Truly customer-centric companies base their product development decisions on the insights they collect from customer feedback. This approach helps to understand what customers really want and save on development hours working on the things that will not be used.
Recent Salesforce research shows that 66% of customers expect companies to be able to anticipate their needs. But how can the companies know what their customers really want?
Tracking customer feedback is an excellent way to find out how your products and services are being perceived and ways to improve them.
Why Should You Care About Customer Feedback?
If you ask any founder of a leading tech company how to get insights to build a better product, they will probably say the same thing: listen to your customers.
You can object and say that companies can get the data from their analytics tools. But the reality is that with the analytics data you can never get the insights about the customer experience that open customer feedback can provide. Like why users churn on the last step of the checkout, why they use a certain feature over and over again, what things they want to improve, etc.
And actually, the truth is that the majority of customers don’t usually leave feedback unless you ask them for it. For some companies absence of negative feedback, and even feedback in general can be a sign of customer satisfaction. But the practice shows that customer feedback should be measured along with other important metrics such as customer retention, sales volume, and others to estimate customer success.
Gathering customer feedback to ensure customer satisfaction can reduce customer churn, increase LTV, and allow you to provide a personalized customer approach. On the other hand, tracking customer feature requests can help you organize customer-centric product development.
Why Don’t Customers Leave Feedback?
There are several reasons why customers don’t leave feedback:
- Customers don’t have time for feedback. They come to buy a product or get a service and move on with their to-do list, not willing to fill out a lengthy questionnaire.
- Customers are skeptical about the things you are asking. What’s the point of this or that question? They may not understand the purpose of certain questions or be reluctant to provide relevant information.
- Customers don’t think you will not act upon their feedback. Others don’t leave feedback if they are not sure if their feedback will be heard and implemented. If a customer left feedback once, and the company had never sent him a reply or updated him on the status of the feedback, the next time the company asks for feedback, there will definitely be no reply.
- Customers are willing to provide feedback but don’t know how to do it. Today, feedback can come in various formats. You should make sure all the feedback channels are visible and easily accessible to the customer.
Stats: “89% of customers are eager to leave feedback”
Source: Microsoft’s 2020 Global State of Customer Service Report
Gathering customer feedback can be challenging. The good news is that even if your customers are reluctant to share their opinions, you can make them change their minds if you play it right.
Best Ways to Encourage Customer Feedback
There are many ways to get customer feedback, including emails, live chat, surveys, feedback boards, customer support, sales channels, and others. The main thing to remember is to be consistent and proactive in your approach.
Bearing in mind the critical value of building customer relations, here are more things you can do to encourage customers to leave more feedback:
1. Define What Kind of Feedback You Need
The first thing you should think about is why you’re collecting the feedback and how do you plan to use it. Make sure you have resources to implement the changes prior to asking for feedback on specific areas.
For example, do you want to learn more about service quality? Are you interested in learning about users’ experiences with your products? Do you want to improve onboarding? Or do you want to know why customers stop using your services and find the weak parts? In each case, you’ll need to gather feedback in a different way.
2. Think of the Customer Journey
Define at what step(s) of the customer journey you should ask your customers for feedback. These could be immediately after the purchase, a couple of weeks/months after the purchase, after introducing changes and updates, or when a customer decides to stop using your product or service, etc.
It may depend on what part of customer experience you would like to improve (onboarding, sales, support, purchase, the product itself). You may want to determine the pain points or find out the things your customers want most to focus on them first.
3. Choose an Appropriate Method to Collect Feedback
The choice of method depends on the objective, volume of customer base, and resources available to collect and process the feedback. These methods can vary from follow-up emails and customer interviews to long-form surveys, etc.
It is important to consider the best time and methods to get valuable and honest feedback. To manage the high load of customer feedback some companies organize customer feedback communities. With the help of such communities, companies can gather data and analytics about customer satisfaction, collect customer feature requests, easily manage the incoming feedback and keep the customers updated.
Make sure your customers can easily find a spot on your website where they’ll be able to leave feedback, read about the experiences of others, share and exchange their ideas on how you can improve your offering.
Whichever channel you use, make the feedback process as simple, convenient, and stress-free as possible.
4. Be Proactive and Ask for Feedback
Leaving feedback is not a top priority for customers — it’s on you to reach out and ask them to share their thoughts.
You can be proactive in different ways:
- Send follow-up trigger emails asking users to leave feedback with a link to the feedback form.
- Add a link to your feedback portal or survey in your email signature.
- Include visible and easily accessible CTA on your website (link in the menu, side Feedback button, pop-up, and more).
- Provide discounts or special offers for those who leave feedback.
Don’t forget to mention why it’s important for you to hear feedback and tell how you plan to implement it.
5. Monitor Your Customer Support
Customer support interaction is a great opportunity to ask for feedback. Your end-users will be more likely to share their experiences during the live interaction with your company.
Make asking for feedback a formal part of your support process and make sure your support and customer success team asks for customer feedback on a consistent basis. Also, train your support representatives to document the feedback they hear regularly.
6. Be Consistent and Ask Everyone
Feedback is only valuable if you consider all of it, both positive and negative.
Automating the process of asking for feedback can reduce the burden on the support team and make the feedback collection process consistent. By automating follow-up emails or pop-up messages on your website, you’ll be sure that every single customer receives a CTA to share their feedback on time.
7. Always Respond and Keep Customers Updated
Once you’ve received feedback, be sure to close the loop and update your customers. You should communicate the development process and updates by:
- Sending updates when the status of the feedback has changed;
- Sending email digests with feedback of other customers and what feedback was implemented;
- Keeping the development changelog;
- Making your product development roadmap public.
In case you are not getting enough customer-based insights, there are plenty of things you can do to encourage your customers to leave feedback. These range from being clear about what you want to do with the data to using the best communication channels and including all the relevant people in your feedback loop process.
Remember that feedback will provide insights you couldn’t get from the analytical tools. Make sure you create all the conditions for customers to leave it easily, and you’ll be well on your way to some great customer relationships!