Asking customers to leave feedback is a great start towards sustainable customer experience management and later happier customers. So how should companies collect customer feedback?
For some companies collecting feedback is easy.
Maybe even too easy: I’ve come across a big corporation, which collects feedback, stores it somewhere and does nothing with it. There are no resources to read it through.
While server space is cheap, and this might feel like an easy way to make customers believe you listen to them, don’t do like this. You are just wasting your customers’ time and fooling yourself at the same time.
This company I came across is not happy with how things are, analyzing text feedback just happens to be too difficult and expensive with their current methods and resourcing. Collecting feedback is too easy for them.
For some companies collecting feedback is hard.
They are often B2B2C companies with no direct link to their end-customer. Many of these companies spend tens or hundreds of thousands of Euros on consumer research, doing annual or biannual surveys leading to very few insights. And when it is done seldom, there is a huge internal pressure to do it properly.
This often leads to overly long surveys which customers hate. In many cases, the results are still disappointing. The data and analytics arrive too late to have any proper value. The management feels they “knew this already” as it can take the research agency as long as 3 months to find the target group to interview, do the study and report the results.
Luckily there are more and more success stories in this field as well: companies who manage to ask the right question in the right place at the right time, not to burden customers with the surveys too much and who have a consistent method for analyzing the data, extracting the insights and acting on feedback.
So that being said...
How to collect customer feedback?
To start with, you should understand the purpose and targets of collecting the feedback. Asking customer feedback is the very first step on the way to building a successful relationship between the customers and the brand.
Actionable feedback should be one key source of insight behind your business development strategy. Who, if not your customers, know better how to improve your service?
Collecting customer feedback will help you to identify customers who’re at risk of leaving and stop reoccurring problems.
Also, happy customers are the best brand advocates you might ever have. And, as you might guess, the unhappy customers are the worst. According to the statistics, one happy customer will share their positive customer experience with 9 people. Unfortunately, the unhappy customers are even more likely to share their experiences: on average an unhappy customer tells about their bad experience to 16 people.
Before you start collecting customer feedback, make sure you know exactly:
- what part of customer experience you want to improve,
- how are you going to use the data,
- which channel works when communicating with your customers.
- All the three aspects are important for implementing a successful customer experience feedback collection strategy.
Resist the temptation of long surveys
Your immediate reaction might be to create a survey and ask what your customers think about every single aspect of your service. Don’t. The statistics gathered by Quicktap Survey show that the more questions you have, the less time customers spend on every question.
What to keep in mind when planning the survey? The more questions you ask – the less meaningful data you receive.
Long surveys have another downside as well: the more data you receive - the less likely you’re to go through all the data. As mentioned in the beginning: asking for feedback and just storing that somewhere is not going to help you nor your customer.
Keep it short. Our favorite metric system is Net Promoter Score® that consists of only two questions: a recommendation score and an open why-question. The free text feedback is a great source for insights while the numbers can be used in metrics follow up and target setting. You have probably already seen the standard NPS form many times.
The NPS is short, simple and easy to implement and use. From Apple to Airbnb, from Slack to Microsoft, multiple global leaders are already using the metric to their advantage.
Where to ask for feedback?
Customer feedback survey placements largely depend on your customers. What kind of business do you have? What is your main channel of communication with your customers? Taking that into consideration, most common approaches include:
- E-mail surveys
- In-app surveys
- Forms on web pages
- SMS surveys
- But there are many more
Choose a channel which is the most natural one from your customers' point of view. If they are using your app, use an in-app survey. If they have recently made a purchase in your online shop, send them an email asking for feedback about the purchase.
What is important to understand is that once a customer leaves feedback, it’s your turn to act.
Have a follow-up plan
We have seen small and large companies that collect customer feedback for the sake of... collecting customer feedback. Whenever you are asking for feedback, be ready to take action. Make decisions based on the feedback in a systematic manner. To be able to do this, we believe that the feedback should be analyzed in a manner that leads to actionable insights. (A list of customer comments is not actionable.) Read here how AI can help in making customer feedback more actionable.
The golden rule of customer experience is to follow up with your customers.
Ideally, you would respond to every single customer in a unique way, but in order to save your time, automate the process by creating a template for each category of customers, depending on their scores and type of feedback. Building personal relationships with your customers will both raise the response rates in the future and the scores themselves.
negative feedback is not the end
Thinking that you can never keep an angry customer is a very frequent mistake among businesses. An angry customer, who leaves feedback, is often open for dialogue. They give you a chance to apologize and take the issue into account.
According to Bain & Company, companies that managed to increase their customer retention rates by as little as 5%, could experience revenue growth by from 25% up to 95%. Accurately solve every negative case adding a personal touch and showing how you much care about each of your customers. If you manage to solve the issue successfully, your unhappy customer, experiencing excellent customer service, might turn into a loyal one.
Don’t forget about the happy customers!
Another mistake, done by many businesses, is that companies do not take any action with satisfied customers. Needless to say, happy customers often have ideas for service/product improvement, but they also are the biggest advocates of your company. Show them your love!
Even if you don’t reach out to every single happy customer as you might want to do with unsatisfied ones, there are different ways to improve the customer experience for both parties. Grow your happy customers into strong advocates of your brand. Do simple things – just sending a thank you note can work well.
Don’t collect customer feedback to keep it inside of your company. Create customer insights, take action, and, importantly, show your customers how you deal with the feedback they deliver.
Collecting feedback should nowadays be easy for almost anyone. Acting based on the feedback is the more difficult part. Luckily modern technology, and services such as Lumoa's, can help in dealing with that challenge as well.