Written by Vivek Jaiswal | Co-founder, Customer Guru
Why you should be collecting customer feedback?
If you would like to see your business grow and prosper, customer satisfaction is not only important but also necessary. Understanding how customers view your products, services and company is invaluable. It is only after you understand their point of view that you know your strengths and weaknesses.
No one could have put it more aptly than Bill Gates when he said
‘Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.’
So how do you measure customer satisfaction or understand their views? Simple: you ask them! You seek active feedback.
However, when undertaking this process of feedback collection, companies are faced with a multitude of decisions to make in order to get the most out of customer feedback. Amongst others, one of the most preliminary question is:
How and where to ask for customer feedback?
We have covered several other aspects of customer feedback in our earlier posts, and here we would like to answer this very question. Here are, what we believe, six most important ways to collect customer feedback:
1. Online Surveys
While online surveys are simple to execute, most often than not, they get back poor results because they are usually incomplete or responses are not of any use. One of the best ways to get the maximum out of these surveys is to ensure that they are short, sweet, and mobile friendly. Also, the easiest way to ensure that all the questions are answered is to have multiple-choice type of questions. This way the customer just chooses the response and is not burdened with thinking for the same. Use of free tools like google forms or survey monkey is a good place to start, but for more sophisticated real-time operationalisation of customer feedback, tools like omoto.io, customergauge.com, or promoter.io are highly recommended.
To get more tips on the finer aspects of the survey, please read this blog: how to create surveys that you customers love to respond to!
This is an invaluable way of collecting feedback from your customers. It gives customers an opportunity to pour out their heart and be frank about their experience. But like every coin has two sides, this method does too. You have to ensure that few things are adhered to so as to maximise the effectiveness of this channel.
First and foremost, you must ensure a speedy response. Even an automated acknowledgement so that the feels knows the feedback has been received and is being worked upon. Next, there shouldn’t be a huge lag between the automated acknowledgement and someone really addressing the customer’s issue personally – best is to get on a call with the customer to assure that the feedback has been received and something is being done about it. And finally, of course acting on the feedback and closing the loop.
3. Suggestion/Feedback boxes
This is a simple ‘old school’ feedback tool. Customers mostly would not voice out any concern unless it is a serious one. This works best in an offline customer touchpoint with high footfall where most customers may just walk away without any feedback or complaint and it would be difficult to gauge if something untoward took place. However a simple form attached to the ‘Suggestion Box’ asking for inputs on overall experience, service, ambiance, logistics etc. could give a good sense of the overall customer sentiment and the drivers for their happiness/unhappiness, which would make the difference between losing and retaining a customer. One tip though: please ensure there is a pen handy.
4. Third party surveys
Some companies hire third parties to conduct customer surveys on their behalf. These are usually done annually by the organizations and everything is taken care of by these third parties. The main reason for this is that it is an unbiased feedback and there is zero scope for manipulation of any kind. The feedback is then shared with the company by the third party in terms of facts and figures and no names are revealed. Such surveys give a detailed analysis of the overall customer satisfaction level but aren’t good in closing one-to-one customer issues. Moreover, with the lack of control and real-timeness in this method, companies should avoid making this as their only customer feedback channel.
5. Social Media Analysis
In this current day and age, the voice of customer on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter is louder than any other medium. This voice transcends across boundaries in no time, with reviews going viral in seconds. The concept of ‘Social Analysts’ must be incorporated in companies if they would like to hear raw and candid feedback from their customers. This will ensure that an organisation is on the same page as the customer with respect to her thoughts and views.
6. The Human Touch
No matter how advance technology gets, the good old ‘Hi, How’s the food?’ or ‘Good Evening, how’s your experience with us today?’ can never be matched. The difference between a great and amazing experience is the human touch. The respective Customer Service Managers or Company representatives walking up and asking customers about their feelings would obviously take them by surprise, but it will be a very pleasant one. This would not only impact the customer who has been spoken to but also impact the bystanders, thus creating an all round positive experience.
We believe that customers interact with companies through several channels and therefore organisations should use more than just one channel to seek feedback. Mixing some of the 6 ways listed above could yield great results. We would love to hear your thoughts on this. Also, if you can think of any other innovative ways of collecting feedback, please do share them.