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What’s one unique way to gain insight into what your customers are thinking?
1. Launch a Chat Service on Your Site
Every time we make a major product change, we open a chat service on our site so fans can give us immediate feedback. Our preferred product is Olark, since it’s extremely easy to integrate and truly affordable. You can wait for folks to ask questions, or you can even interrupt them and ask, “How can we help?” The more you can ask for feedback in real time, the better.
2. Use Heatmaps
Heatmaps are one of the most interesting things to happen to e-commerce, in my opinion. Tracking the movements of people’s eyes hasn’t only told us how to arrange our web pages better, it’s also taught us things like which product angle attracts the most attention or which features customers read first. I think they give you more than a customer would even know how to tell you.
3. Ask Them
Pick up the phone and call a random sample of customers. You’d be surprised at the suggestions and comments you receive. There are survey and website tools, but phone calls can get the best response and show customers you care.
4. Poll Them
Send out a survey to your customer base using a platform like SurveyMonkey or a similar service. If you really want to trigger a high response rate, offer a discount or special offer as incentive. You will see a much higher completion percentage if you offer something of value. Even the smallest of “bribes” will result in a much larger data pool of feedback.
5. Beta Test Your Product
Beta testing is a great way to learn about your customers before releasing your product. In our experience, beta testing gives us real user feedback that lets us challenge our assumptions instead of guessing how a customer will use our device. Make it clear in the beginning that you want their unbiased feedback. This gets them excited about being heard and contributing to the process.
6. Have Your Team Ask and Listen
I’m in the business of events, so I have the fortune of being face-to-face with my customers. I tend to find I only get the extremes of feedback as the founder, so I utilize my team to talk with everyone else and get their real thoughts, praises and critiques. After each event, I have my team submit that feedback to me while it’s fresh so we can process it and do with it what is needed.
7. Try Popup Chat Boxes and Surveys
A great way to learn about your audience (while also increasing conversions) is to implement a popup chat box or survey while users are live on your site. This is a great time to approach them with a simple popup that says “How can I help?” You’ll be amazed by how many different questions you’ll receive while also potentially seeing a nice jump in signup conversions.
8. Try Usability Testing Videos
Pay for a service like usertesting.com to film your actual customers using your site. Having that kind of direct insight into different segments of your customer base can help you fine-tune your design, marketing materials, images, etc. It’s one thing to “think” about how they’ll use your site, and another to physically watch them doing it. There’s much to be gained!
9. Start a Facebook Q&A Group
We follow our friend Ryan Levesque’s “ask method.” Attempting to mind read your customers is often as successful as throwing darts in a pitch black room with no dartboard on the walls. Start simple. Create an open company Facebook group dedicated to Q&A. Set a company representative to monitor the group and answer quickly during business hours. Publish those business hours to set expectations.
10. Get Feedback on Product Pages and Immediately After Checkout
The lack of human touch with e-commerce can make it hard to get valuable feedback. Try embedding a simple “Was this product description helpful” button after the content section of product pages. Also add a simple way to collect feedback right after a customer checks out.
11. Learn From Those Who Didn’t Buy, Rather Than Only Talking to Customers Who Did
When we talk about bridging the gap between sales and product, it’s important to make sure the product is talking to customers who didn’t buy as often as those that did buy. Gravitating only toward people who liked us makes us miss out on key learnings about why others didn’t. This is key for increasing conversions and reducing churn.
12. Listen to Your People
Your sales and customer service teams know your customers better than anyone. But to get this information from them, you need to be intentional in gathering it. Schedule a time to meet with them about this. Prior, be sure to formulate great questions, such as: Who is our ideal customer? What do our customers love/hate about us? What do we not offer that our customers need or expect from us?