Businesses that want to grow and increase their profits need to focus on improving their products and services. And to do that, they have to know what their customers want. The easiest and most efficient way of getting that customer insight is to collect it through feedback.
Collecting feedback from customers should be a big part of your business strategy, as it will help you understand what your customers want, improve the bottom line, develop new products, and much more.
But before you can do any of that, you need to learn how to collect customer feedback. And that’s exactly what we’re going to do next...
10 Methods to Collect Customer Feedback
These are some of the most common methods companies around the world use to collect customer feedback.
1. Live chat
End every live chat conversation with an automated feedback survey or a person-to-person interaction where your representative can ask the customer to rate their experience. This type of feedback is instant and very accurate since the experience is still fresh in the customer’s mind.
Live chat feedback can be recorded by a star rating, a multiple-choice questionnaire, or a text the customer types out themselves.
Surveys are a popular method of feedback collection because they’re easy to make and distribute. Also, you can customize them with any type of questions and format you want. You can also include multiple customer feedback techniques in surveys to ensure you collect actionable data.
If you’re looking to collect information about one specific topic or issue, a poll is your best choice. Companies usually use polls when they want to get information about their customers’ demographics, what they think about new products, if they want to receive updates on products, and so on.
If you’re wondering how to collect customer feedback on your website, using online polls is a great option, but you can also send these polls in emails or post them on social media.
Those who are looking to get a more in-depth insight into how their customers are feeling about the choices and decisions the business is making should send out questionnaires. Through feedback questionnaires, you’ll be able to create a better experience for your customer base and make changes and improvements that will benefit individual customers.
5. Email and customer contact forms
Since email is the main support channel for most businesses, you can turn every customer interaction into an opportunity to collect feedback from them. But if you want to have a good email feedback collection process, you need to:
- Set clear expectations on what you want from their feedback and explain how you plan on using it.
- Send personalized responses to everyone who provides feedback.
- Have a system for organizing all of the feedback you receive.
6. Exploratory customer interviews
Reaching out to customers directly and having an open conversation with them can get you better and more accurate feedback. By conducting customer interviews, you can get into topics that you wouldn’t usually discuss in other methods for collecting feedback and you can get qualitative stories.
When you’re conducting these interviews, ask open-ended questions at first but get more specific as the interview progresses. Also, always be open and receptive to what they have to say, even if you don’t like their feedback.
And make sure to take advantage of video conferencing tools to talk to customers in the case of social distancing.
7. Social media
Social media is filled with a lot of honest feedback from customers. Through social listening, you can sometimes get more candid insight than from surveys and questionnaires. You can monitor mentions and direct comments on social networks to see what customers really think of your brand and business.
Additionally, a lot of consumers today contact businesses via social media, especially younger generations, so you can get their feedback from direct messages as well.
8. Phone calls
Some people think this is an outdated communication channel, especially for businesses. But if you really want to understand someone’s point of view and opinion, you need to hear their voice. While written feedback provides you with raw data, spoken feedback shows you the emotions behind the data.
Of course, you shouldn’t call your customers out of the blue. Schedule every phone call in advance and make sure it’s at a time that works for both you and the customer. And you should only call those people who have been loyal customers for a while and have been open to providing feedback in the past.
9. Transactional emails
These are the emails a company sends out right after a customer signs up for a service or upgrades their plan. While most people see these emails as a necessary notice, if you know how to proceed to collect customer feedback right after you send it, you can get a lot of useful data.
Transactional emails usually have high open rates because people want to know if their transaction was successful. So by asking feedback questions in transactional emails, there’s a high chance you’ll get a response.
10. Suggestion boards
Suggestion boards take collecting feedback to the next level because they allow users to make their own feedback posts that other users can comment on and upvote. This way, you won’t only collect customer insight but also see which customer ideas are popular with other customers.
5 Types of Customer Satisfaction Surveys
Now that you know how to collect customer feedback and all the best methods of doing so, let’s take a closer look at the different types of customer satisfaction surveys.
Net Promoter Score (NPS) Surveys
Net Promoter Score surveys measure the likelihood of a customer recommending your business and products to their friends and family. These surveys are a simple and efficient way to measure loyalty because all you have to do is ask how likely the customer is to recommend your business to someone.
Usually, these surveys have a scale from 0 to 10 (very unlikely to very likely), and based on the answers your customers provide, you can divide them into three categories: promoters, passives, and detractors.
When you subtract the percentage of your detractors from the percentage of your promoters, you’ll get your NPS. That way, you’ll have a realistic idea of what your customers think of your company.
Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) Survey
The Customer Satisfaction Score survey measures how satisfied your customers are with your business, products, or services. You can usually find CSAT questions at the end of customer feedback surveys, such as “How would you rate your overall satisfaction?”
You can either include this question in a regular survey or create a specific CSAT survey where you’ll ask multiple questions that target different segments of your business.
For example, if a customer buys something from your website, one question can measure how satisfied they are with the product and another can measure how easy the website was to use. But to get the most out of these surveys, you need to base your questions on qualitative research.
Customer Effort Score (CES) Surveys
Customer Effort Score surveys are another method companies use to measure customer satisfaction. They show the amount of effort customers need to put in to perform a specific action.
Usually, the questions in this type of survey are phrased like “How easy was it to perform x task/action?” and the customers can answer on a scale ranging from very easy to very difficult. In some CES surveys, the customers can also provide answers by using stars or smiley faces.
Needless to say, your CES is really important. If your customers find it easy to use your products or services, they’ll be more likely to become repeat customers and recommend your business to others.
A lot of things can damage your business and reputation, but one of the biggest contributors to customer frustration is a poor and hard-to-use website. A site your customers don’t know how to navigate and use will definitely not attract them, it will repel them.
To avoid making a bad impression with a poor website, you can test out how your customers and visitors feel about their online experience with usability surveys. Learning how to collect customer feedback on your website isn’t enough, you also need feedback about the actual website as well.
Usability surveys usually pop up when someone is on your website and they’re typically in the form of chats. You can use either close-ended and multiple-choice questions if you want to collect raw feedback or open-ended questions in live chat to get further insights.
In the world of business, you need to refine your website every once in a while to stay relevant and keep up with trends. So instead of coming up with new ideas by yourself, why not allow your customers to do it for you?
Customer Exit/Cancellation Surveys
Not every customer is going to stay with your business forever, and that’s perfectly fine. And if someone wants to leave, you can get valuable insight from them by finding out why exactly they decided to leave and cancel your services.
Customer exit surveys usually appear after a customer cancels their subscription to a service and they are typically a simple questionnaire with one multiple-choice question. If you provide a service, always ask customers why they chose to leave.
When you ask even a simple question while someone is going through the cancellation process, you can uncover some issues you might not have been aware of.
Bonus: 6 Mistakes to Avoid When Collecting Customer Feedback
Knowing how to collect customer feedback also means learning how not to do it. There are many little mistakes businesses make when they’re sending out surveys, and it’s important to know what to avoid.
- Asking at the wrong time. You’ll get the best feedback only if you strike when the iron is still hot. Customers can provide more accurate insight when the experience is still fresh in their minds and, if you wait too long, they probably won’t even care enough to reply to your survey or questionnaire.
- Not asking why. Sometimes, follow-up questions are necessary. If a customer sends feedback claiming they’re not satisfied with something and you fail to ask what the reason for their dissatisfaction is, the feedback will be worthless.
- Ignoring negative feedback. When you receive negative feedback, you need to own up to your mistakes and shortcomings and explain that you’ll work hard to resolve the issue. Otherwise, you’ll come off as a company that doesn’t care about its customers.
- Taking emotions out of the equation. It’s important to realize that emotions play a big part in driving purchasing decisions and that people often buy products and services due to psychological reasons. So make sure to create questions that take those emotions into consideration.
- Not asking about triggers. Most companies put focus on customer experience during surveys, but rarely does anyone ask what triggered the person to become their customer. If you ask an open-ended question about why they chose your business, you’ll know what makes you attractive to potential buyers.
- Only asking yes/no questions. Sometimes, yes/no questions can be useful, but most of the time you need to go deeper and allow customers to explain why they decided to answer positively or negatively. Don’t be afraid to dig deeper.
How Are You Going to Start Collecting Customer Feedback?
The process can often be much more complicated and complex than some people believe. However, if you take your company, products, and market into consideration, it will be easier to decide how to proceed to collect customer feedback.
If you’re not already exploring all the different ways of collecting feedback, it’s time to change that right away. By knowing what questions to ask, and who to ask, you’ll improve your products, gain loyal customers, and increase your net promoter score, among other things.