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Turning Customer Feedback into Actionable Insights

Samantha Owyang

Everyone is familiar with surveys asking you to “share your feedback!” or “answer this quick question about your experience!” 

How do you respond to those pop-ups? And do other frustrated customers take the time to type out angry responses on their keyboards? 

The response rates for online surveys vary widely depending on the survey content, audience, format, and incentives. For customer satisfaction surveys and market research surveys, response rates range from 10% - 30%.1

This response rate is interesting but more importantly, as researchers, how do we leverage the qualitative data we do receive? 

Qualitative data can give great insights into understanding issues customers are facing with a website or product. We can capture and learn about their feelings and opinions. But that's not all we can do with it.

We have learned that one of the best ways to maximize data full of qualitative customer feedback is to use it to inform quantitative analysis. Our process of combining customer feedback and quantitative analysis has led us to collect tons of actionable insights that have informed product development, website structure, technical improvements, and page redesigns. Now here is how we do that:

1. Explore and compile customer feedback

As a researcher combing through customer comments, the task may feel tedious or the content may feel difficult to analyze; however, the best strategy for tackling a jumble of comments is to sort through it and look for patterns. 

Start by categorizing the feedback into broad categories.

For example: technical issues, product satisfaction, check-out experience, customer service, etc.

Then categorize the comments by sentiment. What do your customers feel you are doing right? What is going wrong? The treasure trove of insights will come from those negative comments. These will be the areas to improve upon and the issues to look into further. 

No doubt you will come across some angry customers that couldn’t get your website to work or people upset about the quality of the product they received. You might easily dismiss these as problems you can’t fix. That may be true in some cases. Some comments will simply be unproductive. The key is to focus on what the core of the issue might be.

The goal is to pull out the big issues, frequent complaints, and technical difficulties that we can replicate or look into using other analytics tools.

2. Research the issue with your analytics tools

The next step is to use your analytics tools to try to find examples of the problems customers are writing about. Once you have flagged common issues or technical complaints, you can find out how many people the issue is affecting.

Some examples: 

  • How many people are being taken to error pages? 
  • How often are customers searching for support information and coming up empty? 
  • On which pages are customers dead clicking or rage clicking because of a frustrating UX design?

Customer comments can help guide us to these topics and be a source of inspiration for areas we can improve upon. It can also be a method for discovering technical issues. If 20 people from this week’s customer survey results mentioned errors with checkout, we can assume there is a widespread issue we need to look into.

At CXperts, we often use digital experience analytics or session replay software to further explore the problems customers mention. If a customer says, “my coupon code didn’t work and I wasn’t able to get the sale,” then we look at what error messages customers are receiving on the cart page and figure out if it was simply a problem of coupon expiration or if there is something wrong with the website.

3. Streamline your process

Okay great, use customer feedback to inform your quantitative analysis, sounds simple enough. But how can we make this process even more efficient?

One thing to look into is how you can integrate your qualitative and quantitative tools. If you can pass your session replay tool into the customer survey service that you are using, you have an immediate link between customer comments and their true experiences on your website. 

For example: A customer writes, “the page kept glitching so I gave up on trying to shop.” If the session link is already saved in your customer feedback documentation, you can go in and watch exactly what they experienced on your site. Hopefully you can see the exact problem they are writing about. This means you won’t have to go to the website yourself to try to replicate the problem they are describing, which can save big chunks of time. 

Integrating the services you use for your research and analysis can streamline your process.

While customer feedback can result in actionable insights, you won’t always find a huge quantitative impact from qualitative feedback. Some issues are rare and some issues may not be in your power to change. Sometimes analytics tools will also fail to capture all audiences. 

Just remember that these are customers who were engaged enough to leave a comment on your site or were frustrated enough to voice the issue. They want you to fix it, so take them seriously. They just might be a really great source of inspiration. If anything, customer feedback can be a starting point for triaging the different issues your users are facing.

If you would like to learn more about how to efficiently use customer feedback to improve your digital experiences, or simply don’t have the time to handle it all on your own, send us a note! We’re happy to help.