Sometimes you need to take a step back and gain a fresh perspective on your company’s product. You may be very familiar with the intricate details of your product, but may be a little removed from how different users actually put your product to use. This is where customer feedback becomes valuable.
We’ve all experienced something weird, glitchy, or confusing about a website or interface. Sometimes the one thing you need evades you. Maybe your customer support contact information isn’t obvious, or something is broken.
Most people don’t take the time to provide feedback to the company. That’s why all feedback is so important – if someone experienced a problem, they probably weren’t alone. It could indicate a larger trend or a more widespread problem than it may seem at first glance.
Customer feedback can help drive your company to further success. It can help you uncover flaws or potential improvements in your business, whether there’s a technical problem or you’re missing a helpful feature.
The best customer feedback strategy is intuitive and seamless, not annoying or tedious. The customer feedback loop is most effective when the company listens, take notes, and responds to what the customer has to say. Here are tips on getting valuable feedback from customers.
1. Be Natural
In the same way that a retail associate shouldn’t tap a customer on the shoulder to ask why they put an item down, company’s shouldn’t pop up unexpectedly with what seems like a demand. Ecommerce websites often have a pop-up appear asking “do you want to provide feedback?”
Put yourself in the shoes of a customer who is shopping online. Would you really appreciate being interrupted with a request you didn’t initiate? And would you really enjoy the sudden appearance of a banner while you’re reading an article, asking you to give feedback before you’ve even finished reading?
Here’s a better idea: target customers who are willing and engaged.
The best kind of feedback comes from customers voluntarily who offer their comments, criticisms, or compliments. Unprompted.
These users care enough to share their thoughts, or vent their frustrations, thus helping your company. You’ll want to assign them special importance as they can be your biggest advocates or most disgruntled customers.
Reaching out to your users via email is an appropriate and generally well-received funnel for soliciting customer feedback. Similar to dining at a restaurant, it’s nice when the wait staff checks in once in a while, and you expect it. Periodically, you should maintain an inviting relationship with your users by asking them how things are going for them with your company.
New features or product releases offer an opportune time to check in with your users to ask more specific questions.
2. Be Efficient
As far as customer feedback goes, you get more when you say less. Keep it short, concise, and to the point. Ask for only the information that you absolutely need to know. If you don’t need to know their name, don’t ask.
Before asking for feedback, clearly define why you’re seeking feedback. This will make your questions more targeted and relevant.
Ask one question at a time. Make the language as clear as possible. It should be short and unambiguous. Users should be able to skim while filling out the survey because you can’t expect users to read carefully.
Make rating scales consistent. For example, if the answer of a question is to be selected on a 1-10 scale, 1 being “very unsatisfied” and 10 being “very satisfied,” then the lower number or the rating on the left should be negative and the higher number or the number on the right should be positive. So, if a follow up question is “How often do you get a response within 1 hour?” The scale should begin with “never/rarely” and end with “always” on the right. Answer choices should be compatible and intuitive.
Check for bias, which can come in the form of leading questions. Asking a customer to choose an answer to the leading question “I was the most helped by Company X when…” subtly prompts the respondent to answer in a particular way. What if they didn’t feel helped by the company at all? What if they never needed help in the first place?
Make sure that your answers are as objective as possible. To further help clear the air, leave an option open for “N/A” or “other.”
3. Be Personal
People won’t leave feedback if they think your company doesn’t care. Convey that you appreciate feedback, and if appropriate, tell them when they should expect a reply.
An easy way to make your feedback survey feel more personal if to customize your greeting with your respondents’ names. You can thank them for being a customer (if they’ve purchased from you before), or thank them for registering. A brief explanation of why you’re asking for their opinions is important. It will foster a more personalized connection and should increase the response rate.
You can also customize the survey end page. If you have the data, you can thank them for being the member of a certain level, or say that you hope that they’re enjoying whatever it is that they’ve previously purchased.
Sometimes users don’t feel like their opinions were properly described in a series of multiple-choice and rating scale suggestions. Give them the option of providing feedback in an open-response format.
Don’t underestimate the power of a personal email. Although time-consuming and tedious, it can be an exceptionally effective way of really gaining a qualitative awareness of your users’ experience, concerns, and suggestions.
You can automate sending an email, but the real work is responding individually. Thus, it’s best to be selective in sending outreach about getting feedback, because you’ll want to be equipped to follow up with replies to everyone within a reasonable timeframe.
What else has helped you acquire valuable feedback from customers?