Customer feedback – getting it right

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Consumer feedback. We all know how important it is, right?

If not, you should!

The collection of feedback – and professional customer feedback management – is vital in helping to improve your product or services.

It’s extremely important to learn how consumers perceive your business and brand. And to discover what elements help to create an emotive end user experience. The good, as well as the bad.

Armed with this information, you can strive to provide the best possible experience for both customers and prospects, and build a customer-centric culture.

But what is the best approach to collecting these invaluable opinions?

Why customers ‘can’t be bothered’…

Ok, consumer comments may help you offer better service, but there’s not really much in it for the end user themselves. At least at face value.

So, in all honesty, why should they bother reaching out to you?

We all know that most only speak up if they have something to complain about.

Let’s face it, we all have busy lives, so people generally can’t be bothered to respond if you simply ask them to ‘feel free to get in touch and let us know what you think.’

That makes them think that you’re indifferent about the whole process so, of course, they won’t really give a fig.

Needless to say, response rates are low when you take this approach.

You have to do it the right way when you’re essentially mining for free data.

Make sure you play to end-user motivation as to why they should play ball. It’s important to prove that their opinions are important and won’t simply be shoved in a box at the back of a cupboard and forgotten about.

Have an intention

Before reaching out to customers, you need to know why you’re asking for their feedback.

Perhaps you are looking to improve your product or service by learning how they feel you can increase functionality? Or whether they are satisfied with your levels of customer support? Or you want to know whether there is anything new or extra they feel you could offer to your loyal consumers?

Asking specific questions can help you learn a lot. Asking an end user to focus on one certain element can help them focus and be critical of just one thing, rather than bombarding them with a barrage of different things.

Essential, targeted questions will assist in delivering better, more detailed responses. Don’t waste the consumers time, or your own, by spreading the request for feedback to wide.

You also need look out for the most relevant channels on which to obtain their opinions. How are your customers general most responsive?

Open a conversation

Yes/No answers or a scoring system aren’t much use to anyone.

Try to encourage free-flowing responses.

Ask what, not why.

For example, don’t simply ask if they encountered any problems. It’s so easy for them to save time by simply saying no. (Or, if they just say yes, it still doesn’t help you!)

Instead, ask them what could be done better or differently. It will make them more inclined to be honest, if you are acknowledging the fact that things could be improved.

And make sure the answers you obtain can really help you improve the areas of your business that you are focused on.

Ask when the last time was that they encountered a problem. Check how often it occurs.

Prompt and dig until you get valid, useful responses.

Ask them what they think. They will appreciate the fact that you are interested in what they have to say.

Reach out to the right person

When your customer feedback management teams are asking for opinions, they need to think about who they are talking to.

There is only a handful of people out there who will simply ‘give feedback’ if that’s all you ask them to do.

So, make sure you are asking specific questions related to the skills, strength and knowledge that the person you are approaching has.

Narrow your line of questioning to their experience. For example, if you sell lots of things in your sports store, but Fred only buys fly fishing equipment, don’t ask him about deep sea diving gear!

Also, make sure to send out any email requests to customers from a real person, not simply an automated system. It makes it more personal.

Also, give them even more reason to get in touch by tailoring your correspondence to a recent purchase, as opposed to just a general request for information.

Use feedback forms wisely

The way you ask for feedback will depend on your goals.

You’re not going to get detailed responses on short website forms.

However, they can be invaluable if you want to catch them there and then.

Remember to keep it brief though. People don’t have much attention span for that sort of thing.

Online feedback forms can be great for asking someone why they abandoned their shopping cart, whether they found your live chat feature to be of use, or whether a help centre article was beneficial.

And, once again, make sure you ask the right questions.

Keep it catchy

If you want end users to respond to a survey to tell you what they like and dislike about your brand, a well thought out subject line is a must. Otherwise, they’re unlikely to even open it.

And, as a general rule, the fewer the questions, the better. You don’t want people getting bored and giving up half way through because they feel as though they are trawling through the survey equivalent to War and Peace!

Social media is your friend!

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram, plus other major social media platforms, can be great for gathering data in today’s social media led world.

It’s a great way to informally engage users through the use of fun, easy questions. The results of polls should be displayed once a consumer has cast their vote.

It’s a simple, straightforward and light-hearted way to gain insights into what aspects of a product or service users appreciate. As well as enlightening you as to what could be improved.

Say thanks

Customers love to be heard.

Forgetting to say thanks is not an option if you incorporate a user’s feedback in a product update or policy change.

You’ll gain valuable brownie points for letting them know that you listened to and implemented their suggestions.

So, make sure you follow up and say thank you. It is a powerful way to make your consumers feel closer to you. And a fabulous engagement opening which, far too often, Is completely underutilised.

Let’s face it, follow up is easy, no matter what size your business. Don’t squander the opportunity.

To learn more about how to better understand your customers, get in touch with us here at The Monachie Project and let our user experience consulting expertise guide you.

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