This article was originally published on November 24th, 2021 but was updated on May 3rd, 2022.
You can learn more from your customers about how to improve your business than just about anything else. In fact, your customers can provide more valuable feedback than you can achieve through expensive listening platforms. It all starts with hearing what they have to say and taking action. Finding customers may be somewhat easy, but keeping them coming back can be a real challenge. So how do you know what to do in order to keep your customers happy? In this article we will discuss why you should collect customer feedback and eight different ways on how to get feedback from your customers.
Why Should You Collect Customer Feedback?
Customer feedback is one of the most crucial keys in helping your small business succeed online. When you actively collect customer feedback, it shows customers that you care, value their opinions, and that your business wants to know how they feel about your product and brand. When customers feel valued and heard, they will want to keep supporting your business.
Remember, collecting feedback is a two way street. When you ask your customers to be honest about their experience, you need to be willing to actively listen. Take the time to carefully analyze their comments and suggestions. This will make it easier to take the steps needed to collect meaningful and constructive feedback.
8 Best Ways To Get Feedback From Customers
Finding what your customers want from your business can sometimes be a difficult task. Luckily, there are many excellent tools and ways in which your business can go about getting feedback from your customers:
1. Ask For Reviews
One of the best ways to hear from your customers is to solicit reviews on various platforms. There are hundreds of review platforms out there, including Google My Business, Google Maps, Yelp, Clutch, SiteJabber, etc. All of them can benefit your business by collecting more reviews and showcasing your services. Reviews are today’s word of mouth and people want to know about others’ experiences with your business before they become customers. Having good reviews can help increase the chances that more people will come to your business door or website simply because other people have had a good experience.
How Do You Gather Reviews?
Ask for them! Use platforms that will send automated texts and emails after the point of sale to help keep their experience fresh in their mind. If you’re not a B2C business, you could use your database to see what customers most successfully use your services, and send them an email. You could also incentivize your requests. Many platforms ban you from offering money or goods for positive reviews. However, you could offer discounts or incentives to help build up to a reward to be used only at your business. It can be as simple as offering small incentives for any feedback, whether good or bad.
The bad reviews, even though difficult, can be the most helpful in teaching you how to improve your business. Bad reviews provide opportunities for growth and highlight pain points you need to work on. Of course you should do everything in your power to rectify the situation and fix customer issues. But remember, take it as a learning experience to improve the issue to make sure it doesn’t happen again. It’s important for your business to respond to negative reviews to resolve the situation.
2. Create Surveys
Asking your customers to complete online surveys is probably the first thing that comes to mind when you think about collecting customer feedback and is one of the most effective ways to collect data from your target audience. Surveys can help you collect information about your product and a customer’s overall experience with your brand.
There are a few different ways to create surveys and send them out to customers:
- Reach out through email campaigns.
- Provide links at the bottom of your sales receipts and point them out.
- Stop customers on their way out of your store or establishment and ask if they have a couple minutes to answer a few questions.
Here is a simple example of a survey feedback form:
Even if you don’t get as many responses as you want, any feedback is beneficial as it provides crucial learning opportunities. Remember to only ask questions that will get meaningful responses. You could ask questions about what:
- Directed them to purchase your product
- Their customer service experience was like
- Suggestions they have for improving your customer experience
- What improvements your business could make for next time they visit
Asking the right questions in your surveys will help you find ways to stay relevant and benchmark your progress in the changing and competitive online marketplace. Be descriptive and give your customers the opportunity to be as detailed as possible. The feedback you receive from these surveys will be valuable as you try to grow and improve your business.
3. Utilize Email Marketing
Online communication is one of the best ways to get feedback back from your customers. Email marketing is a great way to accomplish this in a short amount of time. Creating inviting and engaging emails will give them additional opportunities to interact with your business. Companies like Mailchimp, Hubspot, and Constant Contact offer easy to use, beginner friendly platforms – designed especially with small/medium sized businesses in mind. Staying top of mind helps them know that your business is there to help with, whatever the problem or issue.
If not email, find where your customers are. If you offer digital products, offer videos and digital methods of communications. Communication provides value to your audience and gathers valuable data to shape decision making in the future.
4. Be Active on Social Media
Social media is a great way to stay in contact and engage with your customers. Actively post appealing content on your pages. The more interactive your content, the better! Post videos, photos, and ask for comments and suggestions. When someone comments on your page or sends you a direct message, make sure to respond quickly and professionally. Responding to everyday feedback will help your customers feel valued, and develop a sense of loyalty towards you and your brand.
Another way to use social media to communicate with your customers is by posting to your Instagram and Facebook stories. With stories, you can post behind the scenes content, polls, and make it easy for loyal and happy customers to repost your content to their story. You can also post giveaways on your social media accounts to drive customer interaction and engagement rates.
You should also consider posting customer success stories to social media. This shows your success to everyone who might cross it. It will help build credibility and trust for your brand over time.
5. Conduct Customer Interviews
For a more direct approach, you could conduct customer interviews or hold focus groups to gather more specific and reliable information. Simply ask customers if they would like to perform an interview or participate in a focus group to improve the business. If needed, offer incentives if you struggle to find participants. For example, if you manage a restaurant, offer someone in line a chance to buy a free meal if they answer a handful of questions. If you manage a massage therapy clinic, offer a discount for the customers’ next session. Although a more costly approach, conducting customer interviews may be a great way to obtain better information in a timely manner.
6. Setup Suggestion Boxes
Suggestion Boxes (online or in-person) are a great way to get direct feedback from customers at a low cost. If you have a business with a physical location, you can simply set up a suggestion box with pen and paper. Ideally, customers would simply fill out a form and leave their feedback within the box. If you have more online customer traffic, setup areas on the site where customers can fill out an “online suggestion box”.
This box could be implemented at the bottom of the site or right after a customer makes a purchase – wherever makes the most sense. You can use internal links on the website to link to the online suggestion box to ensure as many customers as possible see it. Make the suggestion box as creative as possible to grab the attention of more customers!
7. Use Google Analytics
In a growing digital world and marketplace, all businesses should have a website. Google Analytics is an excellent way to understand which pages customers visit often and which pages have high bounce rates. Bounce rate refers to the percentage of users who visit a website page and then leave without visiting other website pages. Creating a Google Analytics account is simple and there are many online resources that can help you understand the performance of your website pages. If there are pages that customers visit often, make sure those pages are useful and engaging. If there are pages with a higher than average bounce rate, find ways to optimize the page for a better customer experience. Overall, use Google Analytics to figure out which aspects of your website work well, and which areas need improvement.
8. Take Advantage Of Point-Of-Sale Interactions
A huge part of receiving customer feedback is simply asking for it. Sometimes point of sale conversations like “how was your experience?”, “did you find everything you needed?”, or “how could we improve your experience today?” can go a long way. You can take advantage of this strategy during online and in-person interactions. When you receive meaningful feedback, analyze it and decide what action you want to take in order to make positive changes for your business.
Your customers can play a huge role in your success as a business. Listen to what they have to say, and communicate when possible. If your business is professional, transparent, and willing to change, trust will come. Collecting feedback from your customers helps your business know what to look out for, what things should be improved, and how to plan for the future.
Get Feedback From Your Customers Today
Gathering feedback is a great way to build trust with your customers, and grow your online presence. Asking for reviews and suggestions helps your customers feel valued and heard. If you have yet to start, get started right away! Receiving feedback from your customers will play a significant role in improving many aspects of your business. Manta can help your business get feedback from your customers through our business listing setup and management. Listing your business helps reach out to more potential customers you may not be reaching in your local area. If you are interested in learning more about how to improve your visibility online, learn more about Manta’s affordable SEO services today!