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The Do’s and Don’ts of Gathering Customer Feedback

Customer feedback is one of the most vital tools a savvy marketer has at their disposal. By maintaining and monitoring high-value feedback channels, it’s possible to highlight opportunities or blind spots an organization may never have considered. When utilized effectively, agile brands will convert that feedback into actions that drive product quality from good to great.

The challenge, however, is to adopt the strategies for transforming negative comments into positive results. For instance, while a well-crafted survey can help build customer loyalty, an open-ended feedback form at the foot of a website may be overlooked entirely.

With that in mind, here are some “Do’s and Don’ts” to guide your quest for customer feedback.

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Do: Monitor social media platforms

Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram allow companies to peek in on conversations among customers that express their feelings and attitudes about your brand. People tend to feel comfortable sharing on social media platforms, opening the door for candid feedback about a brand or organization. Turn their candor into your solution.

Also, remember to pay attention to negative comments, not just positive ones. It may not be the kind of feedback you’d like to hear, but there are often valuable lessons to be learned there.

Do: Use Net Promoter Score

Net Promoter Score allows customers to rate their experience on a 1 to 10 scale by answering just one question. Scores ranging from 0 to 6 represent varying degrees of negative responses, while 7 to 8 are neutral. 9 and 10 indicate positive customer experiences.

The best thing about this system is the instant quantitative feedback it provides, without requiring much time or effort from customers. This small-time investment from your customers will return a higher participation rate than many other feedback methods.

Do: Use Google Alerts or other feedback monitoring services

One way to obtain feedback without actively soliciting it from customers is to set up your product, service, or company name on Google Alerts. When any mention appears on a website, Google Alerts (a free tool) will send a notification to your inbox. With new message boards and consumer review sites popping up all the time, why not use them as brand insight resources?

Do: Text surveys to customers

SMS marketing is a surprisingly effective way of getting feedback from consumers. First of all, text messages have a 98% open rate. What’s more, people are apt to respond quickly when faced with a glowing message notification — in fact, customers will respond to about 90% of those texts within three minutes.

Just remember to be brief. Texts are at their most effective when easily skimmable.

Do: Trade customer incentives for feedback

A customer’s time translates directly into money. So why not incentivize the time it takes to fill out a survey, questionnaire, or other feedback method? Wherever possible, compensate the customer for their time with discounts, exclusive rewards, or other free resources. What better way to engender goodwill from a customer?

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Don’t: Get too nosey too early

Business owners want to know about their customers, but they also want to avoid annoying them in the process. The key to teasing out personal details is to avoid asking sensitive questions too soon, such as details about household income or education level.

Until you’ve established a warm relationship, the better approach is to focus on how consumers feel about your product and the value it adds to their day-to-day life — a valuable question in itself!

Don’t: Rely too heavily on email surveys

Emailing your customers is an easy temptation, as you already have their addresses on file. At the same time, emails have a mere 23% open rate — if you’re lucky. While it remains an important feedback tool, it shouldn’t be the only one.

Wherever possible, focus on feedback methods that maximize your customer’s time and your own. 60% of respondents don’t want to participate in surveys that run longer than 10 minutes. When you do use email, keep it brief and use eye-catching subjects and other techniques to attract attention.

Don’t: Ask vague questions

“Did you have a good experience?” This question can give you a general sense of whether a customer likes your company, but it has no quantitative or qualitative value in itself. Phrasing the question in this way makes it challenging to articulate customer challenges or how you can fix them.

Instead, ask focused questions and leave room for detailed feedback. The following examples, while still generalized, will prove much more effective:

  • What did you enjoy about your experience?
  • How would you rate your experience on a scale of 1 to 10?
  • What can we do to improve your experience with us in the future?

Don’t: Ask too many questions

Unsurprisingly, people don’t want to waste their time on endless survey questions. According to Forbes, about 80% of customers reported ditching a survey halfway through.

When creating a survey or feedback form, determine what information would be the most useful or relevant for your team. By obtaining essential details about your customer’s experience right away, you can elevate your product or service without wasting anyone’s time.

Don’t: Take too long to act on feedback

Reacting quickly to feedback is crucial. There’s no point in asking customers about their experience if they don’t see you addressing their concerns.

The best approach to handling feedback is “as soon as possible.” If you can, follow up with customers to ensure the matter was resolved to their satisfaction.

Do: Treat customers the way you’d like to be treated

Sometimes the most valuable thing you can do is put yourself in your customer’s shoes. How would you like to be treated if the roles were reversed? Understanding an outsider’s perspective through feedback can drive some of the most candid and actionable insights your business ever receives. Fully realizing that feedback to the point of actionability will enable you to transform your brand for the better.

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