Obtaining, measuring and successfully using data gleaned from customer feedback is invaluable for any business. You need to know your customers are satisfied. A satisfied customer is a loyal customer. A loyal customer will not only continue to buy from you, but will tell all her friends and colleagues just how wonderful you are.
Conversely, an unsatisfied customer is not and will not.
Why Is Customer Feedback Important?
Customer feedback serves as a guide in product or service development and other decision-making processes. For example, you could learn a better way to improve your company’s customer support systems. Or you might discover a product that will fill a void and create a brand new revenue stream for your company.
You probably already know the importance of customer feedback, but the sticking point for most of the companies that contact us is figuring out exactly what type of information is useful and especially, how is that information gathered?
Before you start anything, make sure you have a clearly-defined goal – or desired outcome – in mind. You don’t want to blindly flail through this process. You will only end up wasting both your customers’ time – and your own.
Something else to consider: Studies show that almost half of all customers don’t give feedback because, in their experience, many companies don’t seem to care what they think. That may or may not be the case, but if you don’t respond – and respond quickly – when feedback is given, the customer will perceive a lack concern. Over 80-percent of those who do not offer feedback would, if they knew they would receive a speedy response.
6 Successful Methods to Get Customer Feedback
So, what are some of the best methods to garner customer feedback?
Email and Contact Us forms are one of the best approaches. Consider this idea: set up a Contact Us form autoresponder asking a few basic questions, such as, what are they struggling with, or what product or feature would they like to see. Or simply ask why they are contacting you. This is a perfect opportunity to hone in to what their specific needs
Not only can you garner good information with this method, it gives you the opportunity to create a personal relationship that you simply cannot get with any other channel. But, it is imperative that you reply swiftly.
Though it takes more effort and planning, usability testing delivers much more insight than any other method, and usually provides a better understanding as to how you can make the experience better. Broadly speaking, usability testing refers to a way to quantify or measure how users interact with a given product or service.
Surveys are another tool you can use. But, again, craft your survey with your end goal in mind. Whether your survey is a one-question survey or a poll on your website, or a traditional long-form survey, keep this following approach in mind:
• Construct succinct open-ended questions.
• Make rating scales consistent.
• Avoid leading and loaded questions.
Exploratory interviews are also a great way to truly understand your customers. But, again, only if conducted the right way. And, with face-to-face online programs, like Skype, there is simply no reason to let distance be a deterrent.
Of course, social media has a plethora of information. But, have you considered this: You don’t always have to be the one talking. If you take the time to listen, you will learn a lot.
Comment boxes, strategically placed at the end of certain website pages is a creative way to measure user satisfaction without interrupting their online experience.
Believe it or not, sometimes, the best feedback comes from asking no questions at all. Set your site up with Google Analytics and just watch what your users do.
Keep the End Goal in Mind
We’ve discussed a few methods of garnering customer feedback. Some are pretty straight forward while others take more effort. Any customer feedback program must be prefaced with thorough thought and planning. Whatever method or methods you choose, remember, the most important first step is preparation. Keep the end goal in mind.