Stop guessing and create a better digital experience with customer insights.
As marketers, we know a hundred times more about what we’re selling than the average customer who we ultimately hope will buy it. After all, it’s our job to be the expert on our product or service — we live and breathe it; we can rattle off all of the features and benefits; we obsess over the best messaging and how to position it in the market. But, truth be told, if we’re not careful, this expertise can actually work against us.
We all have internal bias. On some level, whether we’re conscious of it or not, we just believe that we know better. This is a fact — 65% of Americans believe their intelligence is higher than average. But is this “I know best” approach resulting in a digital experience that will resonate with your customers? You may know your product or service inside and out, but how well do you know your customer? How well do you understand what needs are bringing them to your site, and why they may leave unsatisfied with what they find there (and most importantly — how to fix it)?
If we are to truly stand out and succeed in today’s hyper-competitive digital world, we need to start with these questions. We need to start leveraging insights to see the digital experience from the customer’s point of view, and we need to listen when they say we could be doing something better.
We need to remind ourselves, “we are not our customers,” and more frequently rely on data-driven insights to create an engaging customer experience.
There’s no objective truth, so ask customers directly
What marketers intend does not always translate to what customers perceive. A photo that seems completely benign to the well-meaning marketer or designer who selects it may be off-putting to customers for completely unexpected reasons. A page layout that a designer has labored over and the marketing team loves may actually be hard for users to navigate, leaving them feeling frustrated.
So how can you know for sure that the digital experience you are launching is the experience your customers want? Test it — before it ever goes live. Testing eliminates internal biases by providing verbatim, significant feedback directly from the intended audience. If there’s a problem, marketers can identify it, fix it, and proceed with confidence.
Here are three areas of a digital experience that testing with a customer insight platform can shed light on:
Clarity. Does the messaging on your webpage accurately describe the product or service you are offering, or does it come across as marketing gobbledygook that sounds great to you, but will leave visitors scratching their heads? Customer experience testing can reveal — down to particular words and phrases — what does and does not resonate with your audience, giving you an opportunity to iterate until you’ve got it just right.
Competition. See the strengths and weaknesses of your website relative to your competitors’. Your competition is online, vying for your audience’s attention. As a marketer, you may evaluate their digital experience and conclude that yours is better, but why not test their page against your own to find out which one customers prefer– and why? What elements of their landing page hit the mark with customers, and how can you use that insight to optimize your own?
Conversion. Is the action you ultimately want them to take clear and straightforward, or is the page cluttered with multiple calls to action? Digital customer experience testing can tell you definitively whether users are likely to convert after viewing your page, and if not, why not, so you can take action and optimize for better results.
Consequences of not thinking like your customer
Over the course of my career, I’ve seen what happens when internal bias wins — it creates a disconnect with customers. Happily, I’ve also seen time and time again how marketers are able to eliminate their own bias and understand their customers’ behavior with the insights and recommendations they get from pre-live testing with WEVO.
An example comes to mind: a bank conducted a pre-live test of a personal banking webpage. It featured a photo of a carefree woman enjoying an island vacation. The intended message was aspirational: save with us for your dream vacation. But, in testing they found that the audience perceived the image — and by extension the bank — tactless and unrealistic for the times. The bank was able to leverage these customer insights to course correct and launch with a less controversial photo.
In another instance, a software company included several logos of enterprise customers on a landing page targeted at small businesses. Again, the intent of the marketing team, which was to impress and win the trust of SMBs through showcasing their work with massive, well-known companies, was lost on the audience they tested with. Far from being wowed, these smaller companies wondered: will this software company, who works with industry giants, really be able to meet the unique needs of a business our size?
In both of these cases, had these marketers stuck to the “I know my customer” mindset instead of seeking to understand their customers, they would have seen the immediate effects in their metrics: high bounce rates and few conversions. However, missing the mark again and again over time can degrade your brand’s reputation — and your market share — as your customers gravitate to companies that better understand their needs and can deliver a better experience from day #1. Why didn’t they seek out customer feedback? As we have all experienced, most current tools require considerable time and effort, and there is always something more urgent.
Get out of your own head and into your customer’s
With the availability of a customer experience platform like WEVO that makes insights fast, affordable, and scalable, there’s no longer any reason to rely on your own bias. Whatever your opinion on the old adage “the customer is always right,” your success ultimately depends on your ability to understand them and deliver the digital experience they’re seeking.