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Where to find free, honest customer insights

By Cindy Dang, Digital PR Specialist, Supple

Successful businesses know what customers want.

They identify their customers’ problems and develop solutions accordingly – sounds easy, right?

Finding out what your customers really want is easy (and cheap), if you know where to look.

SEO agency, Supple demonstrates how you can use the information already at your disposal to gain free and honest customer insights.

  1. Chat transcripts

Aside from being an essential business tool, chat transcripts are a goldmine of free customer insights.

Xeno suggests analysing your chat transcripts for clues about your customers – how to retain them and what solutions they’re looking for.

If you don’t already have a chat widget installed on your website, download this free live chat widget tool to create one.

  1. Ask your point of sales and customer service employees

Your front-line employees are the first point of contact for customers, making them a valuable source of customer insights.

In their 2016 report, the University of Cambridge asserted that front-line employees are perfectly positioned to provide feedback about the organisation’s service provision, both in terms of their own views on the customer-service interaction, and their perceptions of the customers’ views on that interaction.

Front-line employees know what questions customers are asking and how many times they’re asking them.

However, this information will be lost if there isn’t a way to record it. For example, with their customers’ knowledge and permission, big corporations record the calls between their front-line employees and customers for quality and training purposes.

This isn’t something that would be economical for a smaller business, but you can achieve a similar result by getting your front-line staff to take down questions and comments frequently made by your customers and reporting their findings to you.

  1. Check social media comments

If you really want to know what your customers and prospective purchasers think of your business, products, service, or even your competitors, check the comments on social media.

The Internet has given customers the platform and confidence to freely express themselves online.

Equipped with the knowledge that their comments on social media have the same power as direct word-of-mouth, customers don’t hold back when it comes to expressing their thoughts and opinions.

  1. Online reviews and forums

Just like social media comments, online reviews and forums can provide valuable insight into what your potential or existing customers want.

Online reviews and forums are public and available to everyone, so if you’re interested in finding out what your potential customers are looking for in a product or service – start scouring!

Observe the questions asked and statements made by prospective customers because they can be very telling.

For example, they might give clues about make or break factors in their purchase decisions, how you compare to your competitors and any needs that are not met by the products or services currently available.

  1. Keyword tools

Customers seeking specific answers or solutions will use specific words to prompt an answer from Google.

These words are known as keywords, and you can use keyword research tools such as Google’s Keyword Planner or Ahref’s Keyword Explorer to help you understand what customers want or are searching for.

  1. Surveys

If you’ve exhausted all the options above, and you’re confident you’ll be able to get enough respondents, surveys are a great source of valuable customer insight.

Surveys seem straightforward enough but writing them… that’s a whole other skill in itself!

If you want honest insight, the way you phrase the questions must be completely neutral, so your respondents aren’t providing answers they think YOU want to see as opposed to what they really think and feel.

The questions included in the survey should also cover areas that you want to obtain your customers’ feedback on.

Think of your questions as a fishing net. The bigger the net and the area it covers, the greater the yield.

What do you think?

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Cindy Dang

Cindy Dang

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