Anyone who runs a business knows the importance of customer feedback. Listening to customers will help you make better-informed business decisions around your services and operations. It will alert you to problems, so you can stop them from happening again. And it will help you adapt and evolve to changing customer needs.
What’s more, by proactively seeking and responding to customer feedback, you are showing your customers you care – a sure-fire way to gain trust and loyalty. Research published in the Harvard Business Review found that merely the act of asking for customer feedback is enough to keep customers from churning, even if they don’t actually provide feedback. (Here are more ways to build a loyal customer base.)
The challenge is how to obtain quality customer feedback. As the saying goes, “For every customer who bothers to complain, 20 other customers remain silent.”Because unless the experience is really bad, customers typically won’t bother to give you feedback. Instead, they’ll simply decide never to do business with you again.
Don’t wait until it’s too late. Here are three easy and budget-friendly ways to get customer feedback:
- Call your customers regularly
Calling customers is a highly personalised way to seek customer feedback and will generate the best responses. You get firsthand feedback, straight from the customer. At the same time, you can tell a lot from your customer’s voice and tone – something you won’t get from email feedback. What’s more, putting in the time to call your customers and ask for feedback is a meaningful way to build trusted ongoing relationships.
Pro Tip: Make sure the call comes across as a genuine way to obtain feedback, not a sales call.
- Email survey
Use tools such as SurveyMonkey to create a survey for your customers at critical points of their experience. Then send your customers a short email with the link. The survey could ask for feedback on their motivations for choosing your business, how they found you, feedback on particular parts of your service, and the overall service experience. The key is to ensure that each question serves a clear purpose. If you don’t plan on using the information to improve your business, don’t ask the question. SurveyMonkey is easy to use, with customisable pre-prepared templates meaning you can create and send your survey in minutes.
Pro Tip: Use open-ended questions. Multiple choice questions will give you answers based on your assumptions. If you really want to know what the customer thinks, give them open-ended questions and let them surprise you.
- Use incentives
Many customers won’t give feedback unless there’s something in it for them. Use an incentive, such as a gift voucher or discount, to encourage customers to share their thoughts. The discount doesn’t have to be related to your business – you might offer a free movie ticket or gift card for a local business.
Collecting customer feedback has to be an integral part of your business process. Think of it as one of the essential health checks for your small business. You’ll be surprised how willing people are to give you feedback when they know their opinion is valued.
- Check Business.gov.uk’s advice on seeking customer feedback.
- Get advice on how to create a customer feedback survey on SurveyMonkey
- Marketing guru Neil Patel shares the best ways to get customer feedback in this article.
How are you going to collect customer feedback?