Anyone who owns a business, regardless of the size, knows the importance of customer feedback. Yet the challenges involved in obtaining constructive consumer criticism are just as well recognized.
It can truthfully be said that for every customer who bothers to make a complaint there are countless more that stay silent. In fact, unless the experience is especially terrible, customers usually don’t bother to share feedback about the things that didn’t meet their expectations at all. Instead, they may choose to take their business elsewhere, and that’s a result that is unacceptable for most people.
But there is more at risk than simply losing the unhappy customers. Market research has shown that each discontented customer typically shares their disappointing experience as many as 20 other people. Furthermore, with the advent of social media, it’s quite possible for their grievances to become very public and hurt the credibility of a brand.
Businesses and brands are finding new ways to engage customers and seek responses in order to address this challenge, and an article published by the marketing software company Unbounce contains useful advice on the matter. “Before you set up your campaign, take a step back and break down why you want to collect customer feedback – and what you hope to achieve.”
So what are the most effective techniques for getting quality customer feedback? There are several distinct of methods for obtaining feedback from customers these days, and you can group them into the following categories:
Ask real life shoppers. The best people to tell you what it’s like to be your customer are the people who use your products. Someone who truly wants to spend their money with you – not someone who’s getting paid or compensated for being your customer. Market Research approaches using mobile technology make it easy to collect information from your customers. You can even invite them to provide feedback while they’re interacting with your brand in the store, instead of waiting until they get home to fill out a questionnaire.
Appoint a customer relations employee. Choose someone within your company to be in charge of customer feedback, and have them consider all possible methods of gathering information. Employees are able to be much more effective when they are supplied with the knowledge and the support or resources to address customer concerns. Additionally, customers are more likely to give feedback to someone they believe is able to influence change.
Hire a customer feedback specialist. Outside consultants can deploy a wide range of techniques to gather unbiased customer feedback. It could very well be a good idea to hire a consultant every few years to make sure you are on the same page as your customers. These feedback specialists can set up focus groups, design customer surveys and then analyze the results so that your company can better meet its objectives.
Observe online customer behavior. It's easy to see what your customers are doing and draw conclusions when you watch their online behavior. Google Analytics and other similar software programs can help you to spot problems in the shopping experience. You can also use these tools to find out whether customers are finding what they are looking for. It is even possible to solve other customer issues just by observing behavior on sites like Facebook and Twitter.
Use customer feedback tools. That data you collect by scrutinizing customer behavior on your website can be enhanced through a plethora of online tools used to gather feedback. The forms you collect can then be strategically placed on different web pages so that consumers can offer their insights. Finally, companies can solicit feedback through email newsletters or online surveys that are sent directly to customers.
Mystery shoppers are useful for ensuring proper processes are being followed, but openly interacting with your customers gives you a better way to measure their satisfaction, and provides you with a more organic method of assessing their experience.