How to ask your customers for valuable feedback
Updated: Dec 30, 2021
“It takes humility to seek feedback. It takes wisdom to understand it, analyze it, and appropriately act on it.” - Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
There’s precious input to be found in feedback coming from your customers. This unique evaluation can help you learn and improve, and see your own business from a different perspective. But as much as you would like to hear all about your customers’ experiences, they’re not always as enthusiastic to share those with you. Writing down their thoughts requires time and effort on their part, a task they would only be bothered with when it comes to serious issues and complaints - or when overwhelmed with joy after a successful experience.
For the rest of the time, clients usually let most minor annoyances slip, leaving you unaware of the details that, if only you could tweak and alter, would cater to your users’ needs much better and drastically improve your product or service. If you approach your clients’ input correctly, you’re sure to find some valuable information about your business that is yours for the taking. Here’s how to ask for feedback from your customers:
01. Be intentional and precise
While welcoming customer feedback might be a courteous gesture (‘Feel free to share your feedback with us! We’d love to hear your thoughts!’), you’re in it for more than just politeness and good manners. In order to conduct research that is truly applicable, it’s crucial to clearly define your intent before reaching out to your customers. Your knowledge of your company’s roadmap and your product’s most pressing needs should lead the way in setting a goal that is simple and straightforward. If you’re a catering company, for example, you might want to set delivering times as your current objective. In that case, relevant factors could be the time each delivery took, as well as whether or not the food was hot when served. But don’t wander off too far. Asking about the selection of desserts would be irrelevant to the topic, and would only make your results more general and vague.
Another tip is to look for questions that can be answered in more than just a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ manner, so that the feedback you receive is as specific and detailed as possible. For that reason, ‘How long did it take until you received your order?’ is a much better question than ‘Was the the food catered in a timely manner?’. Know what it is about your product that you want to improve, and focus only on that.
02. Find your target audience
Now that you know what it is you will be asking, you need to decide who you would like to address this question to. Different customers go through different experiences with your product or service and have varying levels of familiarity with it. Target wisely, so that you collect feedback only from clients who can contribute to your research goal. Here too, narrowing down your selection helps to generate feedback that’s on-point, and increases the chances of implementing the advice you receive. There are many types of customers with different needs and concerns, but this basic customer segmentation is a useful place to start:
Long-term clients: Your most loyal and trusted base of customers is familiar with your product or service inside and out. As such, they deserve to be approached with questions that are fitting to their level of expertise. What it is that they are getting out of your offer, for example, or how they feel about your support team, and what their main challenges with your products or services have been so far.
New clients: These fresh-comers are the ones to ask about their onboarding experience, their expectations from your offer, what made them sign-up in the first place, and so on.
Prospective clients: Many of your visitors who come into your website go through most of the signing up or ordering process - and for some reason never see it through till the end. Something along the way to conversion obviously went wrong here, and getting customer feedback from this group can provide valuable information about what can be improved in this critical stage.
03. Find your method
To receive honest feedback from your customers, reach out proactively and engage in conversation. There are many different channels for reaching out to customers, so find the ones that best fit your needs and create a combination of channels that works for you. Keep your target audience in mind, and try to think what their favorite platforms are and what form of communication they prefer.
Customer support: Customer support is already an active part of your business, and that’s where your clients are taking their main complaints. Be attentive and pay attention to what it is that they’re saying, because they’re speaking openly and from real scenarios. Wix Answers, a leading help desk, considerably eases the process of collecting relevant feedback from your support interactions by arc
hiving all of your tickets, collecting data from your various channels (from email to phone to social media), and making it available to you and your agents, 24/7.
Quick polls: Ask questions that cover a very specific subject, and place them on the relevant section of your site. If you’ve added a new online feature, for example, run a quick poll at the bottom or on the side of the page dedicated to this feature, asking your customers how useful they found it to be. Note that web surveys should be limited to a few questions only, as Internet users have very limited attention span.
Surveys: Compose a survey of 5-10 questions on a specific topic, and distribute it to your mailing list or social media followers. Make sure that every question you include in the survey is one that you will be able to use and apply. Ask open questions that invite an honest response.
Comment boxes: Leaving a comment box at the bottom of different pages on your site is almost effortless on your part, and it’s an equally effortless way for your customers to leave feedback. They can quickly and easily drop you a line in this designated area, and just carry on with their day.
Customer analytics: Track the way your customers behave on your website to gain insights on what you can modify and adapt. Look at failed searches, or pages that people spend too little time on. Using tools such as Google Analytics, you’ll be able to access all this valuable information.
Live chat: While this option requires a representative to be available for chat, it also guarantees your customers will receive a personal response in real time. Make this customer support feature into more than a necessity and into a beneficial provider of feedback by developing a system of reporting important feedback. Simply make sure you can chat with your website’s visitors on the go by downloading the free Wix Mobile App.
Social media: Make the most out of your social media platforms by engaging with your customers with direct comments and mentions, but also generate conversation by initiating short polls that can be a fun and quick way of hearing what’s on your customers’ mind.
Email: Emails can allow for a real conversation to develop, being more private than social media and more personal than a survey. Write your emails in a friendly and conversational tone that feels human and not automated, and make sure to reply to all of the emails you receive.
Usability testing: This method of seeing your users test your product themselves and trying to figure their way around, can teach you a great deal about some of the major flaws that you need to address. Read more about the main steps in usability testing from expert UX designer here at Wix, Yaya Aaronsohn.
One-on-ones: What better way of receiving customer feedback than actually sitting down and talking to your users? Form real human connections with face-to-face interviews, house calls or online calls, chat and hear from your customers how and why they use your service.
04. Show your appreciation
Now that you’ve gathered a lot of feedback from your customers - it’s your turn to show how much you appreciate their help. After they have taken the time to share their thoughts and feelings with you, make sure to write personal thank you notes, friendly emails and fun social media responses. Make a point of replying to each and every message and comment you receive within 24 hours - it helps build a relationship of trust with your clients, and makes them feel like their voices are being heard. In case you’ve received customer feedback that is now implemented into your service - make sure to contact the clients who gave you this great advice in the first place and be sure to update them. They will be happy to hear the news and will most likely become more emotionally involved and loyal with your business.
The gift issue: When it comes to thanking your customers for participating in a survey or placating an angry customer, a lot of small business owners are tempted to hand over some kind of gift. It can come in the shape of a coupon, a free sample, or anything else. While showing appreciation is very important, it is also recommended to refrain from gifting too generously, so as not to make presents into an anticipated habit. As much as an incentive is always welcome, feedback should come from a real desire rather than the urge to get a free perk. Most of the time, a simple thank you note is enough.
05. Try and implement the advice you’ve been given
Customer feedback is a great tool with which you can learn and improve. So now that you’ve gathered the insights, it’s time to take your customers’ opinion into consideration and act on some of their valuable advice. Undoubtedly, you won’t be able to address all of your clients’ wishes - be it for limited resources, or because you might not want to spend too much time applying a request that’s too niche or not relevant with your current priorities. However, embrace the comments and criticism and use them for growing and developing your product or service. Look for suggestions that repeat from several people - those are the topics that your customers care about most, and act on those first. Other relevant input can be used to learn more about your clients, and others can be put aside for future implementation. The most important lesson here is to really listen to what your customers have to say in order to keep your product or service evolving and ahead of the game.
Ready to collect your first customers’ feedback? Set up your help desk software now!