How to Ask Your Customers for Valuable Feedback
Updated: Dec 28, 2019
“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.