Most brands have begun to realize that customer feedback is essential for business growth. It unlocks new potential in product development, customer service, marketing, and more. And while a minority of customers are happy to shout from the rooftops about their experience—perhaps even becoming brand advocates—the vast majority are silent.
So the question becomes: How can we get insights from the 80% of customers who won’t proactively share their experience? It’s entirely possible that the way most customers use or perceive your product, or the reason most customers buy from you and not a competitor, doesn’t align with the loudest 20%.
Unlocking their perspective will help brands create more specific offers and more satisfying customer experiences.Do you know how the silent majority of your customers feel? Really? How can you tell? Click To Tweet
Identifying non-vocal customers
Non-vocal customers are those who do not actively share their opinions, feedback, or experiences with a company. This doesn’t mean they’re unhappy—many of us can adore a product without leaving a review or posting about it on social media.
The non-vocal perspective is important because it represents the majority of any company’s customer base. Having a better understanding of their preferences can lead to higher success in multiple areas of the business. But of course, they’re called the silent majority for a reason—how do we reach them and gather this crucial data?
Collecting behavioral data
If the customer won’t be proactive, then we need to do it for them. There are various proven methods for gathering data on non-vocal customers. Each method contains a different piece of the puzzle, and combined they give you a detailed understanding of your customers.
For any business that sells products or services online, website analytics is crucial. With the right expertise to interpret the results, analytics paint a compelling picture of customer activity.
Metrics like page views, bounce rates, time spent on pages, and navigation patterns can describe the typical on-site customer journey. Augmented with heat and scroll maps, we can literally see the decisions customers are making. For example, they might land on your product page, scroll to the description, click add to cart, go to checkout… then leave.
We’ve learned that something is broken between adding to cart and arriving at checkout. It might be:
- Slow loading time
- High shipping fees
- Unexpected costs
- Lack of payment methods
Or, it could be one of any number of other options, including common website bugs. Analytics can only give you the what—you need to hypothesize and test to figure out the why. Then you can optimize accordingly.
→ If you offer a software product, you can use analytics in the exact same way:
- Are there great features that never get used?
- Do customers use your free trial and not convert to paid?
- How long do customers typically use your product?
- Are they doing what you expect them to do?
By definition, our non-vocal customers won’t volunteer feedback or reviews. But with the right incentive, many will respond to a survey. This is your chance to dive deep into your customer base, so make sure you professionally design your survey to maximize its value.
Ask a combination of yes/no and open-ended questions. Where possible, you want the customer describing their experience in their own words, with only prompts from your end. The result will be a fantastic collection of opinions and perspectives which you can leverage to transform the customer experience.
Check out our customer survey templates to get started!
Choose an incentive based on your customer knowledge. Whether it’s entry into a prize draw, a discount code, a perk unique to your product, choose something genuinely attractive and valuable—the data you receive in return will more than compensate.
Customer service interactions
Even non-vocal customers have problems that require customer support. By analyzing data from those interactions (in the form of email transcripts, chat logs, support tickets and call recordings) you can gain vast insights into the needs and preferences of your customers.
This information helps you uncover common issues, concerns, or questions. By acting on these issues and addressing the questions, brands can improve the overall customer experience.
When collecting data using these methods, it is crucial for companies to adhere to ethical and legal guidelines to protect user privacy. It is likely that this approach will become less viable with time. However, use any data you can safely get your hands on—complaints and queries make for extremely powerful feedback!
How to use insights for maximum impact
The better you know your customers, the better you can serve them. Let’s look at a few powerful ways to use your newfound customer understanding to improve their experience and your success.
Optimizing your product or service
This is the most simple and, more often than not, the most powerful tactic. When customers share a pain point, you can address it. When surveys show that an expected feature is not available, you can build it. When a common complaint is that your product arrived in damaged packaging, you can work with your courier to fix that.
Honest feedback is your chance to radically improve your entire offering for current and future customers. It’s not flashy, but it is extremely effective. By tapping into your non-vocal majority, you’re building a better business that will appeal to the vast majority of your ideal audience.
High conversion marketing
One of the big challenges in marketing is understanding the customer well enough. You need to anticipate their needs, objections, pain points, and desires. You need to know how aware they are of your product or service and how to move them through the funnel to a sale. You need the specific language used by customers to describe your product and its use cases.
Well, now you have all of that data.
This doesn’t help you create ultra-targeted campaigns, per se, but it helps you fundamentally improve the effectiveness of your marketing. You can make websites, ads, and emails more impactful because you know the exact transformation your customer needs to experience.
One of the keys to understanding your customers was using surveys and metrics to extract insights. Once you start making changes, it’s crucial to keep using these methods to understand whether your changes are working:
- Surveys—Use surveys to measure customer satisfaction and NPS, as well as asking specific questions about user experience. Compare the results to previous surveys.
- Metrics—Based on the specific changes made, you might monitor customer retention, average order value, CTR, or another metric. Choose metrics which tell the most relevant story—if you’re optimizing the website for sales, don’t worry too much about long-term retention at this point, but focus on annual order value and conversion rate.
By regularly monitoring and assessing the outcomes of these strategies, businesses can identify areas for further improvement, iterate on their approach, and continue to refine the customer experience.
It is crucial to keep encouraging online reviews, testimonials and product feedback. Visible feedback like this is important for a number of reasons. But it’s comforting to know that your other customers—the ones that don’t volunteer reviews or social media posts—can still contribute massively to your growth.
Web analytics, surveys and monitoring customer service interactions are extremely powerful. They tell the full story of your customer experience and allow you to fundamentally improve your service or product offering.
Ready to shine light on unseen feedback? We are experts in building surveys and connecting the dots to leave you with truly meaningful and value-adding insights. Reach out to our team and let’s start transforming your business—one silent customer at a time!