New ideas are powerful—but it’s not enough to just keep dreaming them up. 

Your latest lightbulb moment could be about monetizing a new concept, or maybe you’ve got a design tweak you’re crazy about. But do your brainwaves resonate with your audience’s needs and preferences? 

No matter your goal, nothing gives an idea wings like your target audience’s opinion. 

By measuring their acceptance of a new idea, you get the validation to push full-steam-ahead—or the vital chance to pivot away from a costly mistake. But it goes far beyond that. The reality is that in today’s day and age, people choose businesses and organizations that align with and show an understanding of their personal priorities and values. 

So, how do you find out what those priorities and values are? You simply ask.

The Power of Quick Online Surveys

Getting to know your audience better takes the guesswork out of meeting their needs. The more you know about them, the better you can exceed expectations throughout the entire customer journey. 

This means you’re able to facilitate:

  • Messaging adapted to deliver the right information
  • Friction-free engagement
  • Branding that voices how your values match theirs

You can’t keep your finger on this pulse with an annual survey alone. Markets change faster than that—and your current customers are likely only a part of the audience you aim to serve. 

Instead, try sourcing quick, consistent feedback, which welcomes your ideal customers right into the brainstorming process, giving them a direct stake in what you have to offer. This will give you a real-time understanding of what matters to them, guiding which ideas perform best for your business and where there’s an opportunity for growth.

Setting Up Your Surveys

The beauty of quick online surveys is that every batch of questions you create gets straight to the point. It’s easier to ensure that each survey serves a clear objective, so feedback is specific to your goal. 

To get actionable responses, you’ve got to first decide on a survey’s goal. Then clarify what you want to know with questions that:

  • Use simple language
  • Don’t squeeze multiple questions into one
  • Are neutral, not guiding toward a desired answer

Some ideas do require a bit more digging into your audience’s psyche, however. That’s the value of questions asking for an open-ended response or using a sentiment-based scale. But the challenge many organizations run into is how to actually make sense of what value lies within a set of answers. 

Translating Customer Feedback

Customer feedback can be translated in multiple ways based on the medium you use to gather information.

Keywords & Sentiments

One way to translate traditional survey feedback is by analyzing specific keywords and sentiments from the written responses you receive.

For example, SurveyMonkey provides a word cloud as a visual representation of the most commonly used words and phrases in open-ended responses. They also allow you to see all the responses associated with a specific word, how many times it was mentioned, and the percentage of responses the word or phrase was found in. This information helps you visualize what’s most important to your audience based on the questions asked in the survey.

Image Source: SurveyMonkey

Recorded Behavior

If you’re analyzing survey results or recorded behavior through audio, video, or by tracking website activity, translating feedback looks a bit different, but can prove to be even more valuable.

VideoAsk is a helpful tool for interacting with your audience face-to-face, getting direct feedback, and building stronger relationships. Customers can respond to questions you ask with video, audio, text, and multiple choice. Audio and visual cues will oftentimes offer you much more information than a traditional survey, which could be helpful if you’re trying to identify customer pain points and product/service wins.

Additionally, screen recording and tracking services like Hotjar and Crazy Egg can be helpful in determining where users are scrolling on your website, the links they’re clicking on, and the general areas they’re spending the most time reviewing. You’ll get a better understanding of the customer journey through A/B testing, recordings of visitor behavior, surveys that pinpoint specific user actions, and heatmaps of where people are clicking, moving, and scrolling.

These tools will help you track how users are really experiencing your site and if they’re finding the things they’re looking for. With this valuable feedback, you can make adjustments to improve the navigation, flow, and placement of content and graphics.

Keep in mind that some survey responses may be outliers—extreme answers on either end of the spectrum that don’t correlate with the rest of the feedback you receive. While these answers may still offer valuable feedback, you’ll want to exclude them when doing your analysis so they don’t skew your overall results.

Getting to the Core of What Your Customers Are Thinking

In the process of gathering customer feedback, it’s easy to just get surface-level answers. But how do you get to the core of what your customers are thinking? Try employing the 5 Whys.

The 5 Whys technique is the process of asking “Why?” 5 times to get to the root of what the actual issue is. The technique was originally developed by Sakichi Toyoda, the founder of Toyota Industries, but today is used across a variety of different industries to help solve problems whose root cause may not be what it initially seems.

Here’s how it works:

  • Identify the problem you’re trying to solve.
  • Determine the cause of the problem by asking, “Why did this happen?”
  • Ask “Why?” in reference to each previous cause that’s identified (at least 4 more times) until you’re able to identify a root cause that makes logical sense.
  • Come up with solutions that could help resolve the root cause.

The 5 Whys method is especially helpful when conducting in-person surveys. You can write the main problem on a whiteboard, then go down the line and get feedback on each “Why?” until you ultimately arrive at the core issue. Your team can then start coming up with possible solutions that address this root problem.

Gathering customer data and receiving feedback in general will help you inject compassion for your customers into everything you produce. As a result, your decisions will reflect your audience’s priorities and preferences, while speaking a language that connects them to your mission and brand.

While surveys make it easy for your audience to provide feedback on the products and services you provide, the real magic starts when you put this feedback into action. Get in touch with us for more direction on how to infuse your organization with this human-centered approach that will help you fill gaps, build viable concepts, and drive your vision forward.