Read on to learn more about the importance of client feedback, how to get feedback from customers, the best ways to collect customer feedback, and what mistakes to avoid in the process.
All you need to know about collecting customer feedback
Ensuring the best customer experience requires collecting feedback from customers. By requesting feedback from customers, you’re building a customer-centric culture and giving them more value. You learn about your customers’ needs, preferences, and expectations, which allows you to improve your products and services. In turn, you can gain customers’ attention, keep them engaged, and make them want to keep coming back to try more products or services.
For you to maximize the advantages of customer feedback for your business, it’s important to address questions like:
- “What is customer feedback?”
- “Why is customer feedback important?”
- “What are the best ways to gather customer feedback?”
You should also know what customer feedback solutions are available and what you can do with customer feedback afterward. We’ll go over each of these topics to help you gain more customers and expand your business.
What is customer feedback?
Customer feedback refers to all kinds of information that your community shares about your products, services, or your company itself. Such information includes insights, feelings, commendations, recommendations, or problems that they experience while using your product or service. It’s common for businesses to receive positive, negative, or neutral customer feedback.
Common types of feedback include direct and indirect feedback.
Direct feedback is the kind of feedback that you request from your customers. For example, you might solicit direct feedback by conducting surveys and interviews to build focus groups. Gathering direct feedback allows you to have more control and freedom in terms of the format, questions, and themes you explore with your customer base
Indirect feedback refers to customers’ comments or suggestions that you did not proactively request. These can include online reviews, reactions and comments on social media, and referrals. However, you might have to actively search to be able to read indirect feedback if the feedback isn’t expressed on your own social media accounts. You can also utilize tools to help collect indirect feedback.
Why should you gather customer feedback?
Regardless of the size of your business, you should gather customer feedback in order to gain a deeper understanding of your customer’s pain points, wants, and needs. As you learn about their expectations, you will realize what to focus on to help your product or service stand out. In turn, you can increase customer satisfaction and retention.
Moreover, customer feedback allows you to identify areas for improvement. You’ll see patterns of what your audience likes or dislikes about your product or service. As a result, you will understand where to stay the course and what to tweak to offer more value to your customers.
Some customers might be missing out on one of your great products, giving you an opportunity to introduce and sell it to them. At the same time, customer feedback allows you to develop a new product or service that can help address common concerns or lapses.
Learning how to ask for feedback from customers can also help you make more well-informed business decisions. The insights, recommendations, and, particularly the bad reviews can help you plan your next steps and strategize further improvements to turn negative feedback into positive feedback.
Collecting client feedback also makes your customers feel heard and valued. You should listen to them and show them that you’re working hard to apply the changes and deliver the solutions that they expect. Actively listening to customer feedback can inspire customer loyalty and help enhance your overall business performance.
The importance of customer feedback
Customer feedback is what helps businesses excel and grow. Whether the feedback is positive, negative, or just neutral, you can use it to keep improving and innovating, gain new customers, and give current customers more reasons to stay. To help you see the importance of customer feedback, let’s look at examples of how popular brands or businesses collect such feedback, analyze the results, and then use the results to make a difference that bolsters their brand.
The Apple anecdote
Apple continues to impress new and loyal customers with its laptops, tablets, phones, headphones, smartwatches, and more. A great contributing factor to the brand’s success is its focus on product feedback.
Apple collects customer feedback using the Net Promoter Score or NPS system. Customers answer how likely they would recommend the business to their friends or colleagues. Detractors give a rate from 0 to 6, and promoters give 7 to 10. These rates help Apple know whether customers are satisfied with their business or what they have to change to increase customer satisfaction and realize a higher score.
Let’s hear it for Hyatt
Another example is Hyatt Hotel, which has long been recognized for providing a good, consistent customer experience. The Hyatt group solicits customer feedback via a feedback form on their website and social media platforms using specific hashtags. Even the reservation page features a feedback button.
Hyatt also maximizes social media by urging their customers to share details about their experience with the hotel using hashtags #WorldOfUnderstanding and #WorldOfHyatt. As a result, Hyatt benefits from free publicity while collecting valuable, real-time feedback from their customers.
Uber underscores customer feedback
Uber prioritizes customer ratings, too. Uber drivers who receive poor ratings from users get penalized. According to Uber, real-time feedback allows them to address both small and big issues as well as ensure that passengers travel with the best driver available. It’s also quick and easy to leave feedback on their mobile app. You can give Uber drivers zero to five stars and add comments.
How to collect customer feedback
There are several methods for collecting customer feedback, such as surveys, emails, social media, and interviews. Choose the right channel or channels to gather client feedback, depending on your goals.
To design effective surveys, keep the questions short, simple, and easy to understand. A combination of closed-ended and open-ended questions is ideal.. The latter allows you to access more details on what improvements you should make to provide a better customer experience.
In the interest of emails…
You can also send emails after a product purchase, a plan upgrade, a subscription cancellation, or an interaction with a customer service representative. You can even automate the process. Just make sure to still provide personalized email surveys that ask about specific concerns and assureyour customers that you’ll get back to them within a specific number of business days or hours.
Learning how to get customer feedback online requires leveraging your social media channels. Several products and brands have quickly gone viral because of various social media platforms, including Facebook, TikTok, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. Keep track of your social media channels and read the reviews so you can thank your customers and easily address any potential or reported problems.
Invest in interviews.
You can also conduct interviews and form focus groups targeted at collecting specific client feedback. Use open-ended questions so customers can freely express details about their experiences with your product or service. As the conversation progresses, be more specific with your questions in order to get more useful answers. Make sure to actively listen to customers’ comments and suggestions.
Sweeten the deal.
To encourage customers to provide feedback, offer incentives. These are also your way of thanking them for spending time answering surveys. Great incentives include a gift card, a free trial, or a discount on certain items.
Best ways to collect customer feedback
While there are plenty of proven ways to collect customer feedback, we’re going to focus on surveys, social media, reviews, and customer feedback collection tools.
Should you send out a survey?
Conducting surveys is one of the best ways to collect customer feedback in part because surveys arean inexpensive method to help improve your products and services.
However, customers may not respond to long, tiresome surveys. Whenever and however possible, make your surveys clear and concise. Carefully plan your survey and set a clear objective before choosing your audience.
Another challenge relative to surveys concerns confidentiality and the protection of personal information. Some customers worry that their personal information, including addresses and phone numbers, could potentially be exposed. As a result, they may skip some questions or even decide not to participate in the survey at all. You can mitigate this by making surveys anonymous or emphasizing that the data is kept confidential and won’t be shared with anybody.
Let’s check out some recognizable brands that embrace customer feedback via surveys…
YouTube uses surveys to help improve recommendations. If you love watching YouTube videos, you must have seen a survey on your screen asking what you think about a video you’ve watched. This includes the accuracy of the recommendation based on your preference and whether it’s helpful, informative, or entertaining. YouTube also asks you to rate the video in order to give you more personalized recommendations.
Airbnb also conducts email surveys to learn more about customers’ recent experiences with one of their properties. Since the survey is conducted after the customers’ journey, the survey becomes easier to finish.
Starbucks also evidenced how a customer feedback system is beneficial for companies. In 2008, they launched “My Starbucks Idea,” which provided customers with a platform to share their suggestions. Users were able to write their ideas, vote, and comment on those ideas they loved. The ideas that gained much attention and seemed impressive to Starbucks administrators could then be turned into actual products. Customers felt heard and valued, which resulted in a successful campaign.
Harness the strength of social media
Learning how to get customer feedback online includes utilizing social media. Millions of people use social media and chances are you already have your own followers on social media, which makes it easier to access immediate feedback. Social media tools are also relatively inexpensive.
However, using social media also presents some disadvantages. Users may see positive reviews, but they’ll also see negative ones, unlike in surveys where you can keep the results within the company.
Responding to negative feedback can also be a challenge. Some social media platforms like Facebook have restrictions on contacting users. If you’re not friends with a specific user, you cannot send a private message. You can respond on your page, but you may not get a reply, so the issue may remain unresolved.
Case in point…
Southwest Airlines utilized social media to help track and anticipate the needs of its customers. Their “Listening Center,” composed of more than 30 members, was responsible for monitoring and responding to tweets every day. This team analyzed social media posts that mentioned their airline so they could tell if a customer needed help. Through customers’ feedback, the airline was able to do rebookings, monitor lost luggage, and address several other concerns.
Request a review
You can also integrate a review section on your product page, just like what Timberland did. Customers felt free to share their experiences, rate the products they’ve purchased, and even supplement their reviews by providing photos and videos of the products. This method allowed Timberland to monitor each product’s performance. Online product reviews also give customers a sense of security as they’re able to read about the experience of shoppers who have used the product that they’re planning to buy.
Moreover, you can drive sales while reducing returns. However, one disadvantage of an online review like this is it’s visible to anyone. One negative comment can affect your brand’s reputation. A lack of reviews or ratings might also discourage customers from purchasing your products. Dissatisfied customers can share information that can hurt your brand. Even positive reviews posted several years ago can also be considered irrelevant.
Leverage your toolkit
You can use various customer feedback collection tools as well.
For example, SiteGround maximized phone support, live chat, and help desk tickets to encourage customers to talk about their experiences and recommendations.
Those customers engaged with a support representative, allowing SiteGround to monitor customer experiences. After the interactions, customers were encouraged to leave a rating and answer open-ended questions in order to explain their suggestions, concerns, and overall experience. Once customers shared their feedback, the reviews were then published on Yelp.
Collect customer feedback live with event app push notifications
If you want to implement a great customer feedback program, you should include event app push notifications. These allow you to gather customer feedback in real-time. Push notifications at events allow quick and effective communication with attendees or your staff. Moreover, push notifications help realize your event goals. These include gathering feedback and catching the guests’ attention.
Event app push notifications allow you to enhance customer experience and give them more reason to attend your future events not just alone but with their friends or colleagues. Gaining customer feedback live through event app push notifications also lets you apply necessary changes and make quick but informed decisions to ensure the success of your event.
Apart from sharing interesting pre-event details with your guests and promoting sponsored content, you can also promote surveys to offer a more personalized event experience. You can use event app push notifications to encourage them to answer questions that trace their interest in the event. Examples include what topics they like, how many times have they attended your events, what they expect to experience in your future events, what areas need to improve, and their suggestions.
To allow guests and customers to answer quickly, regardless of where they are, you can ask basic questions, including rating scales and multiple choices. At the same time, you can easily segment according to the answers.
You can also send personalized push notifications following a customer’s purchase or after an event. This way, you’ll get authentic feedback that can help you produce better products, events, or services.
Get creative when you send an event app push notification. Add humor and a little magic or surprise to captivate the audience’s attention. For example, introduce a surprise guest for the event, and encourage attendees to share their thoughts and feelings about the news.
What to do with the collected customer feedback
The way you treat collected ratings and reviews is equally important as the customer feedback program or method you utilize to collect them.
Here are some tips that will help you efficiently and effectively use customer feedback.
Sort the feedback
Customers can give their views on several metrics. Aside from rating the quality of your products and services, they may also comment on digital platform responsiveness, employee disposition, delivery speed, price, and other aspects of your business. To avoid confusion and facilitate faster data analysis, you should categorize feedback according to the subject matter.
Moreover, you can further divide customer feedback into subcategories. For instance, if you made a “product review” category, you can add subcategories like positive, negative, and neutral. This will allow you to easily quantify and analyze varying customer responses. .
Identify patterns and trends
After sorting the feedback, it’s time to identify patterns. Are many customers finding it difficult to navigate your company’s website? Is the negative product review of one client shared by the other 50 who commented on the same subject? By treating and analyzing data as a collective, you’ll clearly see your business’s strengths and weaknesses.
Furthermore, customer feedback can provide hints about new market demands and opportunities. They can show your customers’ shift in product or service preference. They can also give insights into new innovations or practices that can disrupt the industry landscape. Use these data to unravel emerging trends, find opportunities, and quickly adapt to changes.
Prioritize areas for improvement
The amount of information you can get from analyzing customer feedback can be overwhelming. If you don’t know where to begin, consider prioritizing areas for improvement. For instance, is your new product or service lineup getting bad reviews? Are customers complaining about some unfriendly staff?
Focus on these types of feedback since they highlight business shortcomings that can impact not only short-term revenue but also your company or brand’s overall image. Promptly address the issues that your customers raised and devise a solid customer feedback service plan.
Utilize software solutions
Manually analyzing huge volumes of customer feedback is tiring and time-consuming. Over 40% of workers spend a quarter of their work time doing repetitive tasks such as data entry and analysis. Aside from customer feedback collection tools, you should also invest in software solutions that streamline the data analysis process.
Develop an action plan
After carefully reading and analyzing customer comments, you should develop a concrete action plan. Focus first on resolving issues that reflect company vulnerabilities. Then, you can use other comments as a guide to further enhance your strengths and gain an advantage over competitors.
For instance, you can incorporate customer suggestions into your new employee training program or product manufacturing process. You can also use high consumer demand as a sign to increase production volume or expand overall business operations.
The power of customer feedback to enhance your marketing strategy
There are several ways that customer feedback allows you to improve your marketing strategy and make your business stand out. These include sharing positive reviews on your social media channels or site and improving messaging.
Sharing positive feedback on your social media accounts and website
By highlighting the positive responses of old and new customers on your social media channels and website, you show that you value their voices.. Also, consumers often read reviews before deciding to buy a product or invest in a brand, so you might want to emphasize why people love your product or service to attract more customers.
Identifying trends to implement more effective marketing strategies
After you analyze consumer feedback, you may uncover some patterns or trends, which can give you a better understanding of your customers’ wants and needs.
You can ask about the channels they use for research or reviews, their major preferences and concerns, and the factors they consider before purchasing a product. By asking them directly, you can avoid making incorrect assumptions. Rather, you can improve your products or services based on the traceable patterns from their answers.
Adding new features and products or services
Gathering customer feedback allows you to introduce new features that can improve the customer experience. For example, Salesforce developed IdealExchange so customers can submit their ideas and vote on the features they prefer to see included. The product development team reviewed those ideas that garnered 250 votes. Since SalesForce allowed customers to participate in product development, they were able to provide features that captured their needs and preferences.
Improve messaging and enhance customer satisfaction
You can also use customer feedback to help refine your messaging and ensure customer satisfaction. For example, Dell responded to complaints about their lack of effort to collect customer feedback by creating a separate website that allowed users to share their reviews and even complaints.
Improving customer retention
You can use customer feedback to enhance customer retention, too. For example, Starbucks provides an app-based loyalty program. Members order drinks using the Starbucks app, so the brand knows about their favorite drinks, how often a consumer buys coffee, and more. Typically, customers are willing to share data in exchange for more personalized offerings.
Common mistakes to avoid in customer feedback collection
When collecting customer feedback, avoid the following mistakes so you can focus on improving your brand and products.
Asking leading questions
When asking for feedback, avoid asking leading questions like how much they enjoyed an event, prompting customers to give a desirable answer. Doing this will not only put into question the authenticity of your customer feedback service but it will also not assist you in making business improvements and adjustments.
Ask strategic questions that encourage your customers to give honest answers. Don’t be afraid of getting bad reviews and ratings. Treat them as learning resources that can help you survive and thrive in your chosen industry.
Failing to act on feedback
The main purposes for requesting feedback are to address customer concerns and enhance company standing. You will do a disservice to both your business and clients by choosing to ignore customer reviews and ratings.
Promptly respond to customer feedback not only through a written reply but also action. Tell your customers that you value their input and will do your best to meet or exceed their expectations. Then, initiate action plans and implement necessary changes. By acting on customer feedback both in words and in action, you can dramatically improve the credibility of your business.
Being too vague
If you provide something like “any comments are appreciated,” customers don’t really know what to share. It’s better to be specific according to your goals. You can ask about what you could do differently, what customers like or dislike about your product, or what they think you can improve on.
Lack of follow-ups
Some business owners think that their correspondence with a user or client ends once the problem is addressed. However, following up with customers is also an integral part of the feedback process. You should still ask your customers if they found the measure or action you took to be sufficient.
Doing this will help you know if there are still inadequacies in your chosen solution or if new problems arose from it. By receiving follow-ups, your customers will feel more valued and potentially develop a higher regard for your business.