4 Ways to Perform Low-Cost Customer Research That Will Inform Your Website Redesign 4 Ways to Perform Low-Cost Customer Research That Will Inform Your Website Redesign

4 Ways to Perform Low-Cost Customer Research That Will Inform Your Website Redesign

Analytics, Customer Research

If you’re thinking about redesigning a website, deep customer understanding is essential. A website is guaranteed to have more success if it helps customers find the information they seek and complete the tasks they came to perform. To gather these insights, market research is a necessity. Customer research doesn’t have to be expensive either. Below are some low-cost customer research methods we often use to inform the website strategy, personas, customer journeys and experience design for a new site.

1) Site Search

Site search is an underutilized resource that enables you to gain customer insights quickly just by accessing the website’s Google Analytics account. Site search queries indicate the key tasks and activities a customer comes to a site to perform, thereby, informing site navigation and hierarchy. Site search terms also help you understand what information a customer is seeking, which can identify content gaps or desired features. Not only do site search terms help you understand why customers came to your site in the first place, but they are fuel for future blog posts and content marketing efforts.

2) Call Center Visit

There is no better way to build customer empathy than to sit with call center agents for a few hours. You are guaranteed to experience the highs and lows of the customer’s journey when you listen in on support calls. We typically seek to accentuate the brand highs in a new web experience while mitigating the lows with improved content, features or technologies. While listening to calls offers you direct customer input, interviewing customer service reps and call center agents in between calls can help fill in knowledge gaps and provide additional customer insights from these boots-on-the-ground teammates.

3) Chat Logs

If your site already has live chat, these sessions are generally logged and can be helpful tools to build customer understanding. Chat sessions themselves are qualitative artifacts but they can be mined and quantified to gain unique insights. One easy, fun and free way to visualize this information is to paste chat data into a word cloud generator. Top keywords will visually separate from the mass of text to reveal key topics customers are trying to understand and issues they are looking to resolve.

4) On-Site Surveys

Surveys are generally more successful if they are easy to complete and are relevant to users on the site. One to three question surveys can establish benchmarks or quickly fill in key knowledge gaps about our customers. The one survey question I love to include is, “Were you able to find the information you were looking for today?” This question establishes a site’s task completion rate and serves as a benchmark for how well the site functions before and after the redesign. Enabling open-ended feedback for users who reply ‘no’ to the question invites customers to share feedback on how the site could better meet their needs. Qualaroo is one cost-effective survey tool that is great for short, on-site surveys and it can be launched quickly.

Feedback and data from site search, call center visits, chat logs and on-site surveys are quick and easy methods of customer research that can be used to develop insights and strategies for a new website. These approaches are often included in our research process because the teams, tools and data are readily available; they just need to be harnessed.

Developing research-based customer definition is important, but it’s just one facet of an overall website redesign. If you’re thinking about a new site, check out our guide outlining 10 Questions to Ask Before Redesigning Your Website.

3 Digital Experience Trends to Watch in 2019 3 Digital Experience Trends to Watch in 2019

3 Digital Experience Trends to Watch in 2019

Design, Marketing Technology, Personalization, SEO

Brand marketing is in the midst of rapid innovation, which is both exciting and challenging to navigate. An evolving digital landscape requires marketers to continually analyze and plan for the future, while being nimble and agile enough to adjust quickly in an ever-changing environment. 2019 will be no exception.

I’ve identified three key trends that will be at the forefront of the digital experience evolution in the New Year. These experiences will change the way we interact with social media, websites, mobile apps, and smart devices, both personally and professionally, in the year to come.

1) Data-Informed Design

Designing digital experiences today is a delicate blend of art and science. Striking a balance between the two is tricky, and I don’t envy the designers who are tasked with harmonizing the pragmatic with the aesthetically pleasing. As we move toward a world in which everything is measurable, designers must seek out data and insights to inform their work.

Some effective forms of data collection include:

  • Web, social and email analytics
  • Click, heat and scroll maps
  • Recorded user sessions
  • Funnel analysis
  • A/B testing and site optimization techniques
  • User testing
  • First click and five second tests

The avenues used to collect user insights are numerous. These tools are becoming more affordable and easier for marketers to implement, as illustrated by HotJar’s explosive growth. At CQL, we gather data and insights regularly through a variety of the techniques above to inform our experience design and strategy projects.

2) Bringing Humanity Back into Digital Experiences

This might seem to contradict the previous trend, but at the end of the day we’re designing experiences for people, not robots, and consumers increasingly want to connect with brands on a genuine, emotional, and human level. Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant might not be as engaging if the voices on the other side of the devices felt cold and mechanical.

As digital experiences become more personal, they must also break out from the sea of similarity. When brands moved from desktop only to device responsive sites, a formulaic approach to scaling and stacking ensued. Marketing intelligence then enabled brands to optimize user experiences for conversion using the same design techniques. Today, businesses must look toward the next incarnation of their digital presence, which needs to connect with consumers and deliver a personalized experience.

Yeti, the lifestyle brand offering coolers, drinkware, and outdoor accessories, has designed a site that expertly elevates human experience without sacrificing performance. Visual storytelling through photography and dynamic language entice those seeking an active lifestyle. Images are original and brand-specific. Product information is augmented with action shots of the product being used ‘in the wild.’ Yeti does a fantastic job of building excitement for outdoor adventures and helping consumers imagine how Yeti products blend seamlessly into their life.

3) Redefining Search

Search technologies and experiences are entering a renaissance period. Text search has been the dominant approach to finding information for decades, but we are now entering an age where search is increasingly executed beyond the keyboard.

As consumers rapidly adopt connected cars, smart speakers, and other IoT devices, voice searches utilizing the digital assistants tied to these technologies are exploding. Some forecasts estimate voice search to make up 30-50% of all searches by 2020. Marketers must start considering how to optimize their experiences for voice search as natural language, digital assistant interactions and voice search results often differ from their text-only counterparts.

Visual search is another growing search trend marketers must plan for. Consumers may encounter a product of interest browsing social media feeds or find a work of art hanging on a restaurant wall that is perfect for their home. In these instances, visual search can power a shopping experience more efficiently than a text query.

Visual search tools from Google, Amazon, eBay and Snapchat are starting the shift how users find products and information. Google Lens, for example, now integrates visual search directly into the camera app, creating a new search touchpoint for users. Pinterest Lens enables searchers to “discover ideas inspired by anything you point your Pinterest camera at.” Just snap a picture and Pinterest will return remarkably-accurate pins of similar products or images. Pinterest has recently extended the Lens functionality to a Lens Your Look feature, which helps searchers find outfits inspired by something in their own wardrobe, including shoppable products from thousands of partners.

Voice and visual search will rapidly accelerate now that consumers are accustomed to adopting new technologies at an equally hurried pace. These growing search formats will require brands to create new content and metadata if they want to remain relevant.

Elevating digital experiences with data-informed, human-centered design and expanded search capabilities will help catapult brands in 2019 by delivering on rising customer expectations. While these shifts are an evolution, not a revolution, they can still make or break a business, in some industries, as adoption grows and new benchmarks are set. Either way, we’re entering an exciting moment in time as innovation surges at rapid pace.