Business leaders are sometimes hesitant to ask customers for feedback because they’re afraid they’ll come off as annoying. But in reality, consumers want to be heard. According to Microsoft’s 2020 Global State of Customer Service report, 89 percent of respondents said they want opportunities to provide feedback.
Aside from pleasing customers, there are many reasons to request feedback. It provides companies with valuable insights into the customer experience (CX), enabling them to make smart, customer-centric business decisions.
What is consumer feedback?
Customer feedback is information provided by consumers about their experience with a brand, whether that’s input about the company’s product, service, or customer support.
The importance of customer feedback
No matter how hard you try, you can’t read your customers’ minds—you can ask for their opinions, though. With their feedback, you can understand how they feel about your product, service, or brand as a whole and then make improvements.
Empowers you to improve the customer experience
Even if you and your team agonized over every detail of your product or service, the group probably didn’t think of everything. Customer feedback provides a fresh perspective directly from your buyers. Their input is critical for uncovering the flaws your internal audits may have missed.
Companies that don’t solicit feedback are missing a golden opportunity to improve their products, services, and overall customer experience.
When businesses send customer surveys, read reviews, and go through social media comments to see how they improve, they’re likely to see numerous benefits. These include better products or services, higher customer retention, and increased revenue.
- Over 90 percent of customers will spend more to buy from companies that offer good CX.
- 81 percent say a positive customer experience increases the likelihood they’ll make another purchase.
- Companies committed to enhancing CX are six times more likely to claim a return on investment (ROI) on their customer feedback.
Proactively surveying customers, listening to them, and acting on their input demonstrates your dedication to improving the customer experience, which can positively influence how consumers see your brand.
Shapes public perception of your brand
Collecting customer feedback goes beyond the typical surveys. You should also read public reviews about your product; they can heavily influence purchase decisions. According to Bright Local, 91 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
91% of 18- to 34-year-olds trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
With online reviews, both quality and quantity matter. A whopping 94 percent of all purchases are made for products with an average rating of 4 stars and above. Additionally, 61 percent of consumers say the number of reviews was important to them.
Be proactive and interact with customer reviews to show you’re listening and you care. A recent Yelp study found that 88 percent of customers are more likely to look past a negative review if the business has adequately responded to it.
How to ask for feedback from customers
Here are eight effective ways to get feedback from clients.
1. Experiment with different types of customer feedback
Not all customers respond to feedback requests in the same way, and they may have different preferences. Diversify your approach to encourage responses.
There are three types of feedback customers can provide:
- Given feedback: When customers reach out without being asked to do so, they’re providing given feedback. Support tickets are the primary example of given feedback. Use a robust cloud ticketing system to analyze ticketing data so you can identify your customers’ most common questions and concerns.
- Requested feedback: Gather your customers’ thoughts and opinions by asking them directly. Once you create that open dialogue with them, be ready to take action. If they’re taking the time to help your company improve, you need to show them you’re listening.
- Observed feedback: Watch how your customers use your product or service and what types of documentation they read. For instance, you might examine the most popular pages and search queries in your knowledge base to gauge what interests your audience.
No matter what method you use, you’re going to gain actionable data that will help you further refine your CX.
2. Make it easy to leave feedback
Customer feedback doesn’t need to be detailed and long. There’s still plenty that can be learned through basic responses—including emoji answers.
Discover whether a customer found one of your knowledge base articles helpful by simply asking them to click on a thumbs-up or thumbs-down icon. Or, after a customer finishes a conversation with one of your chatbots, use a popup survey that asks them to rate their experience with a smiling, neutral, or frowning face. You can also use a one- to five-star rating scale to get a general idea of what customers think of your product, service, or support experience.
Quick, straightforward methods encourage actionable feedback while requiring very little effort on the part of the customer.
3. Request feedback through live chats or calls
Your chances of getting feedback are significantly better when you’re already talking to a customer directly. That’s why live chats and phone calls are perfect opportunities for real-time engagement.
Instead of sending the customer an email after the session is over, ask for input as soon as the conversation ends. The customer is already on the line or in the chat, so they’re likely to stick around for a brief survey.
4. Send NPS surveys
Net Promoter Score® (NPS) surveys help businesses gauge customer loyalty and satisfaction by asking buyers how likely they are to recommend the company to others. With NPS survey responses, you can bucket your customers into three categories:
- Detractors: Unhappy customers who are at risk of churning.
- Passives: Customers who like your company but don’t necessarily love it.
- Promoters: Customers who love your company and would recommend it to their friends and family.
NPS surveys can be used at any stage of the customer lifecycle, and they can be sent through various channels, including email and text messages. They’re short and easy for customers to complete, too.
5. Leverage social media
Social media has become an increasingly important channel for customer service. It’s also become one of the best ways to get feedback from clients. According to Sprout Social, 47 percent of customers will voice their product or service complaints on social media.
54% of consumers have a more favorable view of brands that respond to customer complaints or customer support questions on social media.
Indeed, customer feedback on social media channels tends to be honest, and not all of it is positive. But that doesn’t mean companies should shy away from addressing negative feedback they find on social media. According to Microsoft’s Global State of Customer Service report, 54 percent of consumers have a more favorable view of brands that respond to customer complaints or customer support questions on social media.
You can use social listening tools to monitor and track mentions of your brand, products, or services. This makes it easier to check comments and reactions from customers and participate in conversations.
6. Pay attention to timing
It’s not just how you ask for feedback—the timing of your request is often just as important.
Solicit feedback when customers are actively engaged with you. Research shows that making a purchase gives people an instant feeling of happiness, so it’s the perfect moment to request input, especially from new customers. This can go a long way toward building loyalty, as it shows customers that you value their opinions.
Cart abandonment is another great time to ask for feedback. Customers may share their reason for not proceeding with the purchase, whether that’s because of a frustrating checkout page or a better competing offer.
7. Analyze customer calls
Review transcripts of support calls to unearth customer complaints. Categorize feedback topics to find which issues are arising most frequently so you can act on them quickly. For example, if many customers are dissatisfied with the support channels available, perhaps you should add the one your buyers spend the most time on.
You can also review sales calls with existing customers to determine whether customers are responding to cross-selling and upselling techniques.
8. Offer rewards in exchange for feedback
If you want to ask more complex, open-ended questions and receive detailed feedback, offer incentives to customers to make it worth their while.
Research shows that rewards, particularly monetary ones, can improve survey response rates. The incentive doesn’t even have to be self-serving in order to work well. For example, data management company Iron Mountain included a charitable donation incentive in its NPS survey; this increased response rates by nearly 30 percent.
Change the way you capture customer feedback
As your product and service evolve, so do your customers and the way they interact with your brand. The way you gather customer feedback should reflect these changes, so don’t be afraid to try new approaches.
Analyze how customers respond, and act on those insights to find what tactics work best at every touchpoint.