Customer feedback is the lifeblood of any business. Without knowing how your customers feel about your business and their experience, how can you improve? While it might be true that you can make estimated guesses about your customers based on buying habits, your metrics, and sales, there are limits to these generalizations.
Even if you know all of the above, it’s still complicated to collect customer feedback in a useful way. You might collect feedback that isn’t productive or that doesn’t provide any clear area to improve. This is a common concern, but it doesn’t have to be the reality of your business.
Why does feedback matter? Customer feedback is your foundation. Your businesses’ success relies on your ability to listen to your customers and respond to what they say in an effective, productive way. Here’s a quick rundown of why your business needs customer feedback:
● It shows any areas of your product, service, or customer experience that needs to be improved
● Customers feel more involved with your business
● Positive feedback leads to positive recommendations
● Even poor feedback is an opportunity to improve
● Build brand loyalty
All feedback is good feedback. As long as you have a strategy for using your positive, negative, and neutral feedback to your advantage, you’re poised to succeed. Now, let’s tackle the big question: why is your business failing to collect useful customer feedback? Any business who tried to get feedback will quickly realize it’s not as easy as it sounds. Read through these common issues below to see if any apply to your own customer feedback strategy.
The most common reason you’re not collecting customer feedback productively is because you’re asking for it too late. Most customers are excited to share their experience with a product or service. It makes them feel valuable, and that’s a good thing.
However, if you’re delaying asking until too late, you might miss out on your opportunity for the best feedback. You’ve got to get it while it’s hot, so to speak. The most effective time to ask for customer feedback is within days of your initial interaction.
In some cases, it’s effective to ask even a few hours afterward. Sooner is always better! Hubspot even recommends asking for feedback immediately while clients are still using the product or service.
Next, if you don’t know what feedback you need, how can you ask for it. Just asking for “feedback” in general isn’t usually effective. Customers need direction to know what to comment on, so make sure you’re being structured in the way you ask for feedback.
We’ve all experienced those emails that say something along the lines of “if you have any comments, please feel free to share.” While that might sound fine on the surface, that’s too wishy-washy for any specific answers.
A better option is to think of specific questions you have in mind for your business. Most likely, you’re aware of some areas in your business that could use improvement. Here are some common areas you might ask about specifically:
● How can you improve your customer support?
● How was the onboarding experience?
● How easy was the checkout process?
● How satisfied is the user with the product or service?
● Would the user recommend this product or service to others?
If possible, try to keep these questions open-ended. Avoid yes/no questions that are too simple and don’t welcome more specific feedback.
Your product or service solves a customer problem. It’s a way to address common pain points. For instance, if you’re a marketing agency, you’re attempting to help customers launch successful campaigns and land more customers of their own. In this case, you’ll want to actually analyze how successful these campaigns were.
If you don’t ask about results, how do you know if you’re successfully addressing your clients and customers pain points? Returning to that marketing agency example, you might ask whether the business landed more clients from the campaign or whether it improved their brand awareness. This is results-driven feedback which is what matters.
From there, you can transform these result stories into customer success stories. Case studies (or stories) like this are a highly effective way to convert customers. Case studies are shown to help convert and accelerate the most leads, and this is good news for any business.
Online privacy is a huge question in this day and age. It seems like every day we hear about a new breach of privacy and data online. Having an online security strategy is key, not only for your digital presence, but also for your customer feedback.
Customers want to know how you’ll use their information. Giving feedback can be intimidating if they don’t know what you’re using their feedback for. Customers want to know that their opinion matters, but they don’t want to give it randomly into the digital abyss.
First, work on your cyber security strategy. What you choose depends on your information security strategy, but you’ll also want to disclose exactly how you’ll utilize these feedback channels or which logs you gather and keep such as those through Loggly.
Last but not least, customers don’t always provide useful feedback if they don’t feel appreciated. Customers want to feel valued, as we’ve said before. If you’re not being helpful and supportive throughout their experience with your business, they might not be forthcoming about their concerns.
We’ve all dealt with businesses that didn’t feel worth the effort of filling out feedback. You want to be the opposite. You want your customers to be so excited about your brand that they’re willing to share their experience not just with you but also with others.
Your customers matter, so make sure their feedback is a big part of your business strategy. If you’re currently not happy with the feedback you’re currently getting from your customers, you might be making one of these mistakes above.
Feedback is an art form. Learning how to ask the right questions at the right time is one of the ways to improve your business, so prioritize this balance moving forward. Do you know what your customers are really thinking? If not, it’s time to find out.