How do you find out what your users want?  

We’re not talking about using data collection forms, feedback questionnaires or organised focus groups. We’re talking about finding out what your users really want and why they interact with you naturally.

Today many of us look to our phones to help with our everyday tasks. Opening the weather app to check the forecast, or using maps to check the traffic. And all of this data is collected to help businesses understand more about our interactions. It gives insight into which features are used most, the journey users take and the frequency with which they do it. It helps personalise future experiences and improve on the digital experiences.

This data is extremely useful, but it’s often fragmented with no context. For instance, if you check traffic at 8am it can be assumed you’re on your commute to work. Or if you check the weather at 3pm on a Sunday in the summer, we might assume you’re hosting a BBQ. But this doesn’t give us the full picture. From this data alone, we can’t understand why the interactions are taking place.

The data on how users are interacting with brands online, through mobile and social has never been so important. Fully understanding your users and their needs is key in developing your business offering. And it’s even more important in deciding how to position your business for the future. So how can we begin to collect contextual data about our users?

Humans are inquisitive by nature and our conversations are based around questions. Before the internet, if we wanted information we asked another person. When the internet came we asked Google. However, these questions evolved into words and phrases. They became less conversational and more of a request for information.

It’s only when we ask questions in a conversational format that we apply context or provide the ‘why’. For instance, when we want to know about the weather. In Google we might type ‘today’s weather forecast’, however to the person next to us we might say ‘will the rain hold out for the BBQ this afternoon?’. It’s likely that the same result will be received, but the way we ask reveals the context of the interaction.

Although we’ve learnt to paraphrase our questions for Google and search engines, new technology is reversing things. Voice activated assistants and bots are encouraging us to ask more questions. With over 35.6 million people already asking their mobiles and home devices questions every month. So, by now it should be of no surprise that chatbots and voice activated assistants are becoming more mainstream. Largely down to the fact that they are the most natural form of engagement. Interactions are made by asking full questions and responding accordingly. And it’s within these conversational interfaces you can begin to understand what your users really want.

You can find this out by using chatbots and voice assistants to collect data. Businesses using chatbots and voice assistants for user research are already gathering valuable data on their users. It’s suggested that users supply 66% more information in a message conversation than through any other interaction. Giving businesses the ideal opportunity to gain a better understanding of exactly what it is their users want from them. And in turn help them evolve their offering. Whether that’s more detailed traffic alerts for their commute or personalised messages based on specific weather. By simply collecting contextual data businesses can significantly improve their users’ experience.

While still far from mass adoption, voice activated assistants are making their way into your users’ lives whether you’re ready or not. According to eMarketer, voice-enabled speaker usage is set to grow 130% in 2017 alone. And just to give you context of how quickly your users are adopting this technology; 41% of people using voice activated assistants have only started doing so in the last 6 months. Making it the increasingly important for business to adopt this technology too. More specifically utilising chatbots and voice assistants for user research.

[sources: eMarketer]