Every effective entrepreneur, CEO, or business leader knows that asking for customer feedback is not an optional step to success.
As the saying goes, “The customer is king.” There’s only one way to know what your customers really want and think: Ask them.
Why Ask for Customer Feedback?
Customer feedback is about more than knowing whether your customers give your product three stars or five stars (although that is a valuable insight). It’s also about gathering the information that can help you make critical decisions and improvements….insights that only an objective, paying customer can provide.
Customer feedback can potentially:
- Provide you with detailed insight about trends over time. For example, how happy are your customers now versus six months, one year, or five years ago?
- Generate quantifiable metrics you can use to measure and report success to stakeholders, such as NPS and CSAT.
- Build a valuable relationship with your customers, by letting them know that you care about their opinion.
Not only that, but customer feedback will help you gather and analyze insights to help you offer a product or service that is better than those of the competition. Knowing what your customers want, value, and don’t like will help you continue to hone your product or service, make adjustments where necessary, and refine your vision and future plans.
The bottom line is: You need customer feedback.
But in a world where potentially hundreds of “asks” are made of consumer each day, how do you ask for feedback – and get an authentic, honest response?
Asking Your Customers for Feedback
You can gather customer feedback in a number of ways – such as with a mail-in survey or a phone survey. But the most efficient and popular strategy of collecting feedback is online.
Use a floater.
One option for collecting customer feedback is to create an online floater. A floater is a box that “floats” over your homepage instead of opening a new window. Using a floater has multiple benefits: It allows your customers to effectively remain on your homepage, and it doesn’t clutter up their desktop with “pop-up” windows. Floaters can be designed either as an overlay – appearing over the center of your homepage – or they can “slide in” at the bottom corner of your homepage (typically the right-hand side). While a floater in the bottom corner is less intrusive than an overlay, the latter positioning may generate a higher response rate.
Floaters typically include a simple header, such as “How are we doing?” and include the survey itself – such as a star rating that customers can quickly fill out. Or it might link to your survey on a different page.
Try a live chat.
Another strategy for asking customers for their feedback is to use a chatbot. Chatbots might use artificial intelligence to engage with and respond to your customers in an authentic way, generating human-like responses to their text. The option to speak to a chatbot will typically appear in the bottom corner of your homepage. If customers choose to respond to the initial request for feedback, they can then hold a “conversation” with the chatbot, providing their opinion and satisfaction rating.
The advantage of using a chatbot is that it feels more personal to the customer than filling out a form. And of course, you can pitch your “bot” as a real person, not as a robot. Using a face and name makes customers feel like they are authentically building a relationship with your brand or company.
Create a feedback box.
A feedback box is an effective but perhaps underutilized strategy for collecting feedback. Feedback boxes may appear at the bottom of a specific page, providing a field and a simple question for customers to answer, such as “How can we improve your experience on this page?”
Reach out through email.
Finally, you may want to reach out directly to customers with an email campaign designed specifically to collect feedback. The advantage of using email to collect feedback is that it feels like a personal follow-up to a purchase or user experience, and lets customers know that you really value their thoughts and opinions.
Your email subject line should be warm and friendly, like “Tell us what you think of _!”
Getting a High Response
It’s not very complicated to build a feedback mechanism into your site.
The tricky part is to actually get customers to take the time to respond and be thoughtful in their answers. The more feedback you have, the deeper insight you will gain into customer behavior, customer preferences, and what’s working and what’s not. The more feedback you have, the more accurate your insights will be.
Just like making a sale, you’ll need to be strategic in how you ask for feedback – and even in what you offer in return.
Be strategic with the timing of your “ask.”
As mentioned above, one effective strategy of asking for feedback is to use a floater. But if your floater appears within the first few seconds of a customer’s experience on your homepage, chances are good that you’re only going to frustrate and annoy your customer base. If you choose to use an overlay, time the floater to appear just as a customer chooses to leave a page. Or, time the floater to appear after a customer makes a purchase, giving him or her a chance to respond to the buying experience.
An email campaign asking for feedback should not be sent immediately after a customer makes a purchase, but after an adequate amount of time to test out the product.
Use friendly, concise copy.
Just as with your marketing materials, you’ll need to be strategic with the copy you use in collecting customer feedback. If your copy is too formal, lengthy or complicated, customers will be turned off, and less likely to engage with your survey. On the other hand, if your copy is unclear or too brief, customers won’t know what you want them to do. Be friendly and straightforward. Your header might say, “Tell us how we’re doing” followed with a subhead, “Rate Your Purchase” and an option for a star rating. Or, “We’d love your feedback! Click below to tell us how we’re doing,” followed by an option for open-ended feedback.
Using warm, friendly copy will also set the tone for feedback – so that customers are likewise genuine in their responses.
Ask two questions…and two questions only.
Plus, it’s a less intimidating and quicker format for customers to use, increasing the likelihood that they will take the time to respond. The key is to ask one “rating” question, such as “Rate __ from 1–10” and one open-ended question.
An open-ended question gives your customers the opportunity to give their honest opinion, provide their creative insights, and voice complaints, concerns, or even compliments. Analyzing open-ended feedback can be challenging and time-consuming, but a language-processing tool like Caplena can help you organize your data and automate the process while giving you an in-depth understanding of the insights you’ve gathered.
Offer a lead-magnet in exchange for feedback.
A final strategy to motivating customers to respond to a survey is to offer something in exchange for their time – a free report or discount code, for example. Offering an incentive also builds relationship with your customers, communicating that you are there to give back to your customers.
Whatever You Do…Don’t Skip Customer Feedback
The value of your customer feedback strategy cannot be underestimated. Making an effective ask of your customers and collecting plenty of data are both critical to your understanding of what your customers want. More honest customer feedback translates to deeper insights into how customers are responding to features of your product or service, what can be improved, and what can be discarded.
Ultimately, feedback will help you make better decisions – helping you to become a better, more profitable, more competitive business.