All businesses have a series of steps/events the users need to go through before they purchase. Typical SaaS events: visit the site, view sign up page, use the product, billing, and more.

Typical e-Commerce events: visit the site, view product, add the product to cart, and purchase.

Businesses would ideally want to have a bird’s eye view of all the stages - how each stage performs at converting visitors into customers.

The tool you should use for this:

Mixpanel’s Funnel is the best customer analytics tool to understand how customers behave at every stage. You can set these stages and see how visitors behave in multiple visits.

customer feedback funnel report

  • Where do your customers get stuck as they move through their journey?
  • Where do they drop off the most?
  • At which stage do you lose the most number of customers?

You will have an answer to all of these questions by analyzing the trend across stages.

4. What do customers always engage with before they sign up / buy

There are a variety of marketing and product elements spread across the website and elsewhere with a common aim - conversion.

There is always a path customer take on their way to conversion. For example, they hear about you on Facebook, visit the website, watch the Youtube video, read case studies, and eventually sign up and later convert.

There can be many such paths with elements such as videos, blog, and more.

It would help businesses if they are able to find the most powerful elements - the ones that always lead to a conversion. They can then pay more attention to these elements.

The tool you should use for this:

Kissmetrics’ Path Report is the perfect customer analytics tool for this. All you have to do is enter first and last actions that your customers would typically take, and it will show you the major in-between actions that led to a conversion.

You can generate reports sorted by the conversion rate. The below report shows 5 key actions that user took before they signed up.

customer feedback conversion rate

The one action that is common to all the paths is ‘watched product video’ - is a clear indicator that users always watch the product video before signing up.

5. Who are your power users

What do you do when you need testimonials for your product? Whom do you reach out to when you want a detailed customer feedback? The safest bet is to reach out to your power users.

Who are your power users? That’s for you to decide. Maybe the ones who are using all of your features. Maybe the ones who spend the most time with your product. Maybe the ones who know how to use the most complicated features. Maybe the long term repeat customers.

The tool you should use for this:

Kissmetrics’ People Search does a neat job here. This customer analytics tool allows you to find visitors who have undertaken an action you specify.

customer feedback power users

Say you’re an e-commerce company. You can find your most frequent repeat customers, customers who have spent above a certain amount, and more.

6. Who is likely to stop buying from you

96% of unhappy customers don’t complain, however, 91% of those will simply leave and never come back – 1Financial Training services.

The above statistic is a clear indication that you might not even get that last chance to please an angry customer - most of them would just leave without raising their problems with you.

It is important that you have practices in place to identify the users who are likely to leave you. One great idea is to come up with a list of actions that display a lack of interest among your users and map them against your customer base.

The tool you should use for this:

Kissmetrics’ People Search can be used to run a search for people who have used a feature for not more than X number of times.

customer feedback prevent churn

For SaaS companies, you can find:

  • Users who signed up but never used a particular feature
  • Users who have stopped using a particular feature

7. Which customer segment needs the most attention

For SaaS businesses, users can be classified into a few typical segments, such as new visitors, active trial users, trial conversions.

The first thing you would want to know is whether a segment is growing or shrinking.

You can never have the same customer feedback parameters for all of your segments. You’d want to understand where they are in the growth cycle.

It is important to track the user behavior of all of these segments to understand what works for each.

The tool you should use for this:

Kissmetrics’ Populations is a great customer analytics tool to monitor the health of your segments.

You can define segments, and specify the conditions that you would like them to meet. For example, your first segment can be ‘active trials’ which will contain users who have signed up for a trial in the last 30 days.

Populations’ overview screen gives you a list of your segments, the size of each, and the change over 90 days (you can change this to any number you want).

kissmetrics populations

It also gives you a graphical trend of the total number of users in a segment.

kissmetrics populations 1

You will be able to see which segments are growing or shrinking and adjust your focus accordingly.

You can further drill down to reveal more information about every segment: which city are they from, which page did they first land on, and more.

Customer feedback: What can you do with the data you have collected 

Everyone talks about the importance of collecting customer feedback, but, a common problem with many companies is: not being able to translate the data they collect into actual product improvements.

Using customer's product usage data is an effective way to fill the gaps within your product - it’s an opportunity you cannot afford to miss.

Let’s see how the data can be put to use:

1. Use customer data to prevent leakages from your conversion path

We talked about the various stages a user/buyer has to go through while we discussed Funnels. For businesses, it is very important to prevent the leakages as people move from one stage to another. This does not only apply to signups and purchases, the funnels can be put anywhere on your website to know how visitors move through a certain flow.

  • With a funnel report, you will have a clear picture of where exactly are you losing your customers. It then becomes possible to test different iterations of your product and compare the drop-offs between versions.
  • The funnel report will also help you decide what to communicate to customers at every stage in their journey. For example, if you notice a large amount of leakage between ‘people who used the product’ and ‘ones who bought it’, you should focus more on explaining HOW to use your product better at this stage. Bring your sales reps into play. Focus more on how-to videos and product demonstrations.
  • You will also have data on how visitors from various sources behave inside the funnel. Once you know what are the highest converting sources, you can put more effort into getting more traffic from those sources.

2. Use customer data to contain your bounce rate

A study tells us that visitors spend considerably less time below the first fold on any website. It states that most visitors spend more than 80% of their time focusing on the content above the fold. Businesses need to figure out how to prevent visitors from bouncing off this quickly.

While it is understandable that visitors’ interest diminishes as they go down the fold, it is crucial to understand which area exactly do they drop off from the most and what can be done about it.

This is where the data from scrollmaps comes in. It will help you answer a few important questions:

  • Which sections on your visitors bounce off the most from? These are the areas where you will have to place the elements that people seem to like (the Path Report helps you identify these elements).
  • Where exactly should you place your vital calls to action?Ideally, you would want to place them above the area people generally bounce off from.
  • At what depth of the page is do most drop-offs occur? Is the content in that part of the page relevant? Should it be rewritten or removed?
  • Where exactly does the page fold lie? Should other critical content be moved up the page to get more attention?

For example, if you notice that a lot of visitors bounce off the page as soon as you talking about your integrations and the awards you have won, it’s a clear indication that they’d rather learn more about the product and how it can solve their problems. It makes sense to have a few customer quotes and links to case studies - information that will actually help users determine if it’s the right product.

3. Use customer data to increase conversion rate

The one major goal behind any website is for the user to convert - sign up for a newsletter or a trial, make a purchase, download your app. The layout of your website should help visitors find what they need with much ease, and should eventually lead them to sign up or purchase.

The flow of information on every page needs to be logical and not confusing. Maybe there is something that you find intuitive but it does not look useful to your visitors. It’s a subjective decision and the best way out is to rely on data.

A few things you can do using the Heatmaps data:

  • You can identify the areas which get the least number of clicks. These areas are more of a distraction than a help.
  • Identify the links that get the most number of clicks. These are the most crucial for conversion.

An organization that implemented the heatmap tool was shocked to find out that in a particular month, over 2000 clicks were on an image that did not contain a link. They used this information to make the targeted changes which contributed in uplifting their rate of conversion by 87% in the first two months itself.

Additionally, the data you would have from the Kissmetrics path reports will help you identify the marketing and product elements on your website your users engage with the most. Place variations of them around the areas where your users seem to spend the most of their time.

For example, if you see that most users who converted have watched your product video, you can place short video tips in the first fold of all the key pages in the conversion path.

4. Use customer data to improve your marketing and sales efforts

The information you gain by running customer tests will give you an accurate picture of what your customers really like about your product. The data can be mined specific to individual users/buyers and defined segments.

Analyzing the data, you will be able to pick out product features and marketing elements that they engage with the most, the areas on your website where they spend the most time, and more.

  • You can customize your email marketing campaigns based on the behavior displayed a certain segment of customers.
  • You can design special offers and discounts around the features that the customers seem to like the most.
  • You can send a free coupon to everybody tied to a particular event. For example, you can send a free usage coupon to users who signed up but did not upgrade.
  • You can adjust your advertisements to target certain profiles of people with specific advertisements. Additionally, the ads can be displayed to match the customer location data.
  • You can customize your drip emails based on how the users in different segments interact with your product. For example, if you notice that videos are the best trigger to get people to convert, it is a good idea to send a few videos to users who have just signed up, in the first email to them.
  • The data can also be taken to one-on-one sales conversations. How a person engages with your product will give you enough clues about what they like about your product. This knowledge can be used by sales agents to personalize their conversations.

What links do they click the most, what elements on the website do they interact with the most, how much time do they spend on a page/action - all of this is enough to infer the user's’ interests and intents, and create a targeted marketing and sales program for them.

5. Use customer data to provide amazing customer service

When you know how a customer has behaved on your website, you have a lot of data to make informed decisions about how to deal with them. You will be in a better position to understand the problem they’re facing.

For example, when an agent is able to see where exactly did a customer get stuck while using the product, they will be able to do more than just solving the problem. They will have a clear picture of how that person engages with your product - you can give them quick advice on how to do things better. This will certainly tell them that you care about them.

The same resolution would take more time when the agent does not have the data to understand what the user is talking about.

Given that you have a fair idea about how they have behaved on the website or with the product, you will be able to anticipate their future needs as well. The links that they have clicked on, the videos they have watched, the blogs they have read - they will tell you what appeals to them. You can then talk about those features and make an instant connect with the user.

Wrapping Up

The more customer data you collect, the more will you understand customer patterns and trends. Put all these big and small insights together, you will have a clearer picture of your customers’ way of thinking and how you can dramatically boost their customer experience.

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About the author

Harsh is the content lead at Hiver. He's jocular, loves dogs, and is always up for a road trip. He also reads sometimes.

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  • Avast Support

    June 5, 2017 3:28 pm

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  • Elizabeth Weeks

    July 6, 2017 10:40 pm

    Great article! This is really insightful. I personally had no idea most of this was even possible. Thanks for sharing!