Ten Ways to Get Customer Feedback
What is customer feedback and why is it important?
Customer feedback refers to input from customers about their experience with your business, products, or services. This could come in the form of information, insights, problems, or compliments. Customer feedback is especially important to businesses as it can:
Measure customer satisfaction
Identify gaps in business processes or customer journeys
Inform business decisions
Evaluate market standing and competitiveness
More importantly, the continual improvements and fine-tuning of business processes will translate into happier customers, and drive business growth.
Although it is not possible to find out what every customer is thinking, having feedback channels in place will go some way in addressing the questions above (and other similar ones).
How can I gather feedback?
There are many ways to gather feedback. Before deciding how you want to collect feedback, you must know what you want to find out, such as:
I want to improve the online/physical user experience.
I want to find out why people eventually decided not to buy my product/service.
I want to find out if people are receptive to my new products/services.
Methods of feedback collection
Methods of gathering feedback can be broadly divided into two categories – passive and active. Passive methods are those that can be tracked in the background, or provided by customers along the user journey, such as on-site activity analytics, customer support channels, or social media. Active methods, on the other hand, refer to when you intentionally reach out to customers, such as via customer interviews, surveys, or usability testing.
1. Customer support channels
Customer support channels such as a customer service hotline, email, and customer contact form are not only helplines for customers but also help businesses identify pain points such as product quality, content marketing and service lapses through quantitative and qualitative feedback from existing customers. However, this method might mean that you miss out on other groups of customers — satisfied customers, dissatisfied customers who do not provide feedback, and non-customers.
2. Onsite activity analytics
Analytics provide insights into how customers interact with a product or service that they may or may not think of talking about, and this helps businesses improve user experience, in both physical and virtual settings. For example, in a physical setting, if the average time a commuter spends in a train station is longer than expected, it could mean that improvements to wayfinding and navigation need to be made. In the virtual context, heatmaps provide information on how users are interacting with the website and indicates what interests them, what they find difficult to navigate, etc.
3. Online sensing
Ratings and reviews contribute significantly to customers’ purchasing decisions, with the trend more prevalent in younger generations.
(Image retrieved from Influencer Marketing Hub)
Keeping track of these online conversations highlights novel viewpoints about the product or service, such as aspects of the business that customers appreciate or feel could be changed. Responding promptly to these conversations can also improve and maintain your business’ brand reputation. These insights may eventually shape your branding and/or product marketing strategy.
Surveys are one of the most common methods of gathering feedback. They generate feedback specific to the issues or challenges faced, and can be administered in many ways — email, telephone, or in person . The length of the survey is dependent on the mode of administration. Street surveys should be shorter and to the point, as respondents are likely to be on the move, while email surveys can afford to be slightly longer.
5. Quick polls
Quick polls are the express version of surveys. Businesses use them to gather customer sentiment about products or services quickly over a short period of time by asking questions that do not require elaborate answers – for instance, reactions or emojis and yes/no responses could be used. The high interactivity and convenience makes it easy for customers to give their feedback. Some businesses also use these casual and informal polls to determine customer interest in new product releases and/or upcoming collaborations.
(Image retrieved from Aspiration Marketing)
6. Feedback boxes
Feedback boxes, once inconspicuously located in the corners of shops and businesses, have also gone digital, and are now one-question forms strategically positioned on a website, such as a pop-up at the end of a purchase order. While surveys tackle a specific issue already known to the business owner, feedback boxes bring insights, such as software bugs or other problems faced by the customer, that a business may not be aware of.
While online sensing is done in the background with (or without) customers’ knowledge, building an online community centred on your business is more proactive. Through sharing their experiences, customers are not only able to crowdsource solutions to common problems, but also come up with new ideas, while fostering a sense of belonging to a community.
despite requiring constant monitoring and moderation, the discussions and comments help businesses stay in sync with customers’ changing expectations and needs. Usability testing
Usability testing evaluates the intuitiveness of a product or service by observing real user behaviour. It is best suited for surfacing issues causing confusion and uncovering ways to improve the overall user journey. The complexity of testing is scalable – it could be as simple as offering someone access to a beta website in exchange for a regular activity log, or something more complex like tracking eyeball movement. Some businesses make use of such a tool to refine product design details or new features.
8. Face-to-face interviews
Whether they are group or 1-to-1 interviews, reaching out directly to customers in person opens conversations that might not happen otherwise. Despite being more resource-intensive, face-to-face interviews allow for deep-diving into customers’ actions and thoughts. People are also more inclined to share personal experiences when they can put a face to their interviewer. The gathered qualitative stories and interviewees’ non-verbal cues during the interviews add a human dimension to cold numbers provided by other methods.
9. Live chats
Live chats feature prominently in many online retail businesses. By communicating directly with customer support, customers can easily seek clarification on simple queries and problems with little downtime. Even if the issue cannot be resolved immediately, the customer is assured that someone is looking into it. Moreover, being able to respond promptly to customers’ enquiries boosts businesses’ chances of making a successful sale. Finding out the most common enquiries or problems will help businesses prioritise issue resolution.
Food for Thought: Incentivisation
Incentivisation is not technically a method to gathering feedback. However, it is often used in tandem with many of the methods to encourage customer feedback. For instance, restaurants might offer a free drink or a side dish in exchange for customer service feedback or a review on social media. Online retail businesses might offer a discount on the next purchase. Private hire apps sometimes offer cashback or priority booking. In some cases, cash vouchers are offered for longer form feedback methods such as surveys or interviews.
Although it has been used to great effect, incentivization is a double-edged sword. While businesses’ intention is to thank well-meaning customers for providing feedback, it may not draw accurate reviews from customers.
Which feedback method is the best?
There is no one-size-fits all method, as every approach has its advantages and disadvantages and the method chosen depends on the purpose for collecting feedback. Many businesses use a combination of feedback methods, for example, using quick polls on social platforms, and integrating live chats into their customer support channels.
Ultimately, it is more important to act on the feedback you receive. Inaction may be detrimental to your business. Page Break
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