Our firm is very skeptical of surveys. They can annoy customers. The questions themselves tend to reflect the bias of the person or company asking them. At best, they offer directionally-correct information, which is often taken out of context and used to replace an old assumption with some shiny new (and equally dangerous) one.
The great thing about Web Analytics is that it allows you to see how people are using your site — without surveying them.
Our motto: “Believe what they do, not what they say they do.”
But there are things your Web Analytics can’t tell you, especially if you didn’t use personas to plan the site in the first place. And if you haven’t planned the site with personas, even believing “what they do” can be misleading.
That’s when a survey can help. When handled correctly, surveys can provide a good starting point for gathering qualitative data about the customer experience.
Not just any survey will do. You need the greatest survey questions ever:
Avinash Kaushik, the man who developed these powerful (and modestly-titled!) survey questions has teamed up with iPerceptions to create 4Q, a free tool that allows you to add this survey to your site.
It’s rather strange, isn’t it? Why would one of the World’s foremost experts in parsing quantitative Web Analytics data — the guy who wrote the book on it, actually — insist we get excited about fuzzy, qualitative data?
Let’s see what Avinash has to say about 4Q…
If you have read my book or my blog you are quite aware of the What and the Why issue. All the quantitative data you and I have from our web analytics tools is really good at helping us understanding the What happened.
Visits and Visitors, pages viewed, referrers, keywords, bounces, paths (!), campaigns, and so on and so forth. All critical data that helps you step up your game – improve your campaigns, fix pages, fire someone.
It cannot, no matter how much you torture the data, tell you Why something happened.
[...] We overlay our own opinions and experiences and preferences.
Unfortunately we are not our customers. In fact being as close to our companies as we are, it is quite likely that we are the worst possible people to empathize with our customers.
Sounds crazy, we know, but this whole “visitor empathy” concept might be the best thing that ever happened to your relationship with Web Analytics — let alone your relationship with actual customers.
In this YouTube presentation, Avinash explains how qulitative and quantitative data live in harmony:
*Fourth question added by iPerceptions.
[Disclosure: Future Now's Bryan Eisenberg is an adviser to iPerceptions.]