Go with your gut is an old saying that we play around with quite a bit in the English language. It means following your intuition or instinct (based on your “gut feeling”). However, when we apply this term to the business world, it is not always appropriate, let alone advisable – especially when it comes to A / B testing.
A / B testing is used to test multiple variations of a web page and is one of the most popular ways to improve conversion rates. According to eConsultancy, about 61 percent of companies run fewer than five tests per month.
What many of these companies miss in their testing strategies, however, is a concrete way to construct hypotheses for future A / B tests. Fortunately, there is online customer feedback.
In this article, we’ll explore why online customer feedback is so important for A / B testing, and introduce you to the different types of feedback you can collect to help optimize your website.
Why should you collect online customer feedback?
Think about it. When you A / B test your website or mobile app (with no prior knowledge from customer feedback), you are just testing your assumptions. And chances are you’re using a hypothesis likely based on what you think will solve your customers’ problems. While this method may work for some companies, it isn’t exactly efficient and can limit your optimization efforts.
However, when you include customer feedback in this equation, you are on a better basis to make informed decisions. This is because you are combining qualitative data with quantitative data. It will help you identify problem areas that you have not previously identified with your web analytics tool.
Imagine this: Let’s say you learn from customer feedback that a lot of customers say, “I don’t know how to place an order” on one of your product pages. With this information, you can create a hypothesis that will effectively test the feedback. For example – “Making the Buy Now button bigger will make it more noticeable and will increase conversions”. Voila! You have a useful hypothesis to use in your A / B test.
Now let’s take a look at the different types of feedback you can collect in order to optimize A / B testing …
Identify usability/design flaws with visual feedback
When we think of A / B testing, we often think of page design, e.g. comparing two different colored CTA buttons or different images. But did you know that customer feedback can help you with this type of testing as well?
Some feedback tools offer visual feedback options in their software. Visual feedback enables website visitors to locate specific page elements (including forms, images, buttons, or paragraphs) and provide feedback on those page elements (using screenshots).
Identifying these problems enables you to improve the user experience as well as the usability of your website and thus increase online conversions. These findings can also be used to create more accurate hypotheses which can then be tested in a split test or A / B test.
Exit Feedback: Understand why visitors are leaving your site
With the help of exit feedback forms, companies can learn a lot about the intentions of their visitors as well as the problems they are facing. Such feedback forms appear if, for example, visitors try to leave the website or the shopping cart without converting.
Applying exit feedback forms in places like order funnels or your shopping cart (for eCommerce businesses) can help visitors achieve their online goals (like ordering products or getting online support), but it can also help you quickly identify problem areas on your website. With knowledge of what is affecting visitor behavior, you can start running A / B tests to confirm your hypotheses.
For example, you might have a high bounce rate on the checkout page (e.g. customers leave their shopping cart without buying anything). This is a great place to get exit feedback. Based on the responses you get from visitors in the exit feedback forms, you can then start running relevant tests on the page.
Note: As you can see in the feedback form above, there is an open comment box. The great thing about these fields is that the feedback submitted here can later be analyzed using text analysis and sentiment analysis to give you a better insight into emerging trends (e.g. based on word frequency or word pairing).
Collect feedback on website content
Another type of feedback that is beneficial for A / B testing optimization is website content feedback. This can be done via an embedded feedback form on a page with a lot of text, e.g. FAQ, instructions, or the like.
Alternatively, you can activate a proactive trigger when the visitor has scrolled to the bottom of the page. Understanding how this content will be received by your visitors is crucial as bad content can create or break sales or scare off a visitor to your brand.
Let’s look at the product information. This type of content often includes product descriptions, videos, and images. So let me ask you that How many times have you or someone you know been on a website researching a product and after looking through the specs still couldn’t find what you were looking for?
This is common with many websites that don’t use customer feedback simply because they don’t know they are missing important content. And what happens is your visitors can’t find the answers to what they’re looking for, so they’re forced to look elsewhere.
There are several options for testing online content. You can experiment with post length, images, the overall layout, headings on the page, and of course text blocks.
So how do you use this feedback in your A / B testing?
For example, let’s say you get feedback from a customer: “I can’t find information about how to return a product in your FAQ section.” This could be due to one of two things. Either the information in your FAQ section just doesn’t exist – in which case you now know and can add some information if needed – or the information is available but your visitor is having trouble finding it due to the layout of your FAQ page.
If the latter, you can use the feedback you received to hypothesize and test: “Clearer headings for the FAQ sections will make it easier to find information”.
This is a very simple solution to understanding where you are wrong (or right!) With your website content.
Combine customer feedback with visitor personas
Online feedback can further help optimize your website if it is combined with the data collected from various personas/customer profiles on your website. Why? It enables you to understand how a certain customer profile experiences the online journey. More specifically, it helps you determine the user experience of each individual persona and how it compares to other personas.
Coupling these personas with your feedback is very easy. Many online feedback tools, such as Mopinion, allow you to use feedback to collect website data. This data can include demographics, interests, location, and more.
For example, you can combine a cookie ID or data stored in the Google Data Layer (e.g. customer or segmentation data, product information, etc.) with feedback and get as much insight as a certain persona or a certain customer segment experiences your website or the Online travel.
With A / B testing, this is very useful as you can target certain tests to specific personas based on the feedback you’ve received from those personas. This will give you a good idea of how these different visitor segments experience a particular page. With this information, you will ensure that you are offering the top-performing CTA or content for each persona.
Stop doing your A / B tests blindly …
Now, do you see how powerful these two components are when combined? By collecting feedback from your customers, you are guaranteed to have a much better (and deeper) understanding of what should be a priority in your A / B testing. Not to mention that by continuously optimizing your website or mobile app, you can save a lot of time, money and retain your customers. It’s a win-win situation!
Would you like to start collecting online customer feedback now?