Listen to your consumers — specially when they don’t say anything.

Always be listening to your consumers. (Image source, Credits: Couleur)

Do you know that in a survey conducted by Helpshift, more than 20% of American consumers would do any of these items than stay on hold with a brand’s consumer service:

  • Spend 30 minutes cleaning a bathroom
  • Spend 30 minutes at the dentist
  • Sit in traffic or visit their in-laws
  • Do their taxes

Forget scrubbing the toilet. It is doing the taxes bit that got to me. The process is so infuriatingly frustrating and complicated that one always tends to put off on doing it till they can no longer delay it. And even then, more often than not, you turn to your accountant to handle it for you.

So how is it that while most businesses would claim that they place their consumers’ happiness and satisfaction above everything else, 3 out of every 4 people surveyed rated contacting customer support an agonisingly frustrating process?

This creates a bigger problem. Since consumers dread contacting customer support, most will try to avoid it for as long as possible, and very few would speak up unless they have had a really really bad experience. And one truly bad negative experience is all it takes for future consumers to stay off. Think of the time when you decided against a purchase because of a bad review you noticed on its Amazon page. We have all been there, haven’t we?

And that is why you see all these systems that help you measure customer experience, delight, satisfaction, and why metrics like NPS become important to businesses. If you are a consumer would you not prefer being proactively contacted by businesses before your small hiccups turn into a significant thorn in the side? I would.

The most recent example of this is when I switched my cellular provider recently. My broadband and cellular connection were from the same provider, and after multiple issues, calls and weeks and months of frustration, I decided to just move on. As soon as that happened, the company mobilised its troops and I started getting calls from their customer support teams to see if they could address my concerns to retain me as a consumer. The problem was, it was too little too late, and that is exactly what I told them as well.

USER VOICE CAN SOMETIMES BE JUST NOISE

A lot of times, we come across users requesting specific features and add-ons to the product. As entrepreneurs, a natural response to such a scenario could be catering to consumers’ requests. After all, you are there to serve and delight your consumers. So do what your consumers want, right?

Well, Yes and No.

You should most certainly do things that would add value to your consumers. The problem is — you very rarely know if that ‘new feature’ consumers are asking for is something most of your consumers need, want or would love. You don’t even know if even a significant percentage of your consumer base is looking for those solutions.

Why does this happen though? Because not all users are created the same.

It doesn’t matter what product you think of, what tribe or community you look at, highly engaged users are who dominate the conversation. They are the ones whose voices and opinions you hear. But, highly engaged users is a very very small percentage of your overall user base. Always! So, don’t make the mistake of creating an equivalence between what your engaged users want and what your userbase as a whole wants.

You must always cross reference user feedback and engagement metrics. Look at the usage patterns of your overall userbase to make sense of what is it exactly that could be most valuable and of-demand with your userbase as a whole.

ACTIONS, INACTIONS AND LEVEL OF ACTIONS — MEASURE IT ALL!

What does your user do while on your app? What parts of your product does he engage with? What segments of the product see the least engagement? What segments witness engagement that contributes to a significant percentage of overall session duration? The answer to these questions will help you plan your product roadmap in a more efficient manner, help set clear priorities, and contribute immensely to overall business growth. So, analyse it all.

Long back, at Myntra, a few of us were once raking our heads over a segment of the non-moving stock that was piling up. It didn’t matter what we did, those products simply weren’t selling. Was it dead weight? It is natural to assume so. But once we started looking at data, we noticed that the overall conversion these products were witnessing wasn’t bad at all. It was actually at par, and in some cases better than our regular moving stock. Consumers who were seeing these products — even in product list pages — were actually showing interest in checking them out, adding them to their carts and finally buying them. The problem was that these products weren’t getting enough visibility. Now that was a problem that was easier to handle. We ended up creating small segments and sub-segments just to give these styles some prominent visibility and lo and behold, they were sold out in no time — and at a healthier margin too. If we hadn’t looked at the data, we may have done the most obvious thing — tried to liquidate those styles by discounting them further. And since the styles weren’t getting visibility to begin with, what good would that have done!

Assimilate and analyse data in as many different ways you can think of. Data helps you cater to consumers’ wishes and demands even before they are made. It can also help you weed out functionalities that are bloating up your product, and help you lead down the right monetisation channels.

Always remember. It is data that tells the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

Helping businesses grow 10x faster, and scale efficiently. Top Writer — Quora, Medium. Drop in a line if you’d like help with yours. mail@abyshake.com

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