How can businesses collect customer feedback?
Industrywide across various sectors businesses have increased their focus on improving customer experience to maintain higher customer loyalty. Most businesses collect customer feedback to know their satisfaction level and learn about areas where they can make improvements. It is an effective method to grow customer satisfaction and maintain higher trust among customers. Businesses rely on customer feedback to also learn of potential opportunities where they can fulfil unmet needs of various customer segments. With the growth of digital technology, it has become easier for businesses to collect customer feedback and grow their business.
In this article, we will discuss the benefits of collecting customer feedback, methods of collecting feedback and how businesses can use the feedback to improve business processes and policies.
What is customer feedback?
Customer feedback means the information and insights businesses collect from customers. Businesses collect feedback to know about customers’ experience with their brand, products and services. It helps the company learn about areas where customers had less than satisfactory experience or highly satisfactory experience. Companies can take action based on the feedback to improve areas where they are lagging and develop new products and services that customers will find useful.
Suggested Reading: How to be a customer driven company
Advantages of collecting feedback from customers:
There are several advantages of collecting feedback from customers. Businesses can improve their efficiency and profitability using customer feedback and grow the level of trust among customers and other stakeholders.
Attracting new customers:
Businesses that collect customer feedback and use it to improve the satisfaction of their existing customers find it easier to attract new ones. When you value your existing customers and show them that their opinion matters for you, customers are more likely to trust you and refer their relatives and friends to your business. Businesses must collect insights from customer feedback to improve their products and services and keep their customers satisfied. Higher customer satisfaction leads to superior word of mouth and this is something which works like a catalyst to help you grow your customer base.
Higher customer satisfaction and retention level:
Lower customer satisfaction or poor customer experience will cause your customers to switch to other brands. Businesses need to eliminate the deficiencies in processes that can cause higher customer dissatisfaction. Companies must collect feedback to learn about the products, processes and policies that may hurt customer satisfaction. Improving them will help create higher customer satisfaction and grow customer retention level. Satisfied customers make more frequent purchases and are less likely to switch to other brands.
Grow efficiency and profitability:
Another important benefit of customer feedback is improved business efficiency and profitability. Sometimes the best ideas can come from customers. Businesses can gain useful insights from their customers to know about those business processes that are lagging in terms of efficiency and hurting customer satisfaction. They can make improvements to gain higher efficiency which will benefit their bottomline. Customer feedback can be an important source of insights and can help identify deficiencies that are generally ignored.
Improve customer relationship:
Businesses want to retain every valuable customer. It requires maintaining strong customer relationships. One great way to improve customer relationships is to improve your customer feedback mechanisms. Collecting feedback regularly helps at maintaining customer satisfaction and strengthening customer relationships. Maintaining solid customer relationships is important to maintain the profitability of business. Strong customer relationships mean higher customer loyalty, higher sales and profitability. Applying the insights gained from customer feedback to make improvements that satisfy the customers will help strengthen trust and customer relationships.
Maintain loyalty by showing customers they are valuable:
It is important to demonstrate before the customers that you value them. One great way to do so is to value their feedback and show them that you are making improvements or changes that they want. Regularly collecting their feedback will show to them that you value their opinion and are always ready to respond to their needs.
How to collect customer feedback?
Collecting customer feedback has become easier for businesses due to the availability of serval digital channels. From email to social media and chatbots, all these channels are useful for collecting customer feedback. Depending upon the nature of your business, your target market, budget and the type of information needed, businesses can use one or more of these methods and channels to gain customer feedback.
Carry out customer feedback surveys:
Businesses can use electronic forms to carry out customer surveys. They can carry out surveys using their website, apps or email. Customers do not hesitate to fill survey forms if the questions are simple and can be answered quickly. Forms must include simple and only necessary questions.
Interview your customers:
Ask your representatives to interview your customers randomly. They can carry out face to face interviews or interview their customers on phone. Interviews can help you generate useful insights that are generally not available using other methods. While interviews can be time consuming, planning things before hand can help your reps carry out the interview without any difficulty and within a small timeframe.
Use feedback boxes and suggestion boards:
Feedback boxes and suggestion boards can also be useful methods of collecting customer feedback. Suggestion boards offer an extra advantage. Customers can see the suggestions others have provided and comment on them. Companies can also gain insights from these suggestion boards and identify areas requiring improvement based on the number of comments and votes.
Feedback boxes can also be a great method to gain insights from the customers and identify those minor issues which might otherwise go unreported.
Use the social media channels:
Social media channels have gained popularity as channels for getting customer feedback. Companies are using social media listening tools to find new opportunities and learn what customers are saying about their brand. Social media channels can also be used for carrying out surveys and to carry out polls for gathering customer suggestions. Often companies can find a large number of customers on a single social media platform making it easier for them to gather customer feedback. Businesses can use the feedback they have collected to improve their products and processes.
Collect feedback through transactional emails:
Businesses can gather feedback from their customers using transactional emails. These are the emails sent to the customers when they make a purchase or an upgrade. The open rate of these emails is also generally higher. Businesses can include one or two questions with these emails to collect customer feedback. Whether a customer is making a purchase or an upgrade or exiting a plan, businesses can ask a few questions to learn about customer satisfaction.
Collect feedback through live chat:
Live chat is often more effective for gathering customer feedback compared to other methods. Apart from speed and efficiency, the other advantage that it offers is that of personalization. Live chats are cost effective and efficient methods of collecting customer feedback. Businesses can gather customer feedback in real time using live chat. Live chat offers a more personalized experience compared to others. Several businesses use their customer service chats to an advantage. They also gather customer feedback when a customer asks for support. At the end, they include a customer feedback for to collect feedback regarding their satisfaction from products, services and the level of customer support offered.
Actually, businesses must not rely on a single method but depending on their needs and target market, they must use different types of feedback methods and technologies to their advantage and collect valuable customer insights. However, businesses must first create a customer feedback strategy and work on improving it to make it effective. They must incorporate customer feedback into their product and services strategies. Making it a part of product roadmap ensure that products meet customer demands better. Businesses can ask for customer feedback at various touchpoints. They key is to ask it at the right time. There are various technologies including live chat they can leverage to collect customer feedback and grow their business efficiency as well as profitability.
A few last words:
Customer experience and customer relationships have become important focus areas for businesses worldwide. A superior customer experience leads to higher customer satisfaction which in turn leads to higher customer loyalty. While businesses are investing in innovation to improve the customer experience, collecting customer feedback to develop new strategies that can improve customer experience is crucial. Customer feedback offers several advantages including higher efficiency and profitability as well as improved customer satisfaction and retention levels. since customers are the most important focus for businesses, their feedback can be helpful at improving products, processes and customer service.
Businesses can employ several channels to obtain customer feedback. With the advancement of digital technology, collecting feedback from customers has only become easier for businesses. Businesses can use digital channels to carry out surveys related to products and services and the level of customer satisfaction. Social media channels have also gained popularity as channels for collecting customer feedback and improving customer relationships. While it has now become common for businesses worldwide across various industry sectors to use live chat as a part of customer service, they also use it to collect feedback and understand customer satisfaction level. However, customer feedback is not just about understanding customer satisfaction level but it can be a source of valuable ideas for making improvements to products and processes which can drive higher satisfaction, improved sales and faster growth for businesses.