How to Collect Effective Customer Feedback
Collecting effective customer feedback means taking the time to understand what truly matters to your customers. And with these insights you can tailor every aspect of your business to reflect your customers’ needs: from the design of your website, to the shape and colour of your products, to the messages you convey with your marketing.
Effective customer feedback is the foundation of any customer experience programme – no matter how big or small.
So, let’s consider some of the ways you can collect effective customer feedback.
Before You Begin
Before you start to gather feedback from your customers, take the time to decide just what you want to learn. Understanding and connecting with your business is just as important for a small business owner as it is for a large multi-national company.
Customer feedback can provide insights into a number of areas:
- Which of your products and services are the most popular? Which ones aren’t so popular?
- What annoys customers about your customer service? Or your onboarding? Or your marketing? What do they like about these things?
- How loyal are customers to your brand? How likely are they to switch to one of your competitors?
- What do your customers really think about your brand? What sort of words and feelings do they associate with you?
Deciding what you want to find out through your customer research will help you determine which sort of questions to ask in your various surveys. It will also help you determine which customer feedback channel will work best for your research.
Let’s take a look at some of the channels you have to choose from.
A common way to reach your past and present customers, email questionnaires can give you dedicated feedback direct from your customer base.
The questions you ask in your survey are crucial. Not only do you have to ask the right questions to get the sort of insights you want. You also have to phrase them in such a way that it’s easy for your customers to understand just what it is you’re asking of them.
Without the right questions, it can make it near-on impossible to analyse effectively and find practical ways for you to apply and action your learnings.
With sites like Survey Monkey and Mailchimp, it’s easy for smaller businesses to craft basic feedback surveys to share with their customers too. Survey Monkey in particular is a great asset here. Once you’ve gathered your answers, it’ll automatically generate detailed yet accessible reports showing how people answered your questions.
Online surveys contained in emails can’t be too long, but you might expect customers to spend up to 10 minutes completing them. You can ask a lot of questions, and get a lot of feedback, in 10 minutes!
But if you’d just like to gather feedback on a single aspect of your business, you don’t have to resort to a full online survey. Instead, you could add a pop-up to your website.
It shouldn’t be too obtrusive, and it should be optional for customers to complete it. And you should only ask one or two open-ended or multiple-choice questions. So choose your questions wisely!
Many businesses use this method to gather feedback on certain aspects of their web design. They might ask customers to consider how easy their site is to use, for example. Other businesses use this technique to gather feedback on customer service. Having used an online customer service rep or chatbot, customers might see a pop-up, inviting them to rate the customer service they received.
It’s Good to Talk
Want to know how customers really feel about you? Then why not give them a call? Doing this on a large scale can be labour intensive, but a small-scale semi-structured survey can help add context to questionnaires and other voice of the customer research programmes.
Knowing that you really care about their thoughts and feedback can make the customer feel valued, and more likely to open up.
The great thing about talking to customers over the phone is that you can have a conversation: an actual two-way exchange between human beings. You’ll be able to determine the true emotions behind the customer’s opinions and apply this to your other forms of research.
If you want to gather this sort of feedback, you’ll really need to think about what you’re trying to learn from it. For feedback on your product and possible improvements, it’s best to talk to customers who have been using your products or services for a while. The better they understand who you are and what you’re trying to do, the more insightful their feedback is likely to be.
But if you’re looking for information on brand reputation, expectations and initial impressions then new customers could be a better option.
With this customer feedback channel, your emphasis should be on quality rather than quantity. Aim to talk to a select set of customers in more depth, rather than hundreds of randomly selected customers.
Read Your Reviews
And not just the good ones!
Not all reviews are helpful. In fact, some might be decidedly unhelpful – or even hurtful. But even the most vitriolic review might contain some seeds of truth. A scathing one-star review might be filled to the brim with insights into how you could better meet your customers’ needs.
Make it as easy as possible for your customers to review you. Give them as many opportunities as possible to have their say. Anyone can review any business on Facebook or Google. You can also search for your business on sites like Trustpilot and Glassdoor. If you’re in the hospitality industry, you’ll probably be able to find yourself on TripAdvisor. If you sell products you might be able to find reviews on Amazon and other ecommerce sites.
These places can be goldmines for effective customer feedback. For larger companies, sentiment analysis can be an effective indicator of customer feelings towards the brand and particular products.
Listen to the Voice of the Customer
If you really want to understand your customers, you have to listen to what they’re saying at every point of the customer journey – from initial discovery, to final purchase, and beyond.
For this, you need to invest in a Cx Programme.
CXExplore is our Voice of the Customer (VoC) programme toolkit. We’ll tailor a method to gather feedback at every stage of your customers’ journey. Our methods include SMS push notifications, website pop-ups, telephone interviews, social media listening, and focus groups. We’ll use whatever mechanism we know will most effectively gather the insights you need at every touchpoint.
With this, you’ll be able to listen to and understand your customers’ entire experience. From the way they react to your marketing, to the way they feel when browsing your website, to the vibes they get from your social media, we’ll help you to understand it all.