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Customer feedback — information that comes directly from customers, and which conveys their thoughts, feelings, sentiment, satisfaction levels, or opinion about a brand, product, service, or experience — can be a very powerful tool.
It is potentially one of your company’s greatest sources of learning, helping you deliver experiences that inspire customers to keep coming back for more.
The most successful businesses have the ability to listen to and act on customer feedback. By doing so, they can understand customers better and deliver improved customer experiences.
A growing number of organizations today are also applying various techniques for proactively collecting customer feedback. To get feedback from customers, they are asking questions that, when answered, should paint a more accurate picture of how customers perceive the product, service, brand, and company.
How to Get Feedback from Customers
Your own customers are probably already sharing their feedback freely on online review websites and social media.
But you can be more proactive and collect customer feedback by using customer satisfaction surveys, forms, comment cards, focus group discussions, and interviews and roundtables.
Whatever your methods of getting customer feedback, here are some things you should keep in mind:
Ask the right questions. Crucial to the success of your company’s efforts to collect customer feedback is the type of questions that you ask. (We’ll discuss some examples in the next section.)
It’s okay to follow up. Many businesses ask us how to consistently get feedback from customers. The key is to follow up. When you ask them questions, think of the process as an ongoing dialogue with your customers.
In today’s age, businesses that regularly communicate with and request feedback from customers have the edge over those who make only one-off “asks.”
Don’t skip the “closing the loop” part. If you’re using tools to send questions to and get feedback from customers, there may be a temptation to let the machine do all the work.
But don’t stop engaging with customers who have shared their feedback. Actually read the comments. Respond to reviews. Make a note of their survey responses. Resolve issues. Technological capability is great, but it won’t close the loop on your behalf.
Focus on insights. Don’t make data collection your goal. More data does not equate to smarter business decisions. Focus on how you can gather actionable insights from customer feedback, as well as how you can address challenges.
For efficiency, work with a technology partner. When you’re asking questions to get customer feedback, keep in mind that data collection is not your end goal. The most important part is being able to analyze and act on the information provided by your customers.
This isn’t easy if you’re managing multiple business locations. To ensure that you’re effectively listening to customers, and that you’re making the most out of their feedback, work with a technology partner who will help you meet your business goals and extract meaningful insight from data.
Questions to Get Feedback from Customers
Here are examples of questions to get feedback from customers:
“How did you find or hear about us?”
Just getting started? A proper way to ask for customer feedback is to pose a question that will lead you to discover, first and foremost, where your customers came from.
By asking where the customer found or heard about your business, you can more objectively evaluate your marketing and sales channels.
Perhaps a family member or friend recommended your business. Or maybe the customer found you via a TripAdvisor or Yelp review. Or some other digital channel may have been the source: a random Twitter mention, an Instagram tag, or a Google local search result.
But you might not ever know unless you ask. Attempt to find out what led the customer to walk through your doors and try your business. This helps you refine your marketing message and improve your communications strategy.
“How was your service experience?”
Negative feedback and low-rated reviews about customer service can severely damage your brand. So make sure you ask about the service experience when you’re reaching out to customers for feedback.
Not only does this help you view the experience of your customers from their perspective; it is also key to fostering operational improvements, helping drive business performance and bottom line impact.
“Will you take time to leave us a review?”
Asking customers for a review is a smart way to capture valuable customer feedback. Apart from delivering important information directly from customers, reviews can also build your brand reputation and bring extra credibility to your company.
If you’re not sure what to write in your requests for reviews, here are some subject lines or phrases that hopefully will give you inspiration. “How did we do? We’d love to hear your feedback on (online review website).” Or: “Got a minute to share your experience with our business? Here’s a link to our profile on (online review website).”
“On a scale of 0 to 10, how likely is it that you would recommend our company, product, or service to a friend or colleague?”
This question to get feedback from customers is also designed to help you gauge the loyalty of a customer to your business.
It is the question that plays a central role in the Net Promoter Score (NPS) methodology, first introduced by Frederick Reichheld in his 2003 Harvard Business Review article, “One Number You Need to Grow”.
When you ask this question to get customer feedback, the responses you get will allow you to group customers into Promoters, Passives, and Detractors.
- Promoters (score 9-10) are loyal enthusiasts who will help fuel your growth by buying and referring other customers to your business.
- Passives (score 7-8) are satisfied customers, but their lack of enthusiasm may render them vulnerable to offerings from your competitors.
- Detractors (score 0-6) are dissatisfied, unhappy customers who may impede your growth and spread negative word of mouth.
“What can we do better to improve your experience?”
No business can please 100 percent of customers 100 percent of the time. In situations where they aren’t extremely happy or satisfied with their experience, you can ask this question to get valuable feedback.
The question, along with the responses you’ll get from it, creates structured opportunities for you to uncover high-impact issues and resolve them before they become public or cause more damage.
Also, by asking customers what you can do to get them to come back, you are demonstrating that your business cares about feedback. It also shows your commitment to making the improvements necessary to providing a better experience.
“What products, features, or services do you wish we had?”
To achieve competitive differentiation, you have to let customer feedback guide your roadmap and drive continuous improvement.
Asking this open-ended question will allow your organization to anticipate, even forecast, customer needs and wants. Even if you are already garnering 5-star reviews online, or securing high Net Promoter Scores, still make it part of your strategy to ask customers what you could do better (before your competitors do it first).