Customer feedback is one of the quickest and most efficient ways to improve your business. Twenty years ago, if a customer had a question or issue, they would write a letter or call a hotline. Companies still use this model, but most marketers and small business owners are more interested in getting quick, detailed feedback from their customers online.
There are numerous ways to collect feedback from your audience, and marketers know that this information is essential. A survey revealed that 95% of people polled say collecting and measuring current customer data is their most significant marketing barrier.
How to gather customer feedback
The following are a few of the most popular methods for customer feedback collection. Some companies utilize one technique at a time to determine the effectiveness and better gauge ROI. Budget and time constraints often dictate which strategy is used.
Surveys have always been the gold standard for collecting customer feedback. With surveys, your team members decide on a small set of questions to ask customers about their experiences. Surveys can be delivered to customers in a number of ways, including site pop-ups and email. Shorter-form surveys typically generate the most feedback, but you could test longer-form types. Surveys may follow a rating system and provide boxes to provide additional comments. Questions should be open-ended. Most companies aim for surveys that take under two minutes to complete.
If you want to get more in-depth feedback, you can collect feedback via phone calls. You may ask similar open-ended questions as posed in the surveys. Although customer feedback collection takes longer with this method, you get better insights. You can judge the tone of each person that is interviewed and also decide to answer follow-up questions if needed.
Engage customers in real time by using a live chat feature on your website. Representatives can collect data and ask follow-up questions based on customers' answers. According to Broadly, conversions through live chat features are three times more than other types.
Email works best for quick responses, with most businesses only sending a few short questions to be answered. Auto-response emails are useful when sending out customer feedback questions after any interactions.
Case studies can help companies elicit feedback on their products and services. Case studies involve taking a small group of participants and collecting their feedback after using a product or service offered by your brand. Many case studies involve bringing together customers with similar backgrounds to gain useful insights.
Customer relationship management (CRM) reports can be generated through your CRM software. The CRM software records data about each client interaction and then generates analytics for your review. Representatives using the CRM program can enter any feedback gathered during client interactions for review at a later time.
With social media, analysts can "listen" and determine what is being said – good and bad – about a company. As an example, if you advertise a product and find negative comments, you may want to investigate the issue further.
Benefits of gathering customer feedback
We are going to take a look at the following benefits of obtaining customer feedback:
- Improving your UX
- Building social influence and increasing engagement
- Evolving your product line and creating a development roadmap
- Improving customer support channels
In addition to talking about the advantages of collecting information from your audience, we will also explore how to increase the number of consumers who provide feedback about your brand.
1. Improve the user experience.
User experience (UX) is more than just how your website looks; it's how all the components function together. Often, we can miss a bug or glitch, even after vigorous testing. Odds are good that the consumers on your website will find an issue that your testing team didn't identify. That’s not to say that testers are inefficient, but there are likely more consumers using your site daily than there are testers on your team.
When a consumer finds one of these bugs, they need to have a quick way to provide feedback to your support team. If you've ever started scrolling through a program only to have it crash, you likely received a notification telling you that there was an error. Normally, you can send your data to the team for review. This tactic is just one way to collect UX feedback. You could also consider adding an easy-to-use contact form to the sidebar of your website.
Contact forms are an effective way to ask your audience if they have any constructive feedback on their experience with your business. If you want to take it a step further, you can send out periodic emails to your subscribers, or one email to new customers, and ask about their experience. Make sure to include a question about what they would change about their experience if they could. This data is useful for growing your business and providing value to your customers.
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2. Build social influence.
Social influence, or social proof, is a phenomenon where people are more likely to buy something if they see other people buying and using products from the same brand. You can build social proof with consumer feedback in several ways, but one of the best is using testimonial pages. These are extraordinarily helpful at showing potential customers why your brand is worth their time. You can use the feedback you receive through your contact forms to build testimonial pages for your website.
Feedback encompasses what people say on your contact forms and includes the opinions they express on social media, both directly and indirectly. When consumers mention your brand, comment on your posts, or send you a message, they are providing valuable feedback that you can use to build social proof or enhance your business. Part of understanding your target audience is seeing how they view your brand and products.
Regardless of the type of feedback customers leave your business, it's vital that you respond to as many people as possible and take their opinions seriously. The people who leave feedback are doing so because they want to praise you, or they see room for improvement. By responding to them, you'll also improve engagement, which can lead to more beneficial feedback.
3. Evolve your product line.
As your business continues to grow, you'll want to think about adding new products or services. It only makes sense to listen to what consumers expect from your business if you hope to gain their trust and turn them into lifelong customers.
For example, if an online pet store has a ton of customers asking when they are going to add dog and cat treats, this is a great feedback cue. Current customers are happy with your products but wish you could meet their additional needs.
Before every development roadmap, you should take customer feedback into consideration. In the previous example, you would want to start looking for ways to include high-quality pet treats on your growing list of products.
It doesn't matter what niche you operate in – this tip will help you use feedback as a growth tool. Listening to your customers and creating a product or feature that's in demand will improve your retention rate and could boost your sales and conversion rates.
4. Improve customer service.
Finally, customer feedback is an excellent way to improve the way you help future customers. If you use a chatbot, feedback can help you program and refine your bot to help customers with common questions or concerns. Consider that 75% of consumers expect a response to their question in five minutes or less. Speed and accuracy play a crucial role in obtaining and retaining customers.
If you use a live customer service team, you can educate your employees on the common issues customers mention when they submit their contact forms. For example, if half of your contact forms contain the same question or complaint, consumers are likely coming to your customer support channel with the same problem. This tactic gives you a chance to educate your team and help them create a fast, helpful answer when a customer comes to them for assistance.
A knowledgeable customer support team is a huge advantage to online business owners. In your pursuit of building a broad audience, you may lose some interaction with your customers. A strong support team can bridge this gap, move leads through your sales funnel and boost the loyalty of current customers.
The key to using customer feedback to your advantage is recognizing patterns. As business owners, we spend almost every waking minute thinking about trends in our sales and conversions. However, it's our customers who allow us to thrive and exist. We have to be mindful of how consumers perceive our brands and look for patterns in the feedback we receive from them.
As your customer count rises, you'll have a higher chance of identifying trends and making changes based on feedback. UX, social proof, development roadmaps and customer support all pivot on how customers interact and use our products and services. Without input from the people who frequent your website, you would be forced to just use your best judgment on how to expand your business. When you have data from customers in front of you, it's clear that there is an advantage to obtaining and using this feedback during every step of the development and marketing process.