Doing customer research? Start doing this
If you’re doing customer research, you’re already way ahead of the game. Not to make it a competition, but let’s be real here — if your competitors are doing customer research and you’re still not, then you’re making it way too easy for them to surpass you.
But in the world of customer research, simply talking to customers, running through a list of questions, and writing down answers is only scratching the surface of the strategic insights that are roiling beneath in untapped potential.
Here’s how to take your customer research to the next level: make it data-driven.
Yep. You heard me.
If you feel inundated by the information you hear in customer interviews or aren’t sure what to do with it when you’re done, then it’s time to take the research you’ve done and do what we call “parsing.”
How to make your customer research data-driven
1. Start by asking 10 customers the same 10-15 questions over and over again.
By asking the same questions and only straying when absolutely necessary, you automatically bring structure to your research (a common misstep by many teams).
Make sure to record the conversation (with permission of course), and pull a transcript using a service like Rev.com.
2. Create a spreadsheet or a tool that allows you to create fields, tags, and basic charts (we love Airtable for this). Create a column for every question that you’ve asked, and next to each question column, create an empty column.
If you have 10 questions, you’ll end up with 20 columns — one for the question, and an empty column right next to it. If you want a column to store customer identification information, do it.
3. For every question you asked, copy/paste the customer’s answer. In the empty column next to it, you’re going to “extract” the themes from what the customer said and either write down the theme or create a tag in Airtable.
You’ll pour through every transcript, every customer, and every answer, and you’ll create tags or themes as you go.
Finally, the fun part.
4. We’re now going to create a chart based on the tags/themes for each question. If we asked the question “How did you find [insert solution here?”, and we have 10 different answers, we can create a chart based on the tags or themes of those answers.
And voila! We’ve now made our customer research data-driven.
No more guessing or following an ill-informed hunch on what answer was the winner or the pattern. Instead, take what was qualitative and make it quantitative.