10 Research Tactics to Help You Find the Voice of Your Customer

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  • Magda Baciu

    Magda Baciu

    Founder & Head of Strategy

It’s easy for us, marketers, to get lost in the labyrinth of data and metrics and forget that those numbers are genuine people. Sure, analyzing the data, looking for behavioral patterns, and generating actionable insights is highly appealing for our inner geek. 

However, it’s important to remember that marketing is not about numbers – but about people. People with problems, dreams, and aspirations. If you want your business to be successful, it’s about time you started paying attention to your customers. 

Fortunately, more and more companies recognise the importance of understanding customer wants and needs.

This is why we’ve decided to share a brief overview of how we, at GrowthSavvy, approach the process of identifying the Voice of the Customer.

Our goal for this post is to help you: 

  1. Identify the best research tactics currently available for your business.
  2. Find out how to develop new features and products based on your customers’ actual needs and desires.
  3. Build high-converting landing pages by making your product irresistible.

How to Get an Inside Perspective Into How Your Customer Thinks, Speaks, and Acts

Research Tactic #1 – Interviews

Interviews represent one of the most common techniques for finding out who your customers are. They also offer a great way to get an in-depth understanding of your customer’s attitude towards your product. As a rule of thumb, we recommend instructing the people who will hold these interviews to let the customer speak freely. Tell them not to get defensive if the customer starts talking about what they didn’t like about your product. Those hard-hitting answers are exactly what you’re looking for. Here are some of the questions Strategyzer uses for their interviews (notice they’re all open-ended questions).

Pains
  • What are the main challenges/difficulties that your customer encounters?
  • What does your customer categorize as risky?
  • What is keeping your customer awake at night?
Gains
  • What would make your customer’s job life easier?
  • What outcomes does your customer expect and what would go beyond their expectations?
  • How do current solutions satisfy your customer?

Sampling is also essential when conducting interviews. Having diverse interviewees helps you get a more accurate customer profile. Plus, you diminish the risk of staying trapped in your assumptions.

Try to interview all types of clients. Old clients may have different answers than those who recently purchased from you. Clients who love you may give you a new perspective towards your product’s benefits, while those who dislike your product may light off a bulb that can help you upgrade it. If possible, talk to those still on the fence about buying and those who like your competitor better.  

Moreover, consider asking people in your organization about the clients. Customer-facing departments such as sales and customer support are often those who know your customer’s pains and objections best.

How to plan the perfect interview


Aspects to pay attention to

Leading Questions

Why?

They make the interviewee respond in a biased way, usually towards the opinion of the interviewer.
❌ How good was your experience with ordering a bike from us?
✅ How was your experience with ordering a bike from us?

Use the right order

Make sure the questions are in the right order. Start with demographics and go from general to more specific. If you use multiple-choice questions, randomize the options to increase the results’ validity.
❌ How was your experience with ordering a bike from us? How old are you?
✅How old are you? How was your experience with ordering a bike from us?

Use clear language

Try to use simple words to avoid confusion. Avoid buzzwords and jargon that the respondents might not understand.
❌ How was your convo with tech support?
✅ How would you rate your experience with our technical support representative?

Be present

Pay attention to the interviewee. Try to balance following the script with going more in-depth; you will discover insightful pains/gains.

Be specific when addressing questions

Interviews are part of qualitative research, and just because some of your clients have a confident attitude doesn’t mean everyone feels the same. Qualitative data must complement the insights you get from interviews to be accurate and helpful.

Research Tactic #2 – Online Reviews

Online reviews are another excellent tool for revealing your customer’s jobs, pains, and gains. You may be surprised to see that people found some funky uses for a product initially designed for a whole other purpose.

Social media and platforms where you sell your products/services make great places to find honest reviews.

Moreover, looking into competitor product reviews leads to identifying features that appeal to the audience. Use these insights to feed your product-development team ideas and improve your offering. 

Pay attention to the language they use. Jot down their jargon. Get familiar with it and use it across your website so people can see you’re one of them. 

When looking for online reviews, we recommend selecting the most relevant quotes from the customers and including them in the customer profile.

Example 1 of Amazon review

Negative reviews should be extensively analyzed. It’s important to check if the reported issue is isolated to this product alone or if it’s a case of an entirely faulty batch.

Example 2 of Amazon review

Reviews like these are very insightful as they speak about what is essential for the customer, besides the product itself. The company should investigate further and see if other customers feel the same about the topic (in this case, ease of use).

Example 3 of Amazon review

Here’s an example of a review that can give you an insight into what matters most to your customers. You can see the most appreciated features and get an idea about possible new ways to improve the product.

Research tactic #3 – Chat Transcripts 

The chat is where people usually complain. Thus it’s the best place to find out customer pains. That’s not to say you may not even find a better understanding of customer jobs and, if you are lucky, stumble upon some customer gains too. 

Analyzing those chats (from both social media and your website) can help you in various forms. Look for patterns in your client’s language and approach. Use that information to adapt your response strategy to complaints. But don’t stop there. 

Share the insights with your marketing and content team and tell them to tailor their materials in a way that matches your customer. It’s essential to test those insights using quantitative data.

If the chats are dense, you can use text mining techniques to help you extract the most relevant data from text.

WallsNeedLove offers a great example of how to use chat transcripts to mine for insights. WallsNeedLove sells wallpapers and samples of wallpapers. However, many customers complained about the difficulty of buying samples in their chat. Below you can notice how the difficulty to purchase samples is a recurring issue among clients.

PS: Analyzing chat transcripts also allows you to spot any website bugs or issues and try to fix them as soon as possible.

Research Tactic #4 – Surveys

Surveys are a research method where you combine qualitative and quantitative approaches. Check if the pains and gains discovered during the interviews apply to a larger sample and get more quantitative data to find trends and test the statistical validity of specific insights.

By asking open-ended questions, you can understand people’s extensive opinions.

In contrast, questions like “On a scale from 1-5, how satisfied were you with the customer experience?” offer you quantitative data. 

Another way to turn qualitative answers into quantitative data is to assign variables to specific categories of responses.Programs like TypeformSurvey Monkey, and Hotjar have simplified the process and improved the UX for surveys, helping you create a beautiful experience for the customers. This way, you can increase your surveys’ response rate and use the data to perform descriptive statistics and regression analysis.

Research Tactic #5 – Website Surveys

Use Hotjar to set surveys polls, build heatmaps, and get more insight into how customers navigate your website. 

To survey a specific audience, use Hotjar combined with Google Tag Manager. For example, you could target new or returning visitors or customers from particular countries. Additionally, it’s insightful to display surveys to different audiences based on what they did on the website (subscribed to the newsletter, started a freemium, etc.).

Use a ‘3 question survey’ format to increase the response rate. Make sure to tailor questions in a way that uncovers specific pains and gains. To further encourage completion, consider offering discount coupons to your products/services, Amazon Gift Cards, or any other type of reward.

Research Tactic #6 – Email Surveys

Surveying clients through email requires a different approach. Remember, people on your email list have already interacted with your company. 

They are either former clients, people who want to stay updated about your offers, or just curious individuals. In all cases, they’re interested in what you have to offer. 

For them, you can use Typeform to build a more comprehensive and interactive survey that addresses one of your specific business needs. 

For example, try to find out more about your clients’ experience with a particular category of products focusing on pains, gains, and jobs to be done. The email surveys can be bigger than the ones from your website. Here too, you can come up with creative rewards to spur the customers towards completing the survey.

Research Tactic # 7 – Internal Website Search Bar

Having an internal search bar pays off in more ways than one. Not only does it help customers get to the desired part of your website, but it also helps you understand where the customer’s interests are. Such information can show you how to organize the content on the website.  

To track your internal search bar, begin by setting the proper parameters in Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics. That’s a topic for a different day, but if you need help with that now, you can always drop us an email, and we’ll rush to your assistance ASAP. 

For now, let’s take a look at how to access the most popular internal searches. First, go to your Google Analytics accounts, look for the ‘Behavior’ tab -> ‘Site Search’ –>’ Search Terms.’ This path will give you a list of the most searched words on the internal search bar.

Here is an example of how the searches are displayed. In this situation, you can see “wood,” “floral,” and “peel and stick” make the most popular searches. Perhaps a good idea here would be to make related products more easily accessible for visitors.

Research Tactic #8 – Google Analytics 

How do clients get to your website? The answer to this question can help you understand your customers’ primary needs (jobs to be done) and point out some areas your business can use as leverage. 

To find out, open Google Analytics and go to ‘Search Console’ –> ‘Queries.’ Make sure to select a time interval that can retrieve data that’s relevant enough.

What you’ll see next are all the leading search engine results that got the user to your website. 

In the example shared above, you can notice some non-branded results such as “removable wallpaper” and “temporary wallpaper,” which indicate the company should invest in those keywords because they bring traffic to the website. However, there are also branded keywords, such as the company’s name, which can tell you how sought after and well known the company is.

Short-tail keywords such as “wallpaper” and “fake wallpaper” are usually too broad to optimize for. However, you can get more insights from the long-tail keywords such as “best peel and stick wallpaper” and “floral peel and stick wallpaper” because they are more descriptive, and they can be used in the content creation strategy.

To understand the motivations behind those searches, you can also design interview/survey questions to provide additional insights.

Research Tactic #9 – Google Trends 

You can use Google Trends if you are looking to understand global trends and research how people’s search behavior unfolds historically. This tool is useful if you are interested in topics that have a high search volume. What’s more, it can help you correlate different events, for example, progress in the COVID-19 vaccine development, with the search trends in various countries.

However, for more niche topics, using more specialized tools is recommended.

For example, Google Keywords Planner and SemRush can help you get a feel for your audience’s awareness level and find out more about how users look for your product or service. This is relevant because those keywords represent how your clients express their pains, gains, and jobs to be done. 

Plus, you can also use them to discover other markets where people share similar interests and your product could succeed.

Research Tactic #10 – Keyword Research Tools 

Google Keyword Planner is a strong yet limited tool. While it provides information on keyword popularity, which is strongly related to your customer’s value and how they express themselves, its power stops there. 

The tool can be useful for your search campaigns, to compare your keywords’ popularity across different areas, or get a brief recommendation on what other keywords you could add to your campaign. 

However, if you’re looking to get an idea about pains, gains, and jobs to be done, you’ll have to dig deeper to see if it applies to your customers. 

There are two relevant customer profiling options in Google’s Keyword Planner – Discover new keywords or Get search volume and forecasts. We’ll focus today on discovering new keywords. The second option is mostly used for planning your ad budget – a more in-depth story that we will address in a separate article soon.

Discovering New Keywords Through Google Keyword Planner 

After typing your main keyword (feel free to add more), selecting your language and location, it’s good to use your domain as a filter so that you get recommendations according to your website’s content.

Your keywords will then be displayed, along with their average monthly searches and competition (in regards to google ads). You can also use this tool to see how much a bid on a certain keyword would cost you.

SemRush – the Go-To Tools

When it comes to research purposes and content planning, Semrush is your #1 go-to tool.  

Here are two ways in which you can use SemRush for completing your customer profile. (Naturally, Semrush is useful in many more different ways, but for this topic’s purpose, we’re sticking to customer profiling, hence seeing what people are interested in).

Topic research

With this tool, you can start from one keyword that you know is relevant to your audience and see all the other topics your customers are interested in. Let’s see what it can do when we try out “google tag manager,” for instance:

Various topic categories emerge along with essential Headlines and Questions related to our main topic.

With this information in your hand, creating customer profiles and developing custom content for all your audiences is easy as pie. 

Keyword Magic Tool

This tool must come straight out of Hogwarts because it sure is magical!

Why are we so ecstatic about it? For one, it helps you group people’s interests under the form of keywords based on different aspects.

Furthermore, it hands you dozens of other related searches to your main keyword and provides insights on volumes, trends, and even CPCs.

But what’s this got to do with customer profiling, you ask reluctantly? Everything, young padawan. This tool basically hands you everything you need to know about how your customers talk and the language they use to solve their problems and accomplish their needs.

Conclusion

Well, that’s it on our side! The ball’s in your court now. While some of these tactics can be used straight away, others require a bit more planification. We suggest you get the ball rolling by checking out some online reviews, talking to your customer support team, or analyzing chat transcripts. All these should give you an easy win and help keep you motivated throughout the entire process. 

Keeping an eye out for what your customers say is a crucial aspect of knowing how they perceive your brand and products. 

While there’s n secret recipe to a successful marketing strategy, identifying the Voice of your Customer helps your business on so many different levels. 

Good luck on your endeavour, and make sure to drop any additional research methodology questions in the comment box below!

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