“When a customer complains, he is doing you a special favor; he is giving you another chance to serve him to his satisfaction”
To meet customer expectations and to provide an excellent customer experience inclines the correlation of greater customer satisfaction, retention, and customer lifetime value.
Meeting customer expectations is the only tool to bring business value. Understanding what your customer really wants, not just what you think, or even what they say, they want is a longer process of trial and error.
So, how to know your customer’s satisfaction level or gauge Customer Expectations?
Everyone has their preferred research methodology, and different methods work at different stages and for different purposes.
At the beginning stages of a startup, for instance, you may not have an excess of quantitative user data. So instead of running thousands of tests, you can simply dial your customer and talk.
Big companies can get away with quicker research cycles and can get insights back very quickly from simply setting tons of experiments live.
Whatever the differences in methodologies, it usually comes down to a simple and common way of looking at things Customer needs should be treated like a research project.
So instead of guessing what customer wants start gathering the data? After capturing the data start formulating hypothesis and test it. This can be much more certain of customer experience as well as the quantitative results achieved by changing aspects of customer experience
3 simple ways to gauge
The first step is to gather data points. We need information with which we can make preliminary hypotheses on user behavior and customer expectations.
What data is available that hints at what your customers are looking for from the product? As I mentioned, it will depend on the stage of your company as well as the type of product you offer. But all companies can collect some sort of qualitative data as well as some sort of quantitative behavioral data. And every company should combine the two to get better insights on user intentions.
First, look for qualitative data from your users. On the surface, this question of what users want seems straightforward so just ask them.
There are many ways to do this:
- Phone interview
- In-person interview
- Focus group
- In-app or on-site survey tool
- Email survey
- Third party review sites
- Social media monitoring
- User testing
- Session replays
Basically you have to take advantage of anywhere you can collect direct feedback from existing customers or prospects, or where you can get it indirectly from other departments or passive collection sources.
While qualitative feedback is valuable, behavioral science teaches us that behavior often differs from stated preferences or intentions. To learn what that behavior is, you’ll need to pull some quantitative data, too.
Ask yourself: What are your customers, or people like them, actually doing?
Start with analytics, both in your product and your digital marketing assets with the following questions:
- What features are people gravitating to?
- What are your top users utilizing the most?
- What have A/B tests shown?
- Which CTBs and value propositions drive the most activity?
- What type of questions are prospects asking on Google?
- What similar products are they using to solve their problems?
Collect as many data points as you can to get an idea of the landscape of prospect and customer behavior.
- Form Hypotheses
Now with available qualitative and quantitative data in hand, you can combine the two and start formulating hypotheses.
Given what users are telling you and what they are doing in your product what seems to be resonating and leading them to success with your product?
Which communications are they engaging with?
Which features do happy users tend to utilize most?
Use all those takeaways to form some hypotheses on what’s driving success for your customers. You have enough input to formulate a hypothesis of what’s working that you can put to the test. Form as many as you’d like given what your research has found, but be sure to prioritize them by their estimated impact on the business, as well as the ease of implementing new solutions.
- Test and Verify Your Hypotheses
After all this now, it’s time to put those hypotheses to the test.
what’s the most efficient and significant way you can evaluate your customer success options?
Whenever possible, you should run an A/B test, as it will give the clearest indicator of what works and doesn’t.
If it’s something new, like a product feature or method of communication, you can simply see if it works at all. If you don’t have the time or resources to run a formal test, get prototypes in front of actual people to get real feedback. The goal here is to validate or invalidate your hypothesis using the least expensive methods.
In the case of customer experience and on boarding, perhaps you discover that users simply don’t understand the value of your product. They need more education, and it needs to be in a format that is scalable to your business.
Now, with this insight in mind, you have many options for solving this problem.
For high-value accounts, you could assign a dedicated customer success manager to personalize their onboarding and teach them how to get value out of the product. You could set up an automated onboarding sequence using dummy data to get them to see the value of your product immediately. You could build out a knowledge base that includes an academy feature to train them in a new methodology.
There’s never a quick and easy answer to the possible solution, but if you have the data as to what’s potentially wrong as well as some insights on how to fix it, you can test out solutions until you reach an optimal solution. Whatever you choose, get real-world input on whether your hypothesis is valid or not.
As you run more tests, get more data, and receive more feedback, you’ll continue learning new things and find shifting priorities of your customers. It’s iterative.
To adapt and optimize, you must always be researching and testing.
“ No matter how good your feedback is, you always start over with the next customer”
stay tuned for more on customer experience methods