*This article was originally published at http://www.reviewtrackers.com/customer-feedback-channels/
Customer feedback comes in many forms.
It can be a long, drawn-out Yelp review or a three-word tweet. It can be helpful or it can be brutal. The way businesses find and use feedback is oftentimes a good indicator of the value businesses put on their customers. It informs businesses of performance using the most reliable benchmark: customer experience.
This will also help a business build a reputation, raise awareness, and grow a brand’s exposure. To make the most of this feedback, you really need to optimize your customer feedback channels.
These channels will give you the valuable advice that a business needs to improve. Customer feedback is a valuable resource for your company, so it should be taken very seriously.
Consider these channels:
1-to-1 Customer Interviews
To optimize this channel, ask the most specific questions possible.
1-on-1 customer interviews are one of the purest forms of customer feedback, but not without their fault. When you are conversing with a customer, the element of revealing their true opinions could be skewed due to the approach of those that they are speaking about, a form of confirmation bias.
To optimize your 1-on-1 customer interviews, make sure you are prepared with specific questions that relate to your goals. For instance, say that you want to evaluate a specific aspect of the checkout process or the quality of service your company offered the client compared to previous visits.
Ask specific questions like, “Was it easy to use? Yes or no, and why?” or “Were the staff friendly and on-time?” These are things that can improve the customer experience for you.
To optimize this channel, you need to ask specific questions, related to issues that you want to know more about from a customer perspective.
Feedback Request Emails
For any business that actively interacts with customers, it is wise to regularly send out feedback requests in an e-mail.
However, put yourself in your customer’s shoes for a moment. If “best practices” is sending out feedback requests in an e-mail, your customers are often becoming inundated with similar e-mails from every customer experience they are having online or in-store.
Unless your customers have a strong emotional attachment to your brand or a visceral interaction with your company, an e-mail feedback strategy may take extra planning to establish the correct cadence of when to send them out, the tone to use, and the expected outcome.
This channel is best used when your business has already established a communication framework with a customer.
Ideally, you’ve already established your Net Promoter Score and are asking a diverse group of promoters and detractors about their experiences with your business. Ask your customers after a purchase or interaction with your business, but not every time. Once they do provide feedback, make a note to remove them from your list or mark it in your CRM.
As far as tone, the feedback request e-mail should be docile and passive. You are fundamentally intruding on a customer’s inbox. For a consumer perspective, a feedback e-mail is an interruption. Be friendly and speak to them like they are the most loyal customer.
You can help encourage customers to leave feedback with a coupon or another incentive. Even a chance to win a gift card would do wonders on the amount of feedback you get in return.
Make it easy to provide feedback in the e-mail by allowing a reply address or a simple landing page designed specifically for that one purpose.
To optimize your customer feedback on social media, make sure your audience knows you’re listening and available. Then quickly take the conversation private. In online customer service, the general rule is two interactions with the customer. Then take the conversation to a phone call or an e-mail exchange.
You don’t want to get into a public Facebook argument in the comments. It will never end well.
Social media has become extremely popular for customer experience management and can have a huge impact on your business.
For this channel, you need to have an established social presence where you can actively engage your customers, and enough free time to respond to them within an acceptable time frame — ideally within an hour.
If that isn’t manageable for your business, you’re better off including a phone number or e-mail address in your social media bio that helps funnel customer feedback to a more closely monitored channel.
Online reviews are the pinnacle of customer experience metrics.
Start by claiming your online review profiles. When you have consistent online review profiles on every website possible, you’re ensuring that your online reviews are being spread to more than one data source, raising awareness of your brand.
This is especially true if they have a particularly negative or positive experience with your company.
You can optimize this type of feedback by constantly monitoring the feedback that customers leave for you.
“We’re starting to do more and more work in [ratings and reviews] because it’s where a lot of this, kind of the rubber meets the road on this customer experience stuff, ratings and reviews, and in part because they become so important. The thing about it is a lot of companies see ratings and reviews as a defensive thing.” – Daniel Lemin, Head of Consulting @ Convince & Convert
If you are quick to respond with a “Thank you for your feedback” or can provide a resolution to their issue that they had, you are showing your customers that you truly care about them. At the very same time, it is providing social proof to potential customers that your business cares enough to engage with its customers and ensure they have a great experience with your business.
SEE ALSO: Net Promotor Score
While not necessarily a channel of customer feedback, The Net Promoter Score is a metric that many companies in many industries are tracking at the moment. It is providing one of the most quantitative metrics to evaluate the success of the customer experience.
It is an especially useful measure for keeping track of customer satisfaction. by helping determine if your customer success campaigns are doing exactly what they are supposed to do.
To optimize this metric, segment the responses and routinely check on a specific group of your customers. This can help you find out if the customers who purchased something a few years ago are still actively engaged with your brand today.
Use this score as a benchmark to evaluate if your company is trending in the direction that you are looking for. These are just some of the things that you can pinpoint to help you find the right group and target your efforts.
Obtaining customer feedback is the only way your business will be able to provide a better experience for your customers.
In order to do this, you need to get the best feedback possible from your customers. This is exactly why you need to optimize the channels you are using to obtain customer feedback and ensure you are getting enough of the good stuff. Open up the lines of communications with your customers and make giving feedback as easy as possible. Lower the barrier of entry and let your customer have their voice heard.