What Your Customers Don’t Say (And How To Know Anyway)

Market Trends - March 28th, 2013 by Natalie Issa.

Customers tell us every day, every moment they use our products and websites, what they think about us. They tell us why they abandoned shopping carts, what they like and don’t like about our products, and how we can gain their business.

Behavioral Customer DataThey tell us all of this through their behavior. We often rely too heavily on what customers say with their words. Whether it’s a survey or a support ticket, what customers say is only half the story.

As online companies, we need to listen first and foremost to what our customers tell us with their time and money, not just their words. The truth is, behavioral data can often tell you what customers don’t say. The old adage “actions speak louder than words” holds true when it comes to your customers.

So what are your customers telling you? Let’s take a look.

Example 1: Why Do SaaS Free Trials Fail to Convert?

Many SaaS companies don’t know precisely why their free trial customers fail to convert. The really lucky ones get to actually ask the customer why they didn’t convert. But how conclusive is this feedback, really? While it’s certainly a clue as to what happened, there are often other unspoken considerations.

A common reason stated by customers for not converting is often that your pricing is too high. However, if you take a close look at their behavior during the trial, you’ll likely see another side to the story.

In this situation, it’s often the case that the customer didn’t use your product enough during the trial to see the value of it. So to them your pricing does seem high relative to the value they received.

Let’s take an example from a popular SaaS survey product that offers a 30-day free trial. Beyond the basic survey functionalities, this product is known for its advanced reporting tools that allow the user to truly get valuable and actionable insight from their research.

When free trial customers began telling the survey company that their pricing was too high, the company looked into the behavior of these users. They found that the majority of them had never taken advantage of the reporting tools and therefore failed to see the real value of the product.

Woopra Customer Activity

It’s not that their customers were hiding this from them. Rather, they simply didn’t realize what happened themselves. It’s your job as the vendor to monitor and analyze this customer behavior in order to create value for your customers and ultimately serve them better.

Quick Fix: Set up campaigns that highlight your key features during the trial period and make sure your sales team knows which trial customers have completed which milestones. In addition, find your major onboarding bottlenecks using funnel analysis and optimize those problem areas to help get customers on the right track.

Example 2: Why Do E-commerce Customers Abandon Carts?

Cart abandonment can be one of the most frustrating issues for an e-commerce company to deal with. You think, “If the customer liked the product enough to put it in their cart, what was it that made them change their mind?”. The answer to this question can often be found by taking a closer look at the behavior of these abandoning customers.

Recently, a fast growing apparel retailer suddenly noticed a large increase in their cart abandonment rate. To find out what was happening, they initially ran a survey on their website asking customers who closed the browser with items in their cart why they were abandoning. The responses ranged from “I didn’t really need the item” to “I’ll buy it later”. None of the responses indicated there was anything wrong with the website.

After a little digging, the online retailer noticed that the majority of the increased cart abandonments were occurring during checkout, meaning there was likely a problem with their checkout process.

And with a little more digging, the retailer discovered that the increased cart abandonments coincided with their decision to disable guest checkouts. They had disabled guest checkouts as they were aggressively trying to gather customer data for a new program they were launching.

With the help of their customer analytics, they concluded that many of these customers did in fact want to buy from them, they just didn’t want to create accounts.

Quick Fix: In the example above, the online retailer had to decide if the customer data was more important than the sales they were losing. Of course, they wanted both, so they ultimately enabled Facebook and Twitter logins so that customers could create accounts much faster and were therefore less likely to abandon their carts.

So what are your customers telling you with their behavior? The only way to find out is to start tracking customer activity and analyzing it.

Disclaimer: The above examples have been shared with the consent of the clients referenced.

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