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Finding data readily available inside your organisation
Sources of data - making data-informed decisions
Welcome to our fourth newsletter issue. When it comes to data, it’s good to strike a balance with data, to be data-informed but not completely data-driven. A risk of being completely data-driven, is using data that could be inaccurate, poorly instrumented or show only one side of the problem. This article will focus on data that your business should be already collecting. No extra effort is needed. The benefit of using these sources suggested is that they are likely to be already collected. You and your team can routinely review these sources. By doing so you will have a sense of the market, your own user base and how they are and are not using the product.
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Click-tracking / Event tracking Analytics
Click-tracking and event tracking tools are useful for capturing user journeys. Pendo and Google Analytics are some of the popular options. These tools are useful to identify points of friction in the user journey. They are great for measuring user experience during onboarding or a checkout flow. It's more useful for B2C businesses if the experience is primarily web-based.
Considerations: It’s a good source to identify trends. The data will not tell you why users are going certain ways. Good product managers should create hypotheses using this data. The hypotheses then can be validated using other sources of data or experiments.
Product usage data
Correct instrumentation and implementation of this are critical to be useful and beneficial. If done poorly, there is a chance that incorrect data can lead you down a path of making incorrect product decisions or research insights. Make sure if you are going down this path to define things clearly and have it documented.
Considerations: You will be able to find out how the product is used. It will not provide insights into why the product is being used or not, and customers' expectations.
Customer experience metrics
These types of metrics have been used in various industries for a long time. NPS (Net Promoter Score), CES (Customer Effort Score) and CSAT (Customer Satisfaction Score) might be collected by the customer experience team or market research team.
NPS: How likely are you to recommend this product or service to a friend?
CES: How easy was it to interact with our company?
CSAT: How satisfied were you with the product or service you received?
Considerations: These metrics can be difficult to process. The output is simplified, and it is hard to find out more about what the customer is rating. It could be the business service, the feature, or their customer experience. It is good for benchmarking experiences overall.
Customer support queries
You will be primarily hearing about bugs, feature requests and customer satisfaction. Reach out to your customer support team to hear about the types of tickets and enquiries coming through. Ideally, you want this data through a report labelled with types of customer support requests and/or by topics/features. Consider segmenting it out by customer plans or types or based on how your company focuses on segmentation.
Considerations: These will tend to be more negative. It will help you identify opportunities to improve customer satisfaction. If you set up a format for how you want this information in advance it would be easier to parse.
Revenue, sales, internal health or annual reports
This should give you a sense of how the business is doing, essentially its “health”. Several factors may play into it - revenue, new deals added and churn. Different businesses types will include different factors. Extra details will give you a sense of the trend and not just positive trends. It will provide insight into the big picture - how your product and the business is performing. You may get a sense of what products and packages sell, customer segments and any other purchasing trends.
Considerations: This will provide a high level view of your product. Use this data to inform product strategy. However, keep in mind that sales or revenue depends on other factors - macroeconomic trends, seasonality, performance of the sales team and so on.
Intranets, product knowledge center or library
Take a look at what is known by your company already. Hopefully, knowledge is stored and organised by product, feature, user or initiative. These may be stored somewhere like Confluence, Product Board, Dovetail. It's a common mistake to think you have to start with your own research. You could miss the opportunity to shortcut your work or expand on what has been done before.
Considerations: Ensure there is consistent naming, tagging and organisation of the information to make it discoverable. When reviewing past work understand the context it was done under. There could be some kind of bias in the past work.
The digitised version of the old suggestion box. Your business might have placed a feedback form throughout the product or website for users to leave feedback. It’s helpful to categorise this data. Have someone review what comes through regularly. Like the other methods, your customers or users could be using this as a channel to get customer support.
Considerations: This type of data is similar to customer support requests. It is likely to be customer support issues when customers can't get in touch with customer support. It could also be bugs and feature requests.
Ultimately it is a good idea to use various sources of data and triangulate these. Listed above are more passive sources of data. You could supplement this data by being proactive with other methods such as: doing a survey, customer interviews or whatever may be the appropriate research method based on what you are trying to learn. Strive to be data-informed rather than data lead. If something catches your eye, an anomaly - investigate further from another source.
Any data should be reviewed keeping your business strategy and target customers in mind. Without this, you may end up solving for fringe customers or introduce capabilities not aligned with your business goals.
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