3 Simple Tips To Get Valuable Feedback From Customers

Is your cus­tomer feed­back strat­e­gy intu­itive and seam­less, or is it annoy­ing and tedious?

Leeyen Rogers By Leeyen Rogers from JotForm. Join the discussion » 0 comments

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?

Leeyen Rogers

Written by Leeyen Rogers

VP of Marketing, JotForm

Leeyen Rogers is the VP of Marketing at JotForm, a popular online form-building tool based in San Francisco. Its simple drag-and-drop interface along with conveniently sortable submission data allows you to create forms and analyze their data without writing a single line of code.

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