Customer Feedback

What Is Customer Feedback?

Customer feedback is the collective term for any type of communication with existing or prospective customers which conveys their experience with or impression of your business.

It ranges from very specific, such as feedback on a new product or service, to very broad, such as feedback on company culture.

Depending on the size and scope of your business, user feedback is generally received through a support team, which acts as your front line for filtering input.

Collecting customer feedback is central to growth and development in businesses of all sizes and at all stages, but it is only effective inasmuch as you are able to harness and leverage it. Planning ahead can make all the difference.

Why Is It Important?

Without feedback, you can only speculate as to what motivates customers’ buying behavior.

You might of course be right—but there is valuable insight to be gained by hearing it directly from your customers, in their own language.

Insights gleaned from customer feedback analysis can be used to guide everything from crafting accurate buyer personas, to determining effective keywords for your SEO strategy, to deciding which new features and products to develop and how to prioritize them.

Better yet, you can get most of this information for free, and if done correctly it can serve to strengthen your relationships with some of your best customers.

4 Steps to Guide Your Customer Feedback Strategy

  1. Ask yourself why you’re collecting feedback.

    What questions are you trying to answer? Which features are you looking to improve? How will you use the information once it’s gathered? The more specific, the better.

  1. Define a process for managing the feedback you collect

    The process should include which channels to use, how to organize and record information (think tagging systems and online messaging boards), how to prioritize issues that are deemed critical or filter out issues that are not, and how to follow-up with customers (a poor follow-up strategy can completely undermine your best laid customer feedback efforts).

  1. Build a customer support team that conveys your company values.

    Nothing beats the solid combination of a clear vision amplified by strong communication skills. Your customer support team must be able to listen, empathize and express themselves clearly and professionally.

  1. Document your process, distribute it, and make sure employees actually use it.

    Be sure to include both high-level and in-depth outlines of the process to make it as functional as possible.

Popular Methods of Collecting Customer Feedback

The following is a list of the most common and effective methods for collecting feedback from customers.

Ratings and Reviews:

Ratings and reviews provide honest feedback from customers on your online store and individual products or services. Through reviews, you can gain a better understanding of how customers value your store. More importantly, you can display this feedback to other buyers to gain customer trust and inspire more reviews.

Email/Contact Forms:

Emails are the oldie but goody of online marketing. Despite the onslaught of new communication formats, email remains relevant as ever and is one of the most effective channels for reaching customers: it’s personal, unintrusive and offers incredible ROI.

Surveys:

Whether you’re looking to create a one-question slider or an in-depth questionnaire, there are plenty of great free survey tools that you can find online that offer both software for building, deploying and tracking your surveys, as well as strategic advice on how to formulate questions.

Usability Tests:

While this method is most often used with web-based products, the basic principles are relevant to any business and can be summed up with everyone’s favorite acronym: Keep It Simple Stupid.

Exploratory Interviews:

This method requires more effort than the others on the list, both in terms of preparation and execution, but the level of user feedback you’ll get can prove to be invaluable.

Social Listening:

As with surveys, there are many free online tools to help you monitor your social channels for feedback, including targeted responses and general sentiment analysis.

On-Site Activity (via Analytics):

Customers may lie (usually unintentionally), but numbers don’t. Using analytics to see how people are engaging with specific pages on your site is one of the most effective tools in your customer feedback arsenal.

Comment Boxes:

Well-placed comment boxes are a no-brainer. To maximize their effectiveness, prompt users to fill them out with customized messages for specific product pages or at particular stages in the user journey.

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