What is the best way to solicit feedback from customers? This question has been posed by many business owners. Whether you are an established company or just starting up, soliciting customer feedback can be a valuable tool for improving your products and services. Asking for feedback from customers is a great way to find out what they think of your product or service and how you can improve it. While there are many ways that we can solicit feedback, let’s look at several different questions that will help us get the most feedback possible in order to truly learn about our audience: When should we ask them? How often should we do so? What type of questions should we ask them in order to get the most accurate results possible? How much time should they be given? How do we incentivize participation? These are all important considerations when asking customers for their input.
So, when we should ask our customers for their input? I recommend always asking them at the beginning of every project so they know you value their opinion, and you can begin to build their trust. Even initial portions of the product, like onboarding or profile setup, can benefit from the customer’s opinions. Occasionally there will be times when customers are unavailable to give feedback in person at the beginning of a project or even before purchasing something from you. So what should we do in these situations? I always recommend having a feedback form or survey on your website. That way they can always provide feedback in their own time and when it is convenient for them. There is no harm done by asking for feedback soon after the purchase has been made, as long as you let them know up front that they will receive a chance to give their feedback and when to expect it. It may also be helpful to wait until your customer has had time to use what they have received before soliciting feedback so that they will have more feedback about their interactions with this product. If your product has a conclusion, you can also ask them once they have reached the end date. If you ask them then, you have the benefit of your customer going through the user experience in its entirety and will be able to glean more information into what they thought of the whole process.
Another question we have when asking customers for input is how often they should be asked. As a rule of thumb, I recommend that feedback be solicited more often if your product or service is new and less often as it becomes established. This will help you to gather feedback more quickly on how well the latest update went over with customers which can then inform future updates better. While we need to process feedback often to understand the customers’ views, we do not need to overburden them with solicitations for feedback on every feature or stage of the product. Before asking, you will need to define specific points in the process of the project when you most need their feedback, which will then trigger an action to solicit them.
As touched on above, I am a huge fan of having some type of a feedback form or survey directly on your website that will collect this data instantly.
You may also consider partnering with feedback aggregators like Promoter.io, SatisMeter or Wootric which make it very easy to gather feedback and automate the process of promotion of your product using their advanced analytics tools. Another option is to ask for feedback via email by sending out a short survey every now and again asking customers what they think about how you’re doing or how your product is meeting their needs. You can get feedback via phone calls, but there are many other things to consider if you do, like what times of day and have they previously agreed to be contacted via phone. Finally, there are plenty of feedback tools out there which allow you to find and capture customer feedback from across the web – both digital and physical channels – including social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, as well as app stores, review websites, forums, etc.
What type of questions should we ask customers to get the best feedback possible? We first need to consider which type of feedback will best suit the project and what questions most effectively elicit the information we seek from customers. In order for feedback to have the most impact, you must ask questions that are specific and leave no room for assumptions. One way of doing this is by asking about a single aspect or problem with whatever it is the customer just purchased. That way, they are not bombarded with a bunch of questions about things other than what they purchased. Another is by asking open-ended questions that cannot be answered with a simple yes or no response. These types of questions require customers to think about their answers and provide more insight into what they’re thinking as opposed to just giving feedback without really considering it first. We also want to make customers comfortable enough to share feedback when they’ve had a bad experience overall, but don’t want something specific pinpointed as the reason. This is still useful information so having something as simple as a smiley face or frown face can gather plenty of needed data.
Another thing to consider when asking for feedback is how much time customers should be given to provide their feedback. If you don’t have a need for having an immediate reaction, giving them 10-14 days will provide them with ample time to complete a feedback form or survey. Again, before beginning figure out when you will need a quick response and when you can afford to get a more thoughtful response.
How do we incentivize their participation in feedback gathering? One of the best ways is by providing incentives such as discounts on future purchases, free shipping, etc. for those who participate will make it more likely that you have a large enough sample of customers to know how the customer base as a whole feels about your product. Let them know that with their opinion comes value!
Customer feedback is vital to your business, but it doesn’t happen automatically. We have outlined several tips on how you should go about soliciting customer feedback and the benefits of doing so. By not asking for feedback from your customers, you could miss out on valuable information that would help make improvements in your product or service offerings. When you solicit customer feedback, it is also important to consider any drawbacks before implementing new changes based on their input (like when they suggest a change that is too costly). We’ll talk more about these drawbacks in a future blog. Now that you know the benefits of soliciting customer feedback and considered some drawbacks, what type of ways do you solicit feedback?
Let me know in the comments below. As always, feel free to reach out with any questions or concerns! I can’t wait to hear from you!