When we think about customer service it’s often limited to when the customer comes to your business because something has gone wrong or they need help with an issue. However, when a company takes a proactive approach to collect customer feedback, it can go a long way in improving customer satisfaction with a business and improving the products or services offered. The problem is many companies are reactive more often proactive in this area.
Creating a dialogue between your company and your customers can significantly improve the way they view your business. If a customer knows you value their opinion and feedback they are more likely to recommend you to their friends and family. Taking customer feedback seriously can not only improve customer satisfaction but can also help grow your business.
What is Customer Feedback and Why Should You Collect It?
Customer feedback provides an opportunity for both your business and consumers to talk about what they like about the product or service and how they think it could be improved. Depending on the size of your business, customer feedback can get overwhelming. So it’s always important to start by looking at why you are collecting feedback and what’s the best way to gather that information.
When it comes to customer feedback, businesses often ignore it because they aren’t sure what to do with the information or are afraid of the feedback they will receive. If you’re looking to improve a product or service at your business the best place to start is by asking those who consume it regularly. You can read more about why it’s so important to get feedback in our recent blog.
There are several ways to collect customer feedback. Every business will have a different approach, as they determine the best fit, but below we list four ways that are more common and will help you tackle this important issue.
Over the last year and a half millions of people have moved to a more virtual lifestyle, and that includes purchasing services or products. Email has become increasingly more important as a way of communicating with consumers. Specifically, email can be a powerful tool when it comes to newer customer feedback.
When a customer signs up for a new product or leaves a plan or service, sending out an email with a short questionnaire can provide vital information for your business. These types of emails tend to have a higher open rate because if a customer is upgrading a service they want to ensure that the upgrade went through. Emails like these are usually short with one or two questions and are easy to fill out, but it allows you to capitalize on getting feedback about their decision.
Likewise, if a customer is leaving or ending service at your business, they want to know that they won’t get charged again. This too creates a space for you to learn how you can improve your services or products.
While most surveys are sent by email, using tools like Survey Monkey, the difference between this and the emails above is the type of customer you’re seeking information from. There are also a few different types of surveys businesses can use depending on the type of information they are seeking.
A long-form survey is best used when you’re looking for detailed information from customers you know are already engaged with your business. It’s not likely that a new customer will fill out a lengthy survey about your business if they don’t know anything about your products or services.
There is no ideal length for these types of surveys, but generally between five and 10 questions will give you the information you’re looking for. Keep in mind that the longer the survey the less time your customer will spend on each question, which can lead to misinformation, and the higher the abandon rate prior to survey completion.
A short-form survey is usually done if your business has an app that customers use often. They can pop up occasionally after a customer has used a particular part of the app. These surveys are useful because customers often think of ways the apps they are using could be better but aren’t likely to voice their opinion unless it’s a bigger problem. Short-form surveys with two to three questions can offer the space for someone to provide feedback that can help improve the way they interact with your business.
Nearly every business is on multiple social media platforms. It’s a great way to get your business name out without having to spend a lot of money. Social media is also a tool you can use to gain customer feedback.
It’s no secret that disgruntled customers use social media as one of their first avenues to voice their concerns. Whether it’s leaving a review or just posting for their followers to see, social media provides a platform for anyone to talk about your business, good or bad. You must be actively listening to your customers.
Typically, people on social media aren’t there because they are looking for you. So, you are the one that must seek them out for feedback. Don’t be afraid to ask them! More importantly if you do ask them for feedback don’t ignore them. If someone responds or comments on a post, acknowledge it and thank them for spending time to share their opinion. When a customer knows you’re listening, you’re more likely to get even more responses.
Direct Customer Interviews
Surveys, emails, and social media all have one thing in common: it’s all written communication. But it can be hard at times to tell the tone of someone’s feedback when it’s only written out. That’s when a phone call can provide more in-depth feedback than the other three options can’t – especially when there’s an issue that has been presented.
It’s important that the person who is calling your customers is empathetic to their concerns and offers helpful solutions to their problems. One thing to keep in mind is that these are NOT sales calls. Customers don’t want to be sold a product or service if they have a problem with your business. These should only be used as a way to resolve an issue with an existing customer. If your business can do that you’re more likely to retain their business in the future.
When a customer feels like a business hears their concerns or compliments it creates trust. In an age where more and more business is being done virtually, getting feedback is vitally important to creating customer brand loyalty, positive word-of-mouth, and testimonials.