The best way to know what your customers think about your brand, service, and product is to collect feedback directly from them. The goal is to go beyond simple likes and dislikes and gain an understanding of your customers along with their feelings about your product. The feedback will aid in evaluating where you can improve and where you stand among the competition.
By using customer feedback, you allow your business to support a customer-first model that turns the customers into decision-makers for the company. The feedback will direct the moves your company makes as it grows and evolves. This, in turn, helps your business thrive.
Here are some suggestions on how to best generate customer feedback.
1) Post a link to a survey on social media.
Collect feedback by meeting your customers where they are: on social media. Simply post the survey link in a blog post, in Facebook status updates, as a Tweet or Instagram post—any method of sharing on any social media platform will increase the survey's visibility and ensure more people will take it.
Be aware, though, that the best part about using social media is also one of its downfalls: the response bias. Engaged customers who choose to take the survey are most often going to be the customers who want to show you how they love you. Or show you the polar opposite. Either end of the spectrum skews your results.
Keep in mind the possibility of response bias, but do use social media to post links to your surveys. You will likely produce a large response and the more platforms you post to, the more responses you'll get. The outliers will have less impact with higher numbers of responses.
2) Run social media contests.
If you get higher customer engagement you're on your way to collecting more customer feedback. One way to get that engagement is to implement contests on your social media channels. Contests get people's attention, and one option is to have followers fill out a survey to enter the contest. Or send the survey after they've entered the contest.
3) Use Instagram Stories to collect feedback.
Instagram has been a generally underused platform by businesses, but it's more than sharing photos. The Stories feature is a great way to collect feedback on one of the most popular apps in the world. Pose questions within the app or conduct a poll.
4) Have a structured process for getting feedback from your customers.
Customers might think of ways your site could be better when they're using it, but they generally don't reach out to your support team for minor issues or annoyances...they just get frustrated. They will reach out only when the problem is serious. Surveys might catch the trouble but you can't count on it. So you need to get customers to tell you about the small things. The easiest way for them to do so is right when they experience it, when they're on your website or app. How do you capture their ideas and issues?
Use a feedback box.
Make the feedback box as simple and easy to use as possible to encourage everyone to tell you about even minor annoyances. Then you can address each issue before it grows and you lose the customer. And remember every piece of feedback gets your response. Respond quickly, even if you don't yet know exactly what they're trying to tell you about.
5) Monitor social media channels.
Engage with your audience, send direct messages, and respond to comments to see how people really feel about your company. Fast responses are expected so have resources watching all channels. This is a good way to track trends and events that can influence your company.
6) Offer a reward in return for feedback.
Typically, customers are more likely to send feedback after a negative experience than they are to provide positive feedback. You can encourage feedback from every customer by offering incentives in exchange for their input.
These incentives can be free shipping, discounts on future purchases, samples, or gift cards. The incentive should be of value to the customer, not an opportunity to cross-sell. Negate the risk of this looking like a bribe by being sure your tone underlines that this is a genuine effort to improve customer service.
7) Request feedback on the order confirmation page.
Just after a customer has placed an order is the perfect time to get feedback on the customer's shopping experience. Address whether there was any difficulty in navigating the site, finding the desired product, and whether they were happy with the options presented. Ask about improvements to the site and if any difficulties were encountered.
8) Create an online community.
Creating a forum or community on your site or a social network is easy to implement and can generate a lot of feedback. It does require continuous monitoring and a moderator. The moderator's responsibilities include responding to feedback comments, positive and negative; starting and moderating discussions; and posting and updating regularly. This engagement strengthens your relationships with customers as well as generating feedback and ideas.
9) Request feedback when a cart is abandoned.
Install a popup with a small text box asking the customer why they did not proceed to checkout. To make it easier to get a response from the departing customer, you can create a multiple-choice list to share the reason (or reasons) for cart abandonment.
10) Send out email surveys to new customers.
This should be sent out within 3 to 5 days of order confirmation. You might request feedback on a number of aspects of their user experience with you, including:
- How they chose to purchase from your site; was it price, availability, shipping, return policy, search results, or something else?
- How they actually found your business; search engine, referral, social media, a comparison site, somebody's blog post, online advertising, or something else?
- Get their feedback on your product/service; quality, price, availability, anything that factored in a purchase decision.
- What was the overall user experience? Specifically, ease of site navigation, customer service experience, delivery time, quality of communication, and suggestions for improvement, or areas that were problematic but not fatal to the transaction.
- Be certain you are clear that you're seeking their feedback for customer satisfaction purposes and not for cross-selling.
Why all the attention on collecting customer feedback?
Customer feedback helps you, as a Startup, understand why people are doing what they're doing. Why is one feature more popular than another? Why aren't your customers creating accounts? Why has usage of your product gone down? If you match customer feedback to what you see in your analytics, you get a clearer picture of what's going on. Then you know how to fix problems and pursue the best opportunities.