Testing (or experimentation) is a popular method for many organisations looking to optimise their digital channels, whether that’s websites, mobile apps or even email campaigns. This is important as having optimised channels can contribute to happier and more loyal customers. The truth is though, that while many organisations have incorporated testing techniques such as A/B testing and split testing into their digital strategies, they still lack the contextual insights they need to make these tests a true success. And that is where online user feedback can provide a lot of value.
Let’s put it this way. Carrying out any sort of test on your website or mobile app (without prior insights gained from online user feedback) is actually just you testing your own assumptions. And the odds are you are using a hypothesis that is probably based on what you think will solve your customers’ problems. While this method may work for some businesses, it isn’t exactly efficient and can really limit your optimisation efforts.
Experimentation helps find which changes convert best, but it doesn’t reveal why.
Context is everything…
If you throw user feedback into the equation, however, you will be in a much better position to make an informed decision about what your hypothesis should be. This is because you are combining qualitative data with quantitative data. It will help you identify areas of struggle that you haven’t previously recognised with just your web analytics tool.
Validating your testing with user feedback
So what would this process look like? Let’s use the illustration below as a guide.
As you can see it is typically a six step process that works in an ongoing cycle:
1. Identify friction areas.
This is what your web analytics and heatmapping are great for: identifying problems (quantitatively). By leveraging tools such as Google Analytics you can quickly narrow down where your customers are struggling the most.
EX: You establish that customers are dropping off on the Payment page.
2. Collect user feedback.
Once you know where customers are struggling, then you can start collecting feedback in these areas to gain more insight into their behaviour.
EX: Knowing where your customers are dropping off (based on your web analytics), you can target customers in the payment funnel with feedback forms asking them WHY they are leaving the page.
3. Leverage feedback insights for a hypothesis.
Then you take these insights and use them as a guide (or hypothesis) for your next A/B testing experiment. This is also ideal for prioritising what to test first.
EX: By adding American Express as a payment option, more customers will complete a purchase.
4. Carry out testing.
Run your A/B test to assess the new hypothesis above.
5. Make changes accordingly.
Once you’ve found a winner, then you can start implementing changes within that funnel.
EX: You found that adding the additional payment option (i.e. American Express) to your checkout process enabled more users to successfully purchase items.
6. Validate process with user feedback.
Lastly, you will start validating the changes you’ve made using feedback. In other words, see if the change has resolved the issue (i.e. the dropoff in the purchasing funnel).
And repeat! Don’t forget that collecting feedback alongside testing is a continuous process.
Want more information on testing and user feedback?
Be sure to check out this article which illustrates the various ways in which you can collect feedback during A/B testing, including visual feedback, website content feedback and more.
Stop running your tests with a blind eye…
Do you now see how powerful these two are if they are used together? By collecting feedback from your customers you are guaranteed to have a much better (and deeper) understanding of what should take priority in your testing. Not to mention the continuous optimisation of your website or mobile app can save you a lot of time and money as well as build up loyalty with your customers. It’s a win-win!
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