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How to Gain Honest Customer Insights for Free
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Knowing what your customers really want is key to running a successful business.

Whether you’re trying to retain customers, or just starting to forge a relationship with potential prospects, you’ve got to know what solutions they’re looking for.

What questions are they asking?

For example, they might be wondering how to clean the air conditioner they just bought from you.

Or they might want to know the pros and cons of different hot-water heating systems.

Whatever your industry, it’s important to know what answers your customers are seeking.

And a great way of addressing customer questions is with blog content. Especially if you’re at the start of building a relationship with them.

If you’ve recently decided to start a blog as part of your business website, you’re probably looking for some ideas on what you should write about.

You should have a good idea of who you’d like to write for by now. And you might have a few ideas as to what type of content you can offer them.

But if you want to find out what your customers really want, you’ve got to look in the right places.

It’s not necessary to spend thousands of dollars on expensive market research either.

So where should you look?

1. Surveys

One of the most obvious ways to discover more about your customers is via surveys. Or so it seems.

But don’t be fooled.

Writing survey questions is a whole other skill in itself. And although surveys may appear to be an easy, free way to gain insights into your customers, they can actually end up being the most expensive.

Surveys require many different factors to be working in your favour to actually deliver accurate, honest results.

If your business is just starting out, it’s very difficult to get a significant amount of customers to participate in order to produce meaningful results.

But if you’re confident you’ll be able to get enough respondents, and you’ve already exhausted the options below (which won’t cost you a cent), go ahead.

Surveys can be extremely insightful if done well.

2. Point of sales and customer service employees

Whether customer contact is face-to-face, over the phone, or email, your point of sales and customer service employees already have valuable insights into the solutions your customers are seeking.

Particularly front of desk employees. They’ll know first-hand the kinds of questions customers are asking, and how often. But unless you’re keeping track, they’ll be forgotten.

Make sure any suggestions, questions of interest, or complaints are recorded, so they can be referenced at a later date.

3. Chat transcripts

Often overlooked by many businesses, chat transcripts are extremely valuable resources for gaining insights into your customers.

If you have a chat feature on your website, go through the chat transcripts and review what customers have previously asked.

What are some of the most common questions or problems?

What is surprising to read?

What language do they use?

Use this as content inspiration, and to help communicate your solutions down the track.

And if you don’t already have a chat widget installed on your website, download this free live chat widget tool to create one.

4. Online reviews and forums

A great way to find out what your potential customers are looking for in a product, service, or company, is to scour the internet for online reviews. They don’t just have to be reviews for your own business either.

It can be any of your direct competitors or even forums and blogs where your target market discuss the problems or questions you think you have the answers to.

By reading through online reviews and forums, you can find out where people feel they needed more information, or what was a make or break factor in their purchase decision.

You’ll also be able to find out what your competitors are missing in their customers’ eyes – and if it’s something you offer, that’s pretty powerful leverage.

5. Social Media comment sections

Just like online reviews, the comment sections on social media can provide valuable insight into what your potential and existing customers want.

Check hashtags relating to the type of service or products your business sells. Look at your own social media pages – Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, LinkedIn, Twitter – whatever you have. And do the same for your competitors.

Usually, customers are brutally honest on social media, because they feel they can express themselves freely. This makes it a great place to find any unresolved questions or issues customers have that they don’t express elsewhere.

6. Keyword tools

Another way to find out the kind of answers or solutions your customers are seeking is to use a keyword research tool, such as Google’s Keyword Planner or Ahref’s Keyword Explorer.

These tools will show you the keyword phrases people are searching for. They’ll also show how many people are searching for them, helping you pinpoint where the biggest demand is.

For example, you might be tossing up between writing a post on how to style floating shelves, or which tools you need to install them. If you want to know which one’s more popular, type the keyword phrases into your keyword tool to find out.

For more tips on how to get the most out of these tools, check out this comprehensive guide from Ahrefs.

What are you waiting for?

Now you know where to find the questions your customers are asking, start answering them!

Explore all the above resources to find inspiration. Even just one or two.

But exhaust all other options before resorting to surveys. Finding out what your customers really want doesn’t have to cost a cent.

Because most of the time, they’ve already told you.

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