One of the key aspects of running a successful business is keeping the people who are using your products or services content. To do this, you need to have an open channel through which to communicate with those customers.
Indeed, without a reliable way to listen to your clients, you risk letting your standards stagnate and leaving your company vulnerable to competitors. However, not all customer feedback is created equally.
How to Get Customer Feedback
Dedicating too much attention to the extremes of either side of the feedback spectrum, positive or negative, can skew your view of the average customer experience.
With this in mind, we've listed nine effective ways for you to obtain feedback from your customers that can help you make actionable decisions for your company.
This is what you need to do:
1. Utilise Social Media
Take advantage of the social media landscape to listen to customer feedback. Establish a presence for your business on the larger social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and take advantage of this easy and inexpensive way to interact with your customers.
However, you need to make sure that you – or someone else – is dedicated to monitoring these accounts, and has an opportunity to respond to customers through each platform. Social media affords you the chance to not only take feedback from your customers but also to observe the larger conversation that your customers are having about your business.
2. Provide Polls and Surveys
Providing polls and surveys for your customers to fill out is a time-tested way to get feedback from your customers. You can either reach out to your customers directly by directing them towards the survey, or provide short questionnaires on your website that customers can fill out at their leisure.
Polls and surveys can be excellent tools to try and get a feel for how customers feel about your business as a whole, or they can be more focused to get answers about specific products or services. In this way, you can get excellent results from surveys that ask specific questions, and gain a broader understanding of how your customers feel about particular issues.
Don’t be afraid of including open-ended questions on surveys, as well. You never know which customer has a unique idea that can open new doors for your business.
3. Analyse Your Website Activity
Your business website is a fantastic resource to collect customer feedback. Using data collected from user activity on your website, you can find out what areas are attracting the most attention, where users are converting, and where they are not. You can then use that information to create a better customer experience.
By monitoring data about how users are spending time on your website, you have access to invaluable information about how your customers are interacting with one of the most important portals to your company. This information can help inform decisions on how you are reaching your customers, as well as improve your website.
4. Obtain Feedback From Other Sites
Your website is not the only place you can get valuable feedback from your customers. Sometimes you need to consult with external resources to hear what your customers think about your company. If you sell a product that is retailed through an e-commerce site such as Amazon, then check out the customer reviews. This will give you a chance to hear not only what your customers think about your products, but what they want others to know about it.
If your company operates in a niche that provides services rather than products, there are still many independent places on the internet that solicit reviews of different industries. For example, sites such as Yelp provide customer feedback for businesses in the hospitality industry and other customer-focused organisations. Take the time to find out where your customers are sharing their thoughts about your business to gain valuable feedback.
5. Review Sales Calls
There are also some great ways to reach your customers that don’t rely on digital communication. One way to get feedback from prospective customers is by listening to sales calls. By listening to customers on these calls, you can hear what their reaction to your sales team’s pitch is and if it can be tweaked to be more effective. Pay attention to what part of the product got them the most excited and what failed to keep them on the line to learn about what kind of impact your pitch is having on consumers.
6. Utilise Email
Once you have a customer’s email information on file, you have access to a powerful channel to communicate with them. One of the best ways to get reliable feedback is to send a follow-up email after a customer has received a product, or you have performed a service for them. This will give you a chance to measure their first impressions and let you make sure that all fulfilment processes are functioning to satisfaction.
While a follow-up email generates some of the most substantial return results, getting feedback from customers at specific intervals can also be useful, especially if you are running a business that revolves around subscriptions. You can judge whether your current programme is holding a customer’s interest and have a better opportunity to forecast future opportunities.
7. Utilise Live Chat Transcripts
When people seek out the live chat function on your website, it is likely because they have a problem that they need to be solved. That problem can be an issue stemming from the services you are already providing them, or it can be a potential customer trying to find out if your company has the solution they are looking for. Either way, there is valuable feedback to be found in both questions.
Review live chat transcripts and have your team categorise the type of inquiries that show up. This will show you what areas people are struggling with the most, and will help you determine if there is a solution that needs more resources applied towards it. You can also search for recurring keywords to find out what issues are the most common for your customers.
8. Interview Your Customers
While there are a lot of great tools that technology enables you to take advantage of, sometimes the most effective way to gain feedback is by sitting down with customers and talking to them face-to-face.
This allows you to see how your products or services are impacting their lives, and will let you dig deeper into why they hold those opinions.
Listening to your customers will also give you a better indication of how your products are being used in the real world, which can help give context to how they can be improved. Useful information on the actual applications of your services can be helpful in many different business departments, including marketing, sales and product development.
9. Use Customer Feedback to Elevate Your Company
Complete the circle of communication with your clients by prioritising intelligent customer feedback practices. If you are not keeping in touch with those individuals who are using the services you provide, you are missing a valuable chance to learn about how you are helping your customers – and what you could be doing better.
What other reliable ways are there to gather customer feedback? Let us know your thoughts and opinions in the comment section below!