A good user experience is invaluable for the success of your product. It allows customers to engage with the product easily and achieve their desired outcome — and maybe tell their friends about it. On the other hand, poor UX creates frustration, leading to customer churn and a lack of growth for your product.
Many product teams don’t have a dedicated UX resource to lean on. As a result, they often turn to analytics to try and understand customer behavior. Sure, analytics is helpful for broadly understanding trends and identifying areas of poor performance. But it doesn’t give you insights into why customers do what they do. That said, you can’t rely on analytics alone to determine what needs to change.
To truly understand your customers and design a product they want to use, you need to get inside their heads and see your product from their perspective. In other words, you need to harness customer empathy. Luckily, there are several low-effort ways to continually gather customer feedback and gain insights into their needs and motivations.
Advantages of Routinely Garnering Customer Feedback
As your product evolves, ideas on what feature to design next do too. But just like any busy product team, keeping your customer’s needs central to those design ideas can easily fall by the wayside.
As a result, the disconnect between what you’re prioritizing and how the customer experiences it deepens. The aftermath? Discord amongst cross-functional teams, high churn rates, poor engagement metrics, and low conversions.
When your product metrics are suffering, and there’s friction in the product design process, it’s time to integrate light-lift customer research methods. And there are more benefits to doing so than creating a better experience.
Regularly diving into customer feedback:
- Reduces the risk of wasting time and money designing and building a product that customers don’t want.
- Removes usability friction and brightens a customer’s experience with the product.
- Aligns cross-functional teams by validating or invalidating assumptions.
Think of incorporating these low-effort methods as a form of maintenance. The more insights you integrate into your product’s evolving design, the more gains you’ll see sooner. Less time will be spent designing and building features that don’t resonate, and more energy will be infused into features and experiences that will.
1. Use Guerrilla Usability Testing for Quick Customer Feedback
What’s the speediest way to get someone’s opinion? Walk up and ask them. Guerrilla usability testing follows the same concept. Go somewhere and ask people for feedback on your design ideas. While this testing method does require some setup and preparation, it’s less time intensive than other usability testing methods and is an excellent way to validate or invalidate early assumptions.
Unlike moderated usability testing that explores complex user flows, guerilla usability tests focus on narrow moments within those complex journeys. They’re excellent for validating the effectiveness of your designs. For example, you might want to:
- See how a customer completes a simple task
- Learn how a customer retrieves information
- Understand how a customer interprets messaging
There are many ways you can conduct a guerrilla usability test. For example, you could go to a busy coffee shop where you can ask people if they have a few minutes to give feedback on design explorations. Then, show them two different mock-ups for a product detail page where the price, product imagery, and description differ. Which one do they prefer and why? What’s the most critical piece of information for them to feel confident about making a purchase?
You can also use guerilla testing to gauge usability friction by asking people to complete discrete tasks. For example, you might ask them to add a product to their cart or complete an onboarding personalization quiz. Remember, a successful test’s output relies on establishing your testing goals before you start.
2. Send Surveys at Key Customer Journey Moments
How customers engage with your product isn’t the same today as when they first created their account. Their needs, perspectives, and motivations have changed over time. Likewise, how a new customer views your product will be very different from that of a long-time loyalist.
Regularly sending surveys to both types of customers, the newbie and the long-time loyalist, gives you an important peek into how a customer’s product journey evolves. The benefits of understanding this evolution include guiding product decisions for new feature design and receiving ongoing feedback on feature usage.
In your survey, you can ask questions about current customer behavior to inform future feature design:
- Did you use any other postpartum health-focused apps for tracking your health?
- Do you use other apps or tools to help you grocery shop for vegetarian items?
Or, gather feedback on existing features and functionality:
- How could the app be improved to best meet your needs?
- Tell us 1 or 2 ways the app has been most helpful to you.
Not only is it essential to send out these surveys intermittently to gauge how customer perspectives are shifting. It’s also necessary to send them at key moments within their journey. For example, send surveys to customers who upgraded to a premium version of your service or subscribers who have received a certain number of boxes.
Insights from these surveys align teams on current customer behavior (i.e., See? No one uses that feature!) Plus, they provide a glimpse into a customer’s potential interest in new features before the team wastes time designing and building the wrong user experience.
3. Get Customer Usage Insights in Real Time With Feedback Forms
While guerilla usability testing and sending surveys are valuable for building customer empathy and validating assumptions, there’s one thing they can’t do: Capture feedback as the customer is actively using the product.
When you want a customer’s opinion as they are swiping, clicking, or scrolling through your product in real-time, you need a way to collect that feedback. That’s where real-time feedback collection comes in.
Depending on your goals, you can either capture feedback passively or actively. Capturing passive feedback is easy! Add a form to the page you want feedback on and let customers know you want to hear what they think. If you are looking for more targeted feedback, you can actively ask the customer for their opinion after completing a specific task.
Real-time feedback forms are great for gathering customers’ impressions about recently released features. Customers typically provide feedback not captured in usability testing, from UI friction to feature enhancements; their opinions will help build customer empathy amongst your team.
4. Watch Real User Sessions to Build Customer Empathy
User session recordings are powerful because they show users interacting with your product. By tracking user behavior through software like HotJar or FullStory, you can watch when moments of confusion or frustration crop up.
True, it’s painful to watch customers struggle with your product. But if you know from analytics that a certain point in your UX is tripping customers up, watching user session recordings can help you explore why. Sharing these recordings with your teams is one of the fastest ways to build customer empathy because you’re watching people struggle with your product alongside them.
Once your team has formed a hypothesis about the UX friction and sketched out a new design solution, you can use guerilla usability testing to test your assumptions and refine the design.
When Customer Insights Turn Into Bigger Design Research Conundrums
It’s likely that at some point, while conducting these low-effort research methods, insights will emerge that require a deeper research study to help the team understand new areas of product or service opportunity.
That’s when involving an expert (like us) can help.
By adding us to your team, you can expect to understand your product from your customer’s perspective. This perspective drives smart decision-making, which leads to a better product because the user experience solutions are rooted in customer insights
When you’ve exhausted your lighter lift methods of gathering customer feedback and are ready for extensive exploration, consider adding us to your team.