Customer feedback is a great source of learning for any business looking to improve their competitive edge.
Formalising your customer feedback can help you to assess your current products/services, give you valuable insights into the way customers perceive your brand and even guide you in future product development.
Unfortunately, the task of gathering customer feedback can be onerous and confusing. It is extremely important that your collection methods will not irritate customers, as this may potentially damage your brand.
Furthermore, you want to make the prospect of responding as enticing as possible because every piece of feedback is valuable.
Here are some important things to consider when collecting customer feedback:
1. Clarify your objectives
You should always have a specific goal in mind when collecting customer feedback. For example, gauging customer’s satisfaction with a particular product.
Blindly asking customers for their general opinions is likely to lead to confusion, both for you and your respondents. A specific goal will also ensure that your questionnaire is short, increasing the likelihood that people will complete it and also reducing the possibility of annoyance.
2. Use your staff
Before finalising the contents of your survey, ask your staff for their opinions on what you should include. Often your front line staff will have valuable input into what they think would be the most useful feedback.
An added advantage of this is that it will increase your employees’ sense of ownership in the company by showing them that you value their input.
3. Consider the best medium
If you want to host your customer feedback online then the sheer number of social media and survey software options available to you can be daunting.
When selecting an online feedback channel you should consider three things.
First, determine the degree of functionality you require.There is no point paying for features you do not need.
Second, assess the extent to which the software visually represents your branding (some of the inexpensive versions can look cheap).
Finally, you should decide whether you want the feedback to be one directional (they provide you with responses) or an open dialogue.
4. Wording your questions
Wording your questions and/or statements can be tricky. If your questions are deliberately leading or loaded, they are likely to irritate or even offend your respondents. Take care to avoid double barrelled questions as this can lead to confusion.
It is also important to ensure that you have not accidently assumed a degree of knowledge that the respondent might not have. For example, ‘Do you consider our new website to have improved functionality?’ assumes the customer was familiar with the old website.
5. Thank your respondents
A common complaint about providing customer feedback is that it was time consuming and that people feel that their opinions were not valued.
Something as simple as a generic thank you email or notification that they have been entered into a prize draw can make all the difference to a customer who has just given up their valuable time to help you.
Additionally, providing respondents with details about action that will be taken as a result of their feedback is an excellent way to promote your company as being proactive in meeting customer needs.