What is customer feedback?
Customer feedback is information you receive directly from customers that pertain to their level of satisfaction or dissatisfaction with your product or service as well as other impressions made on them. It should always be taken in with an eye on addressing these concerns in the future or building on the positives.
Customer feedback can exist in many shapes and forms. From techniques that rely on pure numbers to gather data such as surveys to one on one discussions. From questions posed at addressing specific concerns and gaps in information to candid and open-ended conversations. From short and sweet 2 or 3 question forms to extensive questionnaires that span multiple pages.
It’s important that you are able to take advantage of all these methods of soliciting customer feedback to get a well-rounded picture of your brand’s performance and perception. In this article, we will help you by discussing the importance of customer feedback and revealing some of the most widely used and effective ways to collect it.
Why is customer feedback so important?
Improve on your products or services
This is probably the most obvious reason why customer feedback is so important. Sometimes things happen once a product or service is launched that simply cannot be predicted beforehand. It’s also very possible that you might’ve just completely missed the mark on this occasion when planning your goods according to your target market. Or maybe the needs of your customers just shifted with time. Continuous feedback is crucial to keep developing and evolving to meet your customer’s needs.
Build brand loyalty and improve customer retention
Collecting customer feedback in the first place already signals to existing and potential customers that you operate transparently and listen to your customer’s concerns. If they actually see changes made based on this feedback, it will greatly fuel public opinion and trust in your brand.
Find and build relationships with advocates
As consumers ourselves, we all know how much we value and are persuaded by word of mouth opinions of a product. Reaching out to customers with open ears is sure to put you in contact and create advocates for your brand. This is especially important today where bloggers and influencers can hold so much sway over a whole online community of people.
You can identify them based on number of purchases, frequency of interaction or their willingness to participate in your customer feedback channels.
How to collect customer feedback?
Now that we have established why and how important customer feedback is for your business and brand as a whole, let’s look at some of the most effective ways you can collect it:
Customer Ratings and Reviews
It’s a well-known fact that word of mouth is still one of the most effective ways someone can be convinced to buy your product. After all, consumers know that in the end sellers and producers are motivated primarily by sales and profit and you can’t always trust marketing 100%. A study by BrightLocal found that 88% of users trust online reviews and ratings just as much as real-world ones.
However, other consumers have no ulterior motivations (except maybe in the case of affiliates). Few things will be as effective at persuading someone browsing your product to take the final step in purchasing it as a page full of good reviews and ratings.
Mass customer surveys
Whenever conducting mass customer surveys, it’s a numbers game. Sure, the response rates for these types of surveys are typically low, generally hovering around the 10% mark. However, you can disseminate these surveys to hundreds, thousands, maybe even millions of consumers in one go.
Typically you send out requests to fill out surveys via email. Because they are longer and ask premeditated questions aimed at answering specific questions, you can get a much more detailed and focused set of customer feedback. Just be careful of leading questions that can distort your feedback significantly.
Almost everyone nowadays is one some form of social media. Social media has also evolved beyond merely being an online platform for people to stay in touch. Businesses have realized the potential for them to reach out to millions of their potential customers at the same time. You can use it to ask users to fill out longer surveys, make them aware of new products or ask them to take part in polls.
Social media is very effective at quickly gathering straightforward opinions from users. Facebook, for example, has a simple, yet effective, poll feature that you can use to find out what people prefer between a few different options. Platforms, such as Instagram, Twitter, etc. have similar features but also have their own unique aspects to take advantage of.
Although it might sound very similar to a survey, there are a few important distinctions between feedback forms and surveys. Think of them more as those suggestions cards you often find at restaurants. They are meant to provide answers relevant to something the user is doing right at that moment or has just experienced.
They should be located somewhere on the site itself for active users to easily notice and fill in (hopefully) but should not interrupt their flow. As such, they should be short, sweet, and to the point. They should only consist of 2 or 3 questions of which the first is usually a multiple choice and ending with a short elaboration.
On-site user activity analytics
This one is a bit different as you're not directly soliciting answers, opinions or information from your customers and they aren’t aware that they are participating. However, they can give you crucial and candid insights on how users behave on your site that might provide deeper insights.
For example, if you see that users generally give up somewhere along the purchasing process, you know that something is either frustrating them into giving up or they simply don’t know how to proceed. This could drive a huge wedge in your sales. Other things to look out for is just which products or categories are currently experiencing more interest, etc.
Nothing will allow you get inside the mind of one of your customers like a direct one-on-one discussion. Of course, it’s not really feasible and scalable to the extent that you can do this on a huge number of customers but it’s a start to get to the bottom of specific issues or concerns they might have.
This is especially important for products or services that are geared towards a niche market where consumers can have very specific and technical obstacles. As an added bonus, you will make those clients and customers feel as if they are attended to and cared for.