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Why underinvesting in qualitative research and not talking to customers can be damaging [Mistake 2/7]

Analytics data is ubiquitous, everyone has Google Analytics or something similar, and because of this, people tend to over rely on this source of data.

Don’t get us wrong, analytics data is vital to conversion optimisation, and gives you a revealing picture about the behaviour of your website visitors, that is what they do, where they come from, what they click on, where they drop-off and so on. However, it won’t and can’t tell you about your visitors’ experience, what is going on in their minds, why they dropped off at a certain point in their journey.

To do that you actually need to speak to users, as well as those people in your business that speak to them.

Johann at Thompson and Morgan

This picture shows our COO, Johann, speaking to a nurseryman at Thompson & Morgan, one of our clients.

Johann had discovered that the number one anxiety for customers, was whether the plant they would receive would match the picture on the site. The man in the photo above was explaining the quality assessment process at T&M, after which Johann spent a few hours in the warehouse observing it in action. This meant we fully understood the process, which then enabled us to counter that anxiety on the page by outlining the 7-step health check carried out before a plant was sent to a customer.  


How else can you perform user research?

There are many ways you can perform user research, from sending out email surveys to customers and non-customers, to setting up exit surveys, using panel-based usability testing, or even recruiting users from your own website to become your usability testers.

We use a tool called Ethnio, that serves a pop-up to ask visitors whether, in exchange for a small incentive, they would be interested in doing live research. If they are, and meet our qualification requirements (see examples below), we jump on a call with them immediately, start sharing screens to see how they’re using the site and ask them to vocalise their thoughts as they go through their decision-making process.

Examples of qualifying questions:

  • What is the purpose of your visit? (We may want to focus our research on those who show intent to buy, rather than casual browsers)
  • How old is your youngest child? (A question we used to filter in mothers of young children, the target market of one of our clients.)
  • Are you available for a 20-minute phone call right now? (It’s live research, so there’s no point dealing with users who aren’t available!)

Getting into the head of website visitors using the approach mentioned above can give you a really clear picture of their thought processes, on which you can build a strong hypothesis to test.


But what if you have Hotjar on your website?

We often ask people if they are doing conversion optimisation, and too many times we have heard the answer ‘yeah, we’ve got Hotjar’.

Having Hotjar or any other of these voice of customers tools is a good starting point, but you have to actually use it.

The most remarkable thing happens when you ask your users questions about their behaviour, you uncover insights that you could never come up with in a team brainstorm. Things that actually matter. Once you have this insight, it’s then up to you to act on it.


Interested in reading more?

This is mistake number two in a series of seven posts, outlining the mistakes that almost everyone makes in conversion optimisation. Keep an eye out for the remaining five mistakes over the next few months.

Here’s post #1: Why you shouldn’t obsess over page layout without understanding your customers’ buying journey

Now you’ve learnt why not talking to your customers could be damaging to your CRO programme, you’ll want to find out how a focus on three power metrics can double your CRO success. Read our ebook below to find out more. 

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