User research is the process of discovering your customers’ needs, desires, frustrations, and behaviors, and then using that information to improve your product, service, or marketing. It’s the cornerstone of UX and user-centered design, but it can be difficult to gather reliable user research on a regular basis. (Not to mention knowing what to do with all that data!)

Here are some ways you can use your CallRail account to start gathering and analyzing customer feedback for your user research initiatives.

1) A/B test marketing sources, landing pages, keywords, and ad copy

By its very nature, call tracking is user research. Just like voting with your dollar, customers vote by engaging with your different marketing platforms, landing pages, ads, and keywords. So when they call the tracking number associated with a marketing source, you have the data to know what resonates with your customers without having to ask them — their behavior speaks for itself.

Use source tracking numbers or a Keyword Pool to A/B test ad copy, try out different landing pages, or to see which kinds of ad placements are best at driving engagement. If you’re using Google Ads, you can calculate cost per lead for multiple touchpoints in the sales funnel using our Multi-Touch CPL tool.

This kind of concrete marketing attribution provides insights into user behavior that are straightforward, quantifiable, and actionable.

2) Listen to customer insights without scheduling user interviews

User interviews are a high-value research method, but scheduling conversations with customers can be tricky and time-consuming. By using Call Recording, any calls to your tracking numbers can be recorded for later review on your own schedule, helping you better identify your customers’ needs and pain points.

CallScribe automatically generates transcripts of a call, and then scans it for valuable research information. Keyword Spotting will surface words and phrases you’ve decided are important, and Call Highlights will show you other relevant keywords that might be worth exploring:

Inbound recorded call showcasing repeated keywords

You should always review customer calls for recurring pain points your company needs to address: Is there a mismatch in how your company talks about your product versus how your customers talk about it? Do you get a lot of questions on a specific topic? Is there a sign-up or buying process you could make easier for your customers?

And perhaps most importantly: What is the problem your customers are trying to solve? This question gives you a clear understanding of where your product or service can directly address their needs. Zack, our in-house PPC expert, uses call transcripts to see if there are better keywords he should be bidding on based on the terms customers use the most in their calls.

Pro Tip: You can combine Keyword Spotting with call tags to filter incoming calls for research on a specific topic.

For example, you might want to research how many customers are interested in weekend service from your business before you commit to changing your hours of operation. To do this, you can set up a Keyword Spotting set to tag calls based on whether customers mention anything related to weekend hours:

CallRail's Keyword Spotting settings

Once the keywords are set up, calls to your tracking numbers where those words are mentioned will be tagged so you can filter your Call Log and find out exactly what your customers are asking for:

Katherine, our UX content manager, uses this method to find out which help articles we need to add to our Support site.

I just started using this method for my research on CallScribe — six calls in, I’ve already gathered many sticky notes’ worth of insights from our customers, and saved over an hour and a half of my time by not listening to the parts of these conversations that weren’t relevant. Just by clicking on the keyword, I instantly skipped to the part of the call I needed to listen to:

This help article contains step-by-step instructions on how to set up a Keyword Spotting set.

3) Understand the user journey

If you’re using Keyword Pools, you can see how users navigate through your website via the Calls by Active Page and Calls by Landing Page statistics in your reporting. This gives you a high-level view of how users interact with your website, and which pages compel them to convert:

Graph of Caller's user journey through website

You can also review caller timelines for a true play-by-play of a customer’s path on your website. You can see which pages a customer visited and revisited, and which ones resulted in a form fill, text, or call:

But this data doesn’t replace a true user testing, where users can verbalize each step they’re taking — for that, customer timelines can help you chart common conversion paths and find any obvious holes in your customer experience.

What were users looking for? How long did it take them to find it? What questions did they have when they contacted you? Which pages drove more qualified leads?

Try some current-state and ideal-state user journey maps, and put yourself in the shoes of your user. How can you make their experience more efficient? Which pages might you remove or combine on your website so they take less steps to get what they need? Which pages do repeat customers like to revisit? (Make sure these aren’t buried in your site navigation!)

Understanding this journey is a great way to encourage empathy for your users, and optimize your website for better UX.

What to do with your research

It’s important to have clear goals for each round of user research you’re conducting: What question are you trying to answer? What specific actions can you take once you have an answer? And what metrics can you use to measure success? The more specific, the better.

Once you have data around a specific topic, try organizing it using the Rose, Bud, Thorn method, and then chart the steps you can take to solve the problem on a matrix — from easy or difficult to implement, and from big or small win for the user. So, the example of whether to a business should open on the weekend would look something like this:

Rose Bud Thorn Method on Whiteboard

This exercise can be quick and low-key, requiring nothing more than a handful of sticky notes on a wall, or color-coded highlighters on a big notepad. It’s a fairly common exercise for quickly visualizing your user research and taking actionable steps towards user-centered improvements.

There’s lots of resources and methods out there, so keep exploring! Here are some other great resources I love for user research ideas and better UX overall:

And if you’re not already using call tracking for user research, there’s no time like the present to get started: Begin your 14-day free trial of CallRail or request a personalized demo.

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