Businesses can prosper as well as retain clients when their customers are happier. But how do you keep customers happy? How do you even know what is their perception about your products and services?
The answer is asking for customer feedback. It is a great starting point for understanding and meeting your customer expectations.
As per Gartner, “Companies that implement customer experience projects begin by focusing on various ways they collect and analyze customer feedback.” But having knowledge about how to ask for customer feedback determines its real value.
For a business, customers are the lifeblood and their feedback is the backbone. The best way to gauge customer satisfaction is by analyzing customer feedback. It provides valuable insights into the areas that need improvement to build a stronger brand.
Before we jump into the significance and different methods to obtain feedback, let us know what customer feedback is all about.
What is customer feedback?
Customer feedback refers to the insights about satisfaction or dissatisfaction your customers experience with your products or services. Customer complaints or feedback are considered as a guiding resource or hidden opportunity for businesses to improve the loopholes and address the customer needs.
Collecting customer feedback via different methods is crucial for all businesses. You will definitely want to know what you are getting right and wrong in the eyes of customers.
Why asking customer feedback is important for your business?
Asking for customer feedback can provide extremely valuable insight for your business that helps you to know your customers’ perceptions about your brand and deliver the best customer experience.
Here are three key reasons you should ask for customer feedback.
- Measure customer satisfaction – Based on the feedbacks, businesses can measure customer satisfaction scores. They get to know about their opinions regarding their products or services.
- Learn changing customer behavior – Customer feedback helps businesses to learn about the behavioral changes of the customers and learn the insights in building better products.
- Identify the areas of improvement – Identify the gaps between the customers and business. With meaningful feedbacks, eradicate problems, you will end up with a product that is sheer perfection.
The caveat here is, in order to make your customers feel valued, you need to implement the customer reviews and feedback for business decision making.
How to ask for customer feedback in the right way
“A satisfied customer is the best business strategy of all.” ~ Michael LeBoeuf
Customer feedbacks are the core of any business and are one of the main factors of growth. Let us discuss the best practices on how to ask customers for feedback.
Right from the feedback questions to ask the various methods to obtain feedback, let’s discuss the right way of blending them to get meaningful feedback.
1. Ask feedback at the right time
One of the key aspects of asking for feedback from clients is “time”.
A great moment to ask for feedback is right after a customer service conversation. You are already in a conversation with the user so it feels natural to ask feedback – not about the specific customer service intervention but about their experience with your tool in general.
~ Stefan Dubois
Approaching customers at the right time for obtaining feedback is crucial as it helps to gather more meaningful feedback.
Just assume if you are to request customer feedback which of the two scenarios will make more sense?
- Asking clients for feedback immediately end of the conversation or a product demo.
- Requesting feedback after 2 days after the interaction or purchase.
Obviously, the former one. would not make any sense as the customer might have moved away.
Note: Never ask customers for feedback in the mid of any process. You should not interrupt them in the midway. So, ‘mind the time’ rule is very important while asking for feedback questions.
The best time for obtaining customer feedback are:
- Just after the live chat conversation ends: After every live chat session, you should ask for feedback about how was their chat experience.
- After a successful transaction: When a successful transaction checkout happens, you can request for feedback.
- Ask after the service ticket resolution: Once the service request is resolved, the customer is happy. You can take advantage of this time to obtain genuine feedback.
- After a product demo – Just after the demo, you can ask feedback about their experience in evaluating the product.
2. Choose the right methods for obtaining feedback
Selecting the right customer communication channels can connect with your customers and help to gather authentic feedback. You can’t rely upon one channel as there are plenty of channels such as websites, social media, live chat, etc.
You need to identify the channels based on the preferences of your target audience. Asking customer for feedback across their preferred channels help you to focus on the specific channels to deliver excellent customer service.
Identifying the feedback method help businesses in the following ways:
- Collect real time feedback – With methods like live chat, in-app, or chatbots, you can obtain instant feedback just after every conversation. It helps to understand the customer experience and satisfaction level.
- Monitor first hand feedback – Choosing social media monitoring as a method to get feedback will provide unfiltered comments of the customers. It helps to who are admiring or criticizing your brand and you can reach out to them proactively.
3. Reach out to right customers
Segmenting your customers is imperative before you reach out to them. Identifying your brand promoters and detractors is crucial to tailor the right approach to connect with them.
You need to prepare a separate set of questionnaires for obtaining relevant feedback from each group. It is never wise to ignore any of the groups.HBR says, “Acquiring a new customer is anywhere from 5 to 25 times more expensive than retaining the existing one.”
NPS surveys are the best ways to follow up on the detractors, who are really not happy with your product or service. The feedback collected from them can be a hidden opportunity to improve the products and retain them.
Tips to gather honest feedback from the segmented audience.
- You must create personalized follow ups or automated response workflow
- It is recommended to respond or contact detractors personally
4. Prepare the right set of questionnaire
Prior to asking questions you need to identify the actual purpose of asking feedback to customers. Whether you are trying to improve your website, offer better customer support, or shape your product roadmap, getting feedback from your customers is something can’t be ignored. Asking specific questions help you to get more relevant feedback.
Often the way you ask the questions determines the kind of answer you get back. You need to decide on setting open ended or closed ended questionnaire.
Open ended questions – These questions are broad and can not answer with a one-word ‘yes’ or ‘no’, instead they require bit detail answers. Using these questions helps you understand things from the customer’s perspective as you get descriptive feedback.
For example, “What do you think about the products?”
Closed ended questions – These questions are narrow and can be answered with a single word or a pick from limited multiple-choice options.
For example, “Are you satisfied with this product?” → Yes/No/Mostly/Not sure.
Knowing the right use of open ended and close ended can help you to get actionable feedback.
If you are a part of marketing, product, or sales team, asking the right questions via online polls and surveys helps you to collect qualitative feedback to create better user experiences. That eventually results in business growth and increase sales conversions.
5. Value your customers time
Generally, customers avoid providing feedback as it is time consuming. Asking lengthy and irrelevant questions can annoy customers and they might turn out in the midway. When and how to ask customers for feedback is a key mantra to be followed.
Reaching out customers respecting their time makes a world of difference.
Key points to consider while asking customers for feedback:
- Don’t ask irrelevant questions – Keep your questions open ended to know what the customer thinks about your product or service. Ask relevant questions that serves your purpose and get better responses.
- Keep the conversation short and focused – Keep the feedback process simple with minimum questions to get accurate answers. Keeping your surveys short will also encourage more customers to complete them.
Here are some tips to you can follow to make your customers feel valued and happy.
- Share or send a personalized thank you note for spending valuable time to provide feedback. It has a positive impact always.
- You can also incentivize them with some discount coupons, free gifts, content resources to make them feel happy.
6. Escalate customer feedback to the right team
Simply gathering data won’t do you any good. This data must be handed over to professional analysts who can generate valuable insights for you. Once you have these insights, you can use them to create a better product or to improve customer service.
Also, these insights will form the basis of your future business planning. Essentially, once you receive customer feedbacks you need to
- Discuss the customer feedback internally so as to improve the quality of product or services
- Involve all the team members of various departments to give an extended picture of customer expectations
- Identify the gaps between your business and customers. Plan new business strategies to shorten the gaps and gain more customers.
7. Collect customer feedback regularly
Consistency is always an important factor in ensuring success. If you consistently send out customer feedback, you’ll have more information about the problems with your product.
However, you must keep in mind not to do very often. You don’t want to send feedback forms so regularly that your customers get frustrated and unsubscribe from your mailing list. According to our estimates, sending feedback forms quarterly or half-yearly yields the best results.
Now that you know about how to ask customer feedback in the right way, let us discuss the different methods to collect customer feedback. Regardless of the method you choose, the key to obtaining meaningful feedback is to guide the discussion sufficiently to keep the conversation on topic and avoid it devolving into a venting session.
Let us discuss the different feedback methods that can be used depending upon your business needs.
Customer feedback methods
Prior to starting gathering customer feedback it is very important for you to understand why you are seeking their reviews and feedback. Identifying your desired outcomes and outlining the process to get there, sets the groundwork for investing your time because, without a clear intention, your feedback may not be fruitful.
You need to make sure while asking for customer feedback that you put forth the best way to approach your customers. We have created a list of customer feedback methods to get inputs:
Live chat is the most preferred channel by customers to reach out to the business for sales and support assistance. So, using live chat could be one of the best feedback collecting methods. You can ask for customer feedback just after the end of the conversation to know about their chat experience and the agent’s performance.
You can collect feedback in other ways other than star ratings. You can ask a couple of short questions that can provide you detailed feedback about the live chat experience of the customers. The best places to put live chat could be your product page, pricing page, and your checkout page, so you can answer queries instantly and reduce cart abandonment.
Email is one of the most convenient ways to gather customer feedback as it is still a popular support channel for most businesses. You can use each interaction as an opportunity to obtain customer feedback. You can ask for feedback after a successful transaction or can send email surveys.
You can collect most relevant feedback via email as it enables you to send one on one request so you can request for personalized feedback. For example, enquire about issues that customers are struggling with most or what features they want to be added.
“There are two kinds of people in the world. Those who walk into a room and say, ‘There you are’ and those who say, ‘Here I am’.” The same applies to institute in-app feedback.
In-app feedback is a great way to gather relevant information from users as they have the product experience. Collecting feedback from customers who are already using your products is always worthy. And providing them a way to share feedback with you from within the context of your product makes this type of feedback especially valuable.
It may be used to improve the usability of any particular feature The main value is the immediacy of the feedback given the user’s context within your product. The feedback will tend to be more concrete, and users may be more likely to provide quick responses.
Customers prefer to land to the website when they want to know more about any brand. You can collect insightful feedback from website visitors that can guide your product and service development in order to provide customers what they really want from your business.
Collecting customer feedback also helps you to identify and fix problems that customers complain about your products or services. You can strategically place live chat, pop up surveys or offer incentives in terms of coupons or ebook to encourage them for giving valuable feedback.
Business SMS is one of the best channels for collecting customer feedback about your products or services, customer service, and overall brand experience. If compared between business text message and email, email has a low response rate and an average open rate of 20%.
Businesses can use SMS as the method to collect customer feedback by sending business text messages and text surveys at timely moments during the customer journey. In order to get quick feedback, keep your text survey messages short. Forbes says, “80% of customers have abandoned a survey halfway through, but shorter SMS surveys may encourage more completions.”
Big businesses that have budget flexibility can arrange customer interviews. Collecting feedback from loyal and repeat customers is easy as they have your brand experience and are happy with your products and services.
You can obtain genuine feedback from these customers. So, you need to segment your customer profiles based on their nature, interests, frequency. Make sure that they are approached by your human agents and make them feel important to increase the chances of getting authentic feedback.
Conducting market research helps in getting feedback from all kinds of buyers to understand their changing behavior, identify their likes & dislikes. Once you know your customers better, you can position your current marketing and messaging to serve them better.
Doing market research to ask for customer feedback can give your business key insights into your strengths and weaknesses. Using the insights in the right way will help your business to thrive and grow.
Focus groups are a research method used to gather feedback and opinions from customers. Each person in the group is encouraged to participate in a discussion which is previously planned by a researcher and is guided by a facilitator.
These groups are typically used to gauge opinion and gather information from users about products, services, and features before they have been developed.
You can use focus groups to ask for customer feedback on a new product or service before they decide to take the concept into development. In this context, a focus group can be used to test out ideas and gather opinions on whether the idea will be liked or needed by the target audience.
Social media monitoring
Social media is a great way to communicate with your target audience as they are largely being part of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram communities. Customers prefer sharing their good and bad brand experiences across social channels like Twitter and Linkedin.
Ignoring them across social channels can risk your brand credibility. Adopting social listening strategy as a feedback method helps to find out what customers are sharing online while mentioning your company so that you can take the appropriate action.
Social media monitoring can be the best way to get customer feedback, look for trends, and create stories. Here, you can hear directly from customers. It’s unfiltered. Monitoring the social media channels ensure you find out exactly where and what conversations are happening, so you can join in to either provide support or praise your loyal followers.
Final thoughts why obtaining customer feedback is vital
Collecting customer feedback helps you get outside your own comfort zone and see your product from the customer’s perspective. Good feedback has the power to close the loop and build better relationships with your customers. While the feedback that you collect might not always be positive, it will help you to improve your business.
Put insightful thought into crafting your questions so that you not only collect feedback but collect valuable feedback.