Customer feedback strategies to improve your business

Finding out if customers are happy can help you improve your offering and grow your business. The result: more satisfied customers who are willing to spend more and keep coming back.

Customer feedback is vital for businesses of all sizes. It covers all aspects of your business – from customer service to how your products fit into customers’ lives and how likely customers are to recommend your business to others.

What is customer feedback?

Feedback can measure customer satisfaction, improve customer retention and provide customer insights that help you make better business decisions. Rather than speculating on what customers want, feedback lets you know for sure – and that means your business can grow in the right direction. You can use customer feedback to improve products and services and change how your company operates for the better.

Collecting feedback also shows that your business values your customers’ opinions, which can help turn them into valuable brand advocates.

It’s little wonder that 70% of companies that deliver a brilliant customer experience actively use customer feedback techniques. Customers really want to share their opinion on your business, too – 72% of consumers want to see that brands care and look for brands that listen as part of the buying process.

Customer feedback strategies – how to get feedback

There are plenty of ways to collect feedback. From starting conversations with customers in store to setting up online surveys and focus groups, there are options to suit different budgets and businesses.

Surveys and polls – Surveys are one of the more popular ways to get customer feedback and there are plenty of cheap or free online tools you can use to ask questions. You can run surveys on your website, social media accounts or send them to customers via email. To generate a high response rate, keep surveys short and focused – one to three questions is best. Use open-ended questions to encourage more detailed responses. Alternatively, use a scale system to record responses, such as ‘How satisfied were you with the delivery of your product’ on a scale of 1 to 10 where 1 is poor and 10 is excellent.

Live chat – Rapidly becoming a key customer service tool, live chat offers a great way to analyse what a customer is thinking and feeling. As chat transcripts are captured, you can comb through transcripts to unearth useful feedback on your business.

User testing – Using customers to test-drive an aspect of your business and record their experience is a great way to develop new prototypes, test new websites or check software for bugs. While user testing can be expensive, there are cheaper alternatives such as inviting customers to a drinks evening and sharing new product ideas and asking them for feedback. Avoid asking friends and family for user feedback as they can be biased. It’s best to ask for feedback from genuine customers.

Focus groups – Lots of insight agencies can arrange and host focus groups. An agency will find people in your target audience and invite them to a structured workshop, usually in a facility where you can watch customer interactions. It’s a good way to get rich, detailed feedback on new ideas, marketing campaigns or product prototypes before you launch them.

Website analytics – Use website analytics tools to see how customers journey through your website. Look at time spent on different sections, such as ‘About us’ or ‘FAQ’ pages to see if these address the questions customers have.

Social media – A cheap way to get customer feedback is via social media. Actively invite customers to connect with you on Facebook and Twitter, then monitor posts for feedback. It can be worth engaging directly with customers who post feedback asking for more information. Many social media platforms include surveys or polling tools to quickly gauge customer responses for free.

Using customer feedback to improve your business

Customer feedback is meaningless unless you use it to improve your business. It’s worth spending time on a customer feedback plan to ensure feedback supports your objectives and your business can act on it.

Set customer feedback objectives – Think about your goals before you start gathering customer feedback. Decide which part of your business you wish to get feedback on. Decide also which channel or technique will work best and how you will process the data you gather.

Analyse feedback – Take time to review feedback in order to identify issues and concerns with your products or services. When filtering feedback, look for trends or recurring issues as indicators of areas you should focus on.

Act on feedback – There’s no point gathering feedback unless you plan on acting on it. If customers complain about poor sales service then take action, such as reviewing performance and developing training for the sales team. Make a prioritised list of actions based on feedback and set a deadline for them to be implemented.

Respond to feedback – It’s a good idea to respond to customer feedback, both positive and negative. Respond to negative feedback by acknowledging the issue and outlining what your business is going to do about it. It’s a good idea to always thank customers for feedback as it can turn negative sentiment about your business into a more positive relationship with a customer.

Use positive feedback – Add positive reviews and testimonials to your website or promotional material. This type of feedback will boost your business’s credibility and increase interest in your products and services.

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