03/17/2016 11:56 EDT | Updated 03/18/2017 05:12 EDT

4 Ways To Learn What Your Customers Aren't Telling You

One of the most pivotal contributions to a company's success is customer feedback. This critical insight gives a company first hand knowledge as to whether it's on the right track, and if not, what can be done to course correct. But often, it can be difficult to understand exactly how a customer is behaving if all you rely on is direct consumer feedback, as the loudest voices heard aren't necessarily satisfied customers, or even customers at all.

That being said, there are several techniques a company can leverage to truly understand their customer base, and get to the heart of what your customers aren't necessarily telling you. Here are four ways you can tap into that knowledge:

Follow the breadcrumbs

Part of knowing your customer is following where they are coming from and how they are using your site. Tracking the incoming lead sources, from external links to Google searches is only the beginning. By following a customer's entire activity timeline, from the pages on your site they visit, to the emails they open, gives you a complete picture of what is engaging them the most. The more comprehensive a profile you develop, the more you'll be able to directly speak to that customer's needs and generate return sales and revenue.

A/B testing

A critical tool in understanding what is resonating with your customers is A/B testing. By presenting multiple landing pages and tracking what is generating the most interest and lead generation, you gain greater insight into what your customers are actively interested in. One important aspect of A/B testing to remember is that it is just as important to track what isn't working as what is, giving your company an opportunity to pivot where need be.

Listen to the right conversations

Just because a customer isn't talking directly to your company, doesn't mean they aren't talking. Chances are, the first place your customers are turning to with complaints or comments is social media, and not monitoring those discussions can be detrimental. A surprising number of corporate social media accounts lay dormant, allowing the conversations to run wild, rather than addressing legitimate concerns head-on. A strong social media presence will not only boost your brand, but also offer a direct insight into consumer feedback from alternative channels.

Learn from the enemy

If your customers aren't converting with your company, they are likely finding what they want with your competitors. There are a number of free and completely ethical tools available that will help better understand exactly what's gone wrong. From tracking competitor key words, monitoring social and marketing technique, to analyzing the strength of their website, better understanding your competition will help you make improvements in your customer service.

By taking these suggestions into account, you will get a complete picture of your customer's behaviours from start to finish, regardless if they are talking directly to you or not.

Ali Tajskandar is the CEO of Wishpond, a startup in Vancouver, BC. Wishpond's marketing platform incorporates lead generation software with marketing automation into one easy-to-use complete marketing suite.

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