Quantitative vs Qualitative Online Customer Feedback


When we talk about quantitative and qualitative feedback on digital channels, we’re talking about the difference between objective and subjective data. This quantitative data tends to be more concrete and precise (e.g. traffic, number of clicks, behaviour). It therefore involves numerical results. Alternatively, the qualitative data is more descriptive and explanatory (e.g. open comments, suggestions, complaints). What’s important to realise here, however, is that these two types of data, though wildly different in form, are very much dependent on one another. So how different are they? And what can be yielded from asking our online customers one or both types of feedback?


In this blog, we will look into the benefits of collecting both types of feedback as well as how this feedback is actually collected.

Let’s start with quantitative side of things.

Quantitative Feedback

In short, this is a manner of exposing the data in a numerical way. And while this is only half the equation, it can provide us with many valuable insights into the (yep, you guessed it) quantifiable aspects of our websites and mobile apps. These insights are often retrieved using metrics such as Customer Effort Score (CES), Customer Satisfaction (CSat) and Net Promoter Score (NPS).


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The benefits of quantitative feedback

1. See if it’s a failure or success:
Just by glancing at your dashboard, you can see if processes within various funnels are working properly and catering to the needs of your customers. It is not necessarily an explanation of why something has gone wrong (or right) or how your customers experience your website, but it certainly gives a clear indication of whether you need to take action or not. Quantitative feedback gives you a better indication of whether, for example, customers value certain parts of your website. In which case, you could do further research into the reasons behind the low scores and subsequently, take action.

Mopinion: Quantitative vs Qualitative Online Customer Feedback - Failure or Success

2. Easy to spot trends and patterns
You can analyse the scores you’ve collected and identify trends using distribution over X period of time. For example, say you’ve taken steps to optimise one of your online funnels. By monitoring a score over time (on a weekly, monthly or quarterly basis), you can see if the changes have indeed improved a certain process.

Mopinion: Quantitative vs Qualitative Online Customer Feedback - Patterns

So how can you collect quantitative feedback?

There are many different ways to collect quantitative feedback from your website or mobile app. However, it is generally collected using the aforementioned metrics: CES, CSat and NPS (for a more in-depth explanation of what these are and how they are measured and reported, check out this blog post).

Example:
Mopinion: Quantitative vs Qualitative Online Customer Feedback - CES per month

Additionally, you can collect data such as URL and browser type. Identifying the URL from which the feedback originated or pertains to will help you identify which pages in particular score high or low. Alternatively, the browser type is an interesting metric to measure. Considering not all browsers have the same approach in terms of development and there is no single way of displaying information on a web page, identifying the visitor’s browser type can be key in identifying a technical error.

Qualitative Feedback

This type of data helps you gain an understanding into the reasoning and motivation behind why your customer has provided negative or positive (quantitative) feedback. We like to refer to it as the “why” as it exposes the root causes behind a behaviour. Why has your customer given you a low NPS score? Why have they decided to leave their shopping cart without making a purchase? Why are they idle on the page? These are the types of questions that qualitative feedback will give you the answers to…

The benefits of qualitative feedback

1. Learn why your customers are abandoning their shopping carts
This is a huge benefit for online retailers and businesses in the ecommerce industry. There are many instances in which your customers are ready to buy and have added all of their items to their shopping cart and for whatever reason, they simply abandon these products and leave the website altogether. The rate of abandonment ranges anywhere between 60% and 80%.

Mopinion: Quantitative vs Qualitative Online Customer Feedback - Shopping cart

2. Find out what users really think about your product or service
Qualitative feedback enables you to find the online voice of the customer and gives you more insight into what your customers think of your website, products and services. This is very important for departments such a product development: “Customer feedback is commonly used throughout the product development process to ensure that the end product is something that solves a customer’s problem or fulfills a need”. Knowing exactly what your customers are looking for can give you a strong competitive edge.

Be sure to check out this article by G2 Crowd regarding customer feedback and how it has changed the buying process.

Mopinion: Quantitative vs Qualitative Online Customer Feedback - Thoughts

3. Gauge human emotion
There are so many companies out there that use Customer Experience (CX) metrics to streamline processes and smoothen out their ordering funnels. But what they continue to lack is the element of human emotion (which is a top CX trend for 2017). You can learn a lot about your customers by paying attention to their sensitivities. When you shift your focus towards understanding the extent of customer dissatisfaction or satisfaction, you essentially provide yourself with the proper means to analyse your feedback under the right context.

Mopinion: Quantitative vs Qualitative Online Customer Feedback - Human emotion

So how can you collect qualitative feedback?

Qualitative feedback can be collected using open fields in your feedback forms. In these open fields, customers can provide their own explanations as to why they have given a high or low score. Once this data is collected, it can be analysed using text analytics. Text analytics can gauge the severity of the feedback based on positive, negative and neutral word usage as well as the sentiment associated with commonly used words.

Quantitative or Qualitative? That is the question…

Why does it have to be EITHER/OR? Combining ratings and numerical values with qualitative and emotion-driven feedback gives us the power to contextualise our feedback. Neither of these types of data is really the silver bullet. But put them together and you’ll have loads of insights in the “what” and “why” of website feedback!

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