Employing user feedback is key to running a successful business. If you don’t understand their behavior, their attitudes toward your brand and competitive brands, their unmet needs, and the problems they encounter with your products your business is on the long (or short) road to disaster. After all, it’s sales to existing customers and attracting sales from new customers that provide the revenue needed to pay your bills. When you can’t offer the products that solve their problems (consumers buy solutions, not products) or communicate the advantages available from your products that convince consumers to part with their money, your revenue will decline until you must close your doors. No amount spent on marketing will save you unless you spend the money on the right message, in the right channel, at the right time, promoting the right product.
But success and even expansion of your business are possible if you employ user feedback to give customers exactly what they want, when and where they want it, and listen when they have complaints. In fact, the more you talk to your customers and ask them directly, the less effort you’ll have to put into marketing elements like lead generation and reducing revenue by discounting products (price is only ONE element impacting buyer decisions and, in many cases, it’s not the most salient factor in decision making). Instead, users will promote your brand because they love it and the resulting exposure is worth much more than paid advertising on social platforms. We call this UGC or user-generated content. Today, we’re going to focus on the proper ways to collect, analyze, and employ user feedback today, as well as ways to encourage positive feedback in the form of UGC. Read On!
Employ user feedback to explode your business
First, collect it correctly
It’s no good getting a load of feedback if you simply can’t understand it. In today’s digital world, much of the most valuable user feedback comes through posts on social media, rather than much more expensive and less generalizable content collected from formal market research. Unfortunately, most of this user feedback is qualitative and image-based. Collecting this data is hard enough, especially image data because it’s very challenging to identify an image of a user visiting your restaurant unless they tag your business. Even text data is hard to categorize unless the user uses a branded hashtag. Using your brand name in the post might help but sometimes users don’t even include the brand name in a way that makes it easy to collect. For instance, a friend of mine runs social listening for the Microsoft Surface tablet. He listened intently to user feedback immediately after the launch to provide insights to guide the next version of the device. Sometimes users simply referred to it as the new tablet or that tablet from those Office guys.
Above you can see the challenge businesses face simply collecting relevant data from the massive amount of data generated each day. Thus, social listening is hard and it’s important for informed decision-making that you collect data from a wide range of users. That makes it even more critical to collect as many pieces of user feedback as possible. If the feedback is presented to you out of context or it’s hard to sort through the amount of content posted on social media, you aren’t going to use them effectively or you’ll make biased decisions because you only collected a fraction of the user feedback posted.
Alternatively, you can seek user feedback by posting a quiz or poll to provide it in a more manageable format. For that, find the best quiz software that meets your needs to help you collect qualitative data you can actually use and then design a survey that’s easy to get through.
Analyze user feedback
Because the feedback is qualitative, it takes a bit of finesse to analyze the utterances. There are a couple of software programs that can help with this task, including one from SPSS (the quantitative data analysis folks). You’ll also find a bunch of social listening tools, however, they can’t generate a robust analysis as the human language is full of nuances that evade computer analysis. My friend at Microsoft uses a combination of computer-aided analysis to find categories and then human brute force efforts at analysis by reading and interpreting representative comments from each category. Maybe AI can use NLP (natural language processing) to aid in this endeavor.
How to use the feedback to explode your business
Change the website
The website is probably the number one area where user feedback is readily available and easily interpreted. For instance, you can follow visitors from entrance to your website through exit to determine where they go at each step. Exiting after viewing a single page is called a bounce and your bounce rate also includes user feedback. You can chart the movement of visitors down the conversion funnel to determine where they encounter problems on their road to making a purchase, as you can see in the image below.
While this analysis portrays actions taken by users as they work their way toward conversion, other elements contained on the website come into play earlier in the process, encouraging the visitor to put an item in their cart. Landing pages are especially important to analyze. Your website is the first place many people will find you (53% of all website visits come through organic search (ie. search engines). If the UI (user interface) doesn’t meet their expectations or the landing page doesn’t offer enticements to buy, you’ve just lost a sale.
Using feedback reflected by your website data offers ways you can improve your performance. For instance, when Amazon implemented one-click shopping for users logged in to their site, they increased their conversion rate dramatically.
If your conversion rate is below industry standards, your bounce rate is high, or visitors leave your landing page without adding items to their carts, you have clear feedback that you need to change up your website. Test different versions of the key pages involved in meeting your marketing goals to find the optimal pages.
Innovate based on what consumers want
Consumers are a bundle of unmet needs. Deciphering ways to fulfill those needs is the path to success. For instance, the Chrysler minivan, one of the most successful new vehicle types at the time, came from observing how owners used their vehicles to determine how current model types were failing customers. On social media you’ll find a bunch of feedback about features consumers wish were available on your product (as my friend at Microsoft did with the next version of the Surface) or problems related to your product space they wish were solved (like when Chrysler noted that car owners wanted more space without the unwieldiness of a van). These offer opportunities to build a new market or improve your existing market to explode your revenue.
Have your customers asked for more products from you? If they mention this in their feedback, pay attention and think about putting a new plan into action. You could come up with a very valuable new product and make your whole company a lot more worthy when the time comes to move on or sell up. If you get requests for the same thing over and over again from multiple people, you definitely know which direction to move in!
People buy when products are “for them”
Not all the feedback you receive is critical, or even negative, as we discussed in the earlier section on unmet needs. Sometimes, you get positive feedback from customers who love your products or even better, UGC that prompts others to consider buying your products. Post reviews and positive feedback so others can see how much value your brand brings to your customers. You can even solicit this feedback on social media or via email. If your customers say it, they mean it and consumers are more likely to trust feedback from your customers over your own marketing efforts. You don’t have to pay for someone to come up with good copy or try to put a spin on constructive criticism. You’ve got something good to put in your new Instagram caption or to write into your new TV advertising.
Another aspect of feedback to consider is using the way users frame your product to help your copy resonate with consumers. Consumers like to buy from companies that get them so phrasing your ad copy in the words your customers and prospects use helps them know that you get them.
Customer feedback is crucial to making your company profitable in the long run. Gather feedback properly and make sure you’re always listening to customers.
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