5 methods and techniques to obtain customer feedback

Collecting feedback from your customers might seem like an easy task, but there’s a lot more to it than just assuming they’ll tell you what they think. Every company wants their product and service to be the best - you want to be your customer’s go-to option, and for that, you need to meet their needs and keep them satisfied. To find out if you are doing a good job in that department, customer feedback is crucial.

Why is customer feedback so important?

Unless you know what your customers like or don’t like about your brand, how will you know which areas to improve on and what to give them more of? Customer feedback provides you with a clearer picture of what’s going on in your business and ensures that you focus on the right opportunities for long-term growth. It also provides a key opportunity to benchmark your business against your competitors and identify areas for growth within the industry.

There are so many customer feedback channels out there, you need to use the right ones for your business. Let’s look at how to get customer feedback online so you can decide which ones work best for you.

1. Surveys

Customer surveys are a basic, yet extremely effective, method of obtaining customer feedback. They’re simple and straightforward to set up and very easy to scale and distribute. There are plenty of survey applications and tools available online today that make setting up, reaching your audience and obtaining customer feedback quick and hassle-free. Surveys sent through SMS have a much higher open rate than email and are a great way to reach your customers directly.

Long surveys offer a more in-depth analysis of your audience. It might seem like no one wants to fill out long surveys, but there are a few tricks to keep in mind to get the feedback you are looking for.

  • First, prepare them for what’s to come. Tell them how many questions to expect and how much time they’ll need to dedicate to it
  • Use open-ended questions where customers can really express their thoughts and you won’t be restricting them to answers of your own assumptions
  • Only ask questions that serve a clear purpose. You want answers and feedback that you can use and not large chunks of useless information!

Short surveys can be incorporated into your website or in-app as well, as these make use of multiple-choice questions with predetermined answers and are purpose-led. Keep the questions relevant to the page your customer is on and ask them for their thoughts on what they are currently looking at. In-app surveys can be triggered when a transaction is complete as well to obtain their immediate reaction on a feature. You can integrate feedback at your point-of-sale in-store, as well as online.

2. Social media

Social media is one of the most invaluable customer feedback channels you can cash in on. It's cost-effective (your business should already be active on social media) and provides some genuine insight into customer behaviour (as people are happy to share their opinions socially).

Almost 60% of customers prefer to interact with companies through social media and other online channels, rather than using voice-based support. Talk to customers where they are most comfortable and they’re more likely to tell you their honest opinion about you.

  • Make use of the unique interactive features that social media provides to obtain customer feedback. Polls, quizzes, questions, chat, and rating options on Instagram stories are a great way to engage your audience. Today’s Instagram users prefer to watch a brand’s story than go through their posts on their feed, and leaving feedback is a very quick process on these channels
  • Encourage audience participation. You can gain customer feedback under the guise of competitions and interactivity by asking their feedback in exchange for a prize. The more likes, mentions, comments and shares you get, the more people you can ask for feedback
  • Keep an eye on comments. Set aside time to sift through the comments you get on your posts across all your social media channels. Most of these can offer you valuable insights on what you’re doing well and where you are lacking. You can also monitor your competitor’s posts to see what their audience is saying. What is their tone of voice like? Are most of the comments positive or negative? Identify any keys issues that you can address or avoid right away from your competitor's feedback.

3. Reviews

How to get customer feedback online the surefire way? Simply ask them to leave a review. 93% of consumers base their purchasing decisions on online reviews. This is a substantial amount of the market to tap into for their opinion and feedback. Reviews have the power to influence other shoppers, your competition and can gain you great insight into the mindset of the reviewer.

  • On-page reviews: Choose to incorporate product reviews and services reviews into your webpage. Here is an example of one we did for The Perfume Shop. By having all your reviews on our own pages you have more control of the narrative and showcase various types of feedback at once. Make sure to respond to all feed comments, especially the negative ones. It shows your customer that you care about their feelings and shows potential clients how responsive you are to feedback and customer experience
  • Use feedback monitoring sites: Many companies prefer to use third-party review websites and apps to collect reviews. Websites like TripAdvisor and Yelp are well known across the world and used by most online users to share their opinion and influence their decision. Actively ask your customers to leave a review on these websites and assign a dedicated team member to monitor and respond to them consistently.

4. Live chat

Online shoppers regularly rely on and use the ‘live chat’ feature that most websites have and it's a great tool to obtain customer feedback as well. Live chat allows customers to air their grievances, ask questions, resolve issues and locate what they need as soon as they want and in real-time.

Keep transcripts of all interactions with your customers, from live-chats to recording sales and customer service calls. You never know which conversation and interaction will provide you with something valuable. Take swift action on resolving any issue, use the transcripts to identify patterns and problem areas you can improve on and, if you can, get back to that customer to tell them you have resolved their issue. Going through large transcripts from hundreds and thousands of customers can be time-consuming, but does provide direct feedback from your customers in an unbiased way.

5. Net Promoter Score

The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a metric that tells you your customer’s experience and loyalty and is a great measure of customer satisfaction. You can incorporate an NPS scale within your customer feedback form. It enables you to get a quick snapshot of how your customers feel about you, and helps you to resolve issues before they escalate.

The NPS is calculated on a scale of 0 to 10 in response to one simple question - 'How likely is it that you would recommend our company/product/service to a friend or colleague?'. You can then choose to follow this with other open-ended questions encouraging customers to elaborate on their response.

Scores of 9 and 10 are from ‘promoters’ and they will give the most positive feedback. Responses of 7 and 8 are mainly neutral and NPS scores of 6 and under are from ‘detractors’. These are usually negative experiences and grievances. If your negatives outweigh the positives, then you need to take a look at what is causing so much grief amongst your customer base.

Other methods of obtaining customer feedback

The customer feedback channels available today are endless, but some other popular methods include:

  • Your website’s contact us page. This is a must-have on every single website. Have clear instructions on how a customer can reach you and provide them with multiple options. From a contact form to fill out to a telephone number, email address to social media channels — your customer can choose to reach you however they are comfortable
  • Interviews and focus groups. Conduct face-to-face sessions with your target audience to see how they feel about your brand and business.

Which customer feedback channels are right for you?

The customer feedback channels listed in this guide serve as a great starting point for your business to get cracking on finding out what your customers are saying and how they’re feeling. Use two or three at a time and monitor the results - the important thing is to action their feedback to make the necessary improvements to your business.

Overall customer satisfaction should be a goal throughout all your departments, starting from the top. It's not just the responsibility of your customer service team. From marketing to finance, sales to web development, there is an ample number of opportunities to get customer feedback along the way. Start collecting feedback early to reap the benefits in the long run.

 

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