Need some insights into how your customers view your service? Customer feedback is the answer.
What is Customer Feedback?
Customer feedback is any kind of information you can gain from your customer. Specifically, feedback gives you insights into a customer’s experience with your brand. The great thing about customer feedback is getting all of the information you need in order to improve. Whether it’s assessing your online checkout process, quality of customer service or suitability of products, you can tailor your customer feedback efforts to hone in on any part of your business you want to improve.
Naturally, feedback may be positive or negative, but it’s actually the negative feedback that gives you the most insight. This highlights what you need to improve on to provide a better customer experience. Best of all, there are countless ways you can gather this crucial customer feedback.
Why is customer feedback important?
Customer feedback is so important because it lets you view your business through a customer’s eyes. Often, it’s easy to view all of your products, services and processes through the lens of a business owner. This means you may have processes that seem effective from a business point of view, but that may not necessarily connect with what your customers want.
Even if you’ve done extensive customer journey mapping, you never truly know what the customer’s experience is like until you hear from them directly. This is where surveys and other forms of collecting feedback are invaluable to your business. The customer experience is such an important factor in your success or failure, so it’s worth investing some time into.
We don’t want to make it sound like seeking customer feedback is all negative though. You’ll no doubt get plenty of positive feedback too, and this fortifies the parts of your business that are working well. With this knowledge, you can ensure you don’t go changing things just for the sake of change. Maintain the things that work well, and address the things that need improvement.
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How to Collect Customer Feedback
Now, it’s time to look at how to get customer feedback. There are several ways you can go about it, and we’ll address some of these shortly. But there are a couple of important things to consider before you start.
Firstly, understand that there are different types of customer feedback. You can get feedback on your products, customer service feedback, feedback on the customer experience or even your brand as a whole. To get the right feedback, you need to ask the right questions.
Secondly, goal setting is crucial in this part of your business. Any time you seek customer feedback, you should have a very clear intention in mind. If you want to know about how your product confirms, you should ask questions relevant to the product. If you want to find out whether your order fulfilment times are acceptable, ask customers if they’re satisfied with this. If you ask too many questions, the information you get in return gets muddy and confusing. Plus, customers are usually happy to answer a couple of simple questions, but they don’t want to spend half an hour trawling through a huge survey.
Here are some ideas on how to collect customer feedback.
1. Email surveys
Email is perhaps the most common way of seeking feedback, because it’s quick and easily accessible. Plus, it can be automated from your end if you have the right software. If you’ve built a customer list, it’s easy to send emails to all of your customers, or selected ones using certain qualifiers. For example, you might choose to send a survey to customers who haven’t shopped with you for over 12 months. This is a great way to find out why, or what would entice them to come back.
Alternatively, you can send very short, simple surveys following completion of an order, asking how happy a customer is with your service. It’s also a great way to target specific parts of your sales process by asking basic questions about pricing, customer service, delivery times and much more.
When you send email surveys, it’s always a nice touch if you send personalised responses. So, before firing off those emails, have a plan in place for who is going to respond. This increases brand loyalty and shows customers that their feedback really matters.
2. Social media
There’s an old saying about meeting your customers where they already are. While this applies to how you sell, it can also apply to how you seek feedback. Most of your customers will use some form of social media, so it makes sense to run polls or seek customer feedback through these channels.
For example, if you use Instagram, you can add polls into your stories. Facebook also allows you to publish polls and collect results. Not only do you get some valuable feedback, but you also engage with your customers.
The other, more simple way to collect feedback on social media is to simply read comments that users add to your posts. You can reply to them, showing their feedback matters, or even contact them directly if their comment requires further investigation.
3. Online customer surveys
If you already have a website that gets plenty of visitors, why not utilise it to gather customer feedback? There are some great ways to use short slider surveys, or even long-form surveys on your website to collect valuable information.
You can also use specialist online software such as Square Feedback. This allows users to contact you directly, or you can even contact them following a purchase. The great thing about this option is it’s completely private. So, you don’t have negative feedback popping up on your social media because you address issues quickly and directly.
4. Direct customer outreach
There’s one method of collecting feedback that often gets forgotten in our digital world: the telephone. If you have access to customer phone numbers and you want to take a deep dive into their experience with your company, why not pick up the phone?
Much like email, you could filter your phone calls to only contact customers under certain circumstances, such as recent purchasers or those who have given a poor review online. Not only is this a good source of information, but also an opportunity to turn disgruntled customers into loyal ones. If you take this route, especially with unhappy customers, it’s a good idea to have something you can offer them as an incentive to return.
5. Usability testing
Usability testing often gets forgotten, because we tend to focus more heavily on feedback forms like surveys and polls. But giving users the chance to inform how a product or service is developed is a great method. Usability testing can look very different depending on your business, but it basically involves letting customers try something for free, in exchange for feedback and suggestions.
Software companies do it by releasing beta versions of products. Restaurants could do it with new menu items. Service-based companies can offer a free trial and seek feedback upon completion of the trial.
6. On-site analytics
Sometimes, feedback doesn’t need to come directly from customers. You have plenty of analytics at your disposal which can also give you some valuable feedback. For example, if you have a powerful POS tool like Square, you can access Square Analytics to get terrific insight into customer behaviour. For example, you can identify returning customers, popular times of day for purchases, how much is spent by certain demographics. The list is almost endless. All of this information can fuel your business decisions.
Alternatively, you can also access similar information from your website. Use tools like Google Analytics to determine where customers are falling over in the sales funnel to determine which areas of the customer journey need improvement.
7. Website suggestion boards
Finally, why not put a modern spin on a tried and proven method of customer feedback? Brick-and-mortar stores, restaurants, bars and cafes used to always have a suggestion box where customers could provide ideas. Well, in the modern world, you can do exactly the same thing in a digital setting.
Website suggestion boards are a great way to gather customer feedback online. You can even make these boards public, so that other customers can upvote or comment on the ideas. It’s a good way to get a feel for what your audience wants, and can therefore deliver more revenue channels in the future.