Qualitative Analysis: interpreting data

Creating a framework for the analysis of customer feedback will give you a better grip on what your customers are saying and what you need to listen to.

While evaluating each individual comment will help you understand needs, your efforts will be more fruitful if you uncover patterns by analyzing surveys in batches.

Here are some ways you can make better sense of your qualitative data.

1. Categorize feedback into positives and negatives

Your customer feedback will be a mixed bag of positive and negative tones. The positive tone will provide you a concrete idea of what you are doing correctly whereas the negative tone will guide you in changing some aspects of your website that users do not approve.

This is the first step into understanding your subjective data. Simply open a new Excel sheet and mark all feedback into positives or negatives, like this:

Positive and negative feedback

Doing this will give you an overall impression of how customers think of your website. Ask yourself:

  • Are my customers happy with using my site? Is the language they use to describe it positive or negative?

  • Would my customers recommend my site to their friends and relatives?

2. Look for patterns in subjective data

While reading comments from surveys, interviews, and usability tests, you are likely to come across recurring patterns. These could include issues such as difficulty locating the contact button on your site, product delivery speed, helpfulness of after-sales support and more.

Start by organizing this feedback into separate categories. This doesn’t have to be anything elaborate; even a simple Excel sheet like this will do well:

Feedback category

If you do this for all your data, you’ll easily spot patterns. For instance, you might notice that an overwhelming number of visitors have issues with your site’s sign-up process. The number of complaints about the navigation, on the other hand, are much fewer.

Based on this, you would make improving the sign-up process a high priority.

3. Use session recording software to find common visitor issues

Plenty of heat maps and usability tools will also let you record your visitors on-page behavior in a video. This is called “session recording”.

By replaying your users’ sessions, you can often find common behavior patterns. This might not be obvious from one or two sessions, but if you do it for a dozen or more users, you’ll recognize them easily.

For example, if 6 out of 10 users stumble around when it comes to finding your “Checkout” button, it probably means you need to make some changes to it.

4. Any specific issues your customers identify

During the course of your interviews and surveys, you customers will likely identify some specific bottlenecks in their user experience. This might be something as simple as a missing “remember me” button on the login page, or something as glaring as a malware on the payments page.

Make a note of all these specific issues. If they are impeding the conversion process, remedy them immediately. Else, send this feedback to your design and development team.

After wrapping up this qualitative analysis, you can look at your quantitative data to gather insights from it.