Learning from Your Customers --or Future Customers

Cost Effective and Easy-to-Use Research Tools

The value of direct, honest feedback cannot be understated. When you're spending so much time on your site and product, it's easy to take some aspects of the customer experience for granted, such as making slight tweaks to button placement, or even what shipping or fulfillment method you use. What might seem like a good idea, or even an operational advantage to your team, may be a hindrance to your end user.

This is why every nuance of the customer experience counts. From opening your app or landing on your homepage, to a completion of use or delivery of your product, every customer has their own perspective to share. Here are some cost effective and customizable ways to acquire and manage this valuable customer feedback.

In-Person Interviews

Perhaps the single most effective way to know your customers is to, well, know them. There is no substitute for person to person engagement, as it gives you a chance to keep a fluid and curious dialogue while discussing your product. One on one engagement is even more important if you're pre-proof of concept.

This is a great opportunity for you to observe firsthand the way users interact with your site and any new designs you may be testing. For instance, watching how they navigate through a new order placement flow can illuminate aspects of the customer experience you never even considered.

Most companies offer a gift certificate to their customers for the interview, as well as the requisite coffee or tea. Go sit at a local coffee shop for an afternoon, and don't be shy about asking others for their opinion. It's a great way to reach people with a fresh perspective.

Google Forms

Easy to use, share, and analyze, Google Forms aren't the fanciest seeming polls, but they more than get the job done. Best of all, they're completely free.

Google Forms

Google Forms allow virtually full customization of your survey format and content, including a wide variety of question types. Perhaps even more conveniently, you'll receive automated graphs and charts of your customer feedback and data, giving you a keener, more varied look at the entire cross-section of their experience.

This option isn't the best if you're looking for anything more than basic logic on a survey, but it's a great (and easy to use) straightforward option.

Use Twitter Polls to learn from your customers

Twitter Polls

For an even quicker way to survey your customers, Twitter Polls allow you to launch a poll that stays live for 24 hours, after which it publicly shares the poll results on your feed.

However, due to their brief and unpredictable nature, these polls are most useful when thought of as customer flash polls or snapshots. The fact that Twitter limits pollsters to only 4 answer options is another example of its scientific limitations.

Bonus feature: Twitter Polls are totally free.

Survey Monkey

The most robust and highly reputable polling service on this list, Survey Monkey, has long helped companies of varied industries learn more about their customers. There are plenty of competitors out there, but Survey Monkey is really the gold standard in affordable-yet-robust research tools.

Use Survey Monkey learn from your customers

Appropriately, Survey Monkey itself is a great example of a company that listened to their customers and responded with wisdom and gusto. The result? An incredibly user-friendly, detailed service for businesses of any size.

For smaller companies conducting simple questionnaires, Survey Monkey allows you to have up to 10 questions for free. If you're looking for a more complete polling experience with a suite of perks, there are options ranging from $25 to $85 a month. Those packages include 24/7 customer support, unlimited questions, full survey design customization, exportable and cross-tabbed data, statistical significance and analysis, and much more.

To learn more about how we approach research with our clients through the kohactive Research Sprint.

Think you need some help with startup research, proving your business model, or customer research? Reach out…we'd be happy to help.