Here’s What Qualitative Transcripts Can Do for Your Customer Journey Research
Customer-journey research is essential for improving the customer experience. Your research helps you map customer touchpoints, or the points at which a consumer interacts with your brand. These are key moments where you can keep or lose a customer.
To analyze your customer journey—as in, review the experience customers have with each touchpoint—you might rely on customer data you’ve collected and then use key metrics and KPIs (key performance indicators) to understand the customer experience.
But there’s another way to conduct customer-journey research: use transcripts. Transcripts are a written record of your customers’ thoughts and opinions. Unlike the data and metrics approach, transcripts give you context and insight into why customers use your product the way they do. You don’t have to rely solely on metrics to tell you about the customer experience.
Here’s how transcripts help enhance customer-journey research.
What is a customer-journey map?
A customer-journey map is a visual representation of a customer’s interaction with your product. It’s the steps consumers take as they move from new customers to loyal and retained customers.
The touchpoints in your map are where you’ll either retain customers or lose them. Huge drops in customer numbers at a certain touchpoint are an indication that something’s affecting the customer experience.
In order to fix problems along the customer journey, you have to hear from customers, in their own words, what’s causing them to churn. Once you understand the pain points customers experience, you can make changes to the affected touchpoints to reduce churn. The goal of talking to customers is to figure out how to keep them moving forward in their journey.
This is where qualitative research comes in. Unlike quantitative research that gathers customer insights through standardized questions on surveys and questionnaires, qualitative research uses answers from open-ended questions. These questions are asked during focus groups and interviews.
Qualitative research allows you to dive deeper into the psyche of your customers to understand their needs. But analyzing qualitative research is tricky because it’s more subjective than quantitative research. Qualitative research transcripts can help you analyze the feedback customers share.
Here are three ways qualitative research transcripts help your customer-journey research.
Transcripts unify the interview coding process
Coding is the process of identifying recurring themes in your interviews. Your codes summarize key points customers share during interviews. If one of your touchpoints is “customer submits data on your website” you need to identify what customers say about them. Examples of codes for the above touchpoint would be:
- Difficult to navigate to forms
- Unable to submit information
- Unhelpful customer support live chat
Codes are then grouped together in categories based on similar themes. “Difficult to navigate to forms” and “unable to submit information” would be grouped together because they suggest usability issues. “Unhelpful customer support live chat” would be a separate category because it suggests support team issues.
Based on the categories you create—and the themes within each one—you can come up with a theory of what’s causing problems for customers.
Transcripts unify the coding process by making it easier to keep customer comments in one place. Analysis can feel incomplete because those conducting interviews take, send, and store notes differently, whereas a transcript of a recorded interview is a verbatim and uniform account of customer comments.
The resulting transcript makes it easy to find codes. Highlight keywords and phrases that appear most often. Then, add comments to highlighted text explaining the importance.
Group similar themes into categories, and then use the categories to identify what’s causing customers to drop out of their journey.
In the example above, we see that two main categories have been identified: usability and support. The theory suggests that the product needs to be simplified and offer access to the support team. Fixing these issues will help improve retention.
Transcripts are a prime source of marketing material
Marketing material should move customers along their customer journey, whether that means pushing them to visit a store, look at a website, or buy a product. And some of the best ideas for marketing material come directly from customers.
Your transcripts contain source material; use them to find quotes to share in your campaigns. Target audiences can relate to marketing campaigns that include customer quotes. Someone considering your product might think, “It’s great to hear what current customers think. This information will help me decide what to do next.” Sharing relatable content is crucial, especially when delivered at critical points along the customer journey.
You can even incorporate quantitative data—along with content from your transcripts—to strengthen your marketing campaigns. If it’s time to ask a freemium customer to upgrade to the paid product, send an email that says, “80% of new customers signed up for our premium product last month. John R said, “It was the best investment I’ve made.”
The goal of using qualitative research transcripts here is to have your campaigns speak in a language customers understand and relate to. Plus, the social proof you get from transcripts helps convince people considering your product to start using it or current customers who are wavering to stick with it.
Transcripts help identify new touchpoints
New touchpoints ensure that your product is evolving to make sure customers have a positive experience and stick with their journey.
Transcripts help you identify new touchpoints as you read, word for word, how customers use your product. You might think there are 10 consecutive touchpoints for your product, but users might not use it the way you expected. They might skip touchpoints or complete them in a different order. Transcripts help you discover new touchpoints or reorganize existing ones to keep customers from churning.
During research interviews and focus groups, ask customers to explain how they use your product. For example, if you have a fitness app that lets users track their daily activity level and calorie intake, ask them, “When you open the app, what’s the first thing you do?” Follow up their answer with, “What’s the second thing you do?” Walk through each step users take to upload information, check their progress, connect with other users, and so on.
In your transcript, highlight these sections of text to identify new touchpoints. With a transcript, it’s easy to search and find information and then compare the sequence of touchpoints people follow.
Make a list of the most frequent touchpoint sequence. What themes do you see? Using the app example again, are users more likely to check their progress before uploading the day’s data? Or do they want to check fitness tips before uploading data? To test which new touchpoints to incorporate, refer back to your transcript. It will tell you what features are most important to them and how they use these features to complete tasks.
You can also use your transcripts and findings to create new documentation, like resource guides, tool tips, and email updates, that explain the new touchpoints.
Use your improvements to show customers you understand their needs and preferences. A product that meets customers’ needs encourages them to keep coming back. There’s no reason to leave because customers have a product that lets them use it the way they need it to.
Qualitative research transcripts offer ample benefits
Qualitative research transcripts give you a deeper understanding of what matters to customers. You can use these transcripts to identify unique customer needs and create a plan to adapt. You can create a comprehensive plan to motivate customers to keep moving forward in their journey. Make adjustments to your product based on your findings and you’re bound to see higher retention levels— and an improved customer experience.