Nearly 90% of customers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
Customer reviews are vital to your success. They help you know what's working and what isn't.
Before we talk about how to gather better customer feedback, let’s look at why it is so important.
Customer Feedback Helps You Improve
When you hear from your customers about something they don’t like, you have room to change your product or service for the better.
When you get feedback, you’re better able to meet and exceed your customers’ expectations. This gives you a competitive edge in the marketplace.
Customer Feedback Measures Customer Satisfaction
Customer feedback surveys can help you measure the satisfaction level of your customers. When you get positive feedback, you can use it in your marketing materials.
Customer Feedback Improves Retention
Building relationships with your customers helps you improve customer retention, and a great way to do this is with customer surveys.
Your loyal customers want to give you feedback. They want to feel like they’re part of the process.
When you hear back from your loyal customers, and it’s positive, you know you’ve got brand ambassadors.
Now, let’s look at how to gather better customer feedback.
Surveys are the easiest way to get better customer feedback. You can send them out through email or hand them out at your business.
You might be familiar with something like Survey Monkey. This is a service for sending out surveys. Not only can you send out surveys to your email list, but you could post links to your surveys in your Facebook posts and to your Twitter followers.
Using a survey service lets you go into your account and print reports easily. It makes it easy for you to turn the feedback into something actionable.
Additionally, you can print paper copies to hand out to people in person.
There are a few tricks to sending out surveys so you get the best response. Let’s look at those tips:
- Keep it short and simple. A good rule of thumb is between 5-10 minutes max. You’ll lose people if it takes them longer than that.
- Ask only the key questions – the ones you’ll really use. Five questions are a good number to shoot for with a max of 10.
- Ask open-ended questions. This way you’ll get their real responses and not people who just check the circles.
Use Feedback Boxes
Do you have a formal way to get feedback from your customers either in your store or online after a purchase? If not, you should.
Use feedback forms on your website so it’s really easy for a customer to tell you when something is wrong. Likewise, you could have a feedback box at your place of business with slips of paper for customers to do the same thing.
Your customers are always thinking of something they’d like to see differently, and feedback boxes provide an anonymous way for them to communicate with you.
Feedback boxes also give you the chance to remedy a bad situation before you lose the customer for good.
Just remember to respond to all of the feedback you get (that’s not anonymous), especially the negative feedback.
Reach Out In-Person
In-person is still a great tool. If you really want to know what someone thinks, just ask them.
Surveys, emails and feedback forms are great, but you miss subtle nuances. When you get feedback in person, you are privy to body language and tone. This helps you sort out the feedback in a deeper way.
Let’s say you’re a restaurant owner, and you developed a new dish. An in-person "survey" is a great way to hear exactly what your customers think about your new menu item.
Plus, your customers will really feel valued when you ask them in person.
Watch Your Social Channels
If your business is on social media like Facebook or Twitter, this is also a great way to get customer feedback. Monitor customer comments on your page and see what they’re talking about.
You can then start a conversation with them about their purchase and find out what they like (or don’t like). If you do get complaints on social media, deal with them immediately with empathy and compassion.
Display Positive Feedback
Whether on a sign in your store or on your website, share your positive feedback. This gives recognition to your loyal customers and motivates your new customers to provide their own feedback for the recognition.
Your customers are encouraged by the reviews of others and more likely to tell you what they think when they know others have done so.
When you share reviews, the best practice is to use at least the person’s first name and photo, if available, to give them validity.
Gather customer feedback on an on-going basis so you can improve your business, product, experience and service.
Don’t put this at the bottom of your to-do pile, and don’t do it once and forget it. It’s an ongoing, important part of your business success and can be useful in your marketing.
When you know what your customers like and don’t like, you can evaluate your products and services and make sure you are providing what your customers want.
When you gather better customer feedback, you can ensure your customers keep coming back again and again.
Do you actively gather customer feedback? How has this helped you grow and improve your business? Please share what’s worked for you below.