We’ve all been there. You have a pleasant interaction with a cashier, an adviser on the phone, or a seemingly sentient chatbot, and then they ask the question: “would you mind answering a few questions about your experience?”. Customer feedback makes the world go round - letting you know the things you are doing for your customers that are really working, as well as the opportunities that you may be missing. But you can’t just go charging in like a rhinoceros; there is an art to getting it right. Structuring your process and introducing thoughtful incentives can help make sure your request for valuable feedback doesn’t disrupt an otherwise positive customer experience, but enhances it - like gravy on a Sunday roast. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves… To understand how to collect feedback in the best way possible, you first need to know what you’re aiming for. Here’s everything that collecting customer feedback can do for your business…
It enables you to understand your target market better
To start with the obvious, collecting data on your target market tells you who they are, how they behave, what they like, and, crucially, how they want to do business with you. What drives value for your customers? What triggers them to take action - or buy from you? Knowing all this helps you develop products and services tailored to their needs, make sure your marketing budgets are being spent efficiently - and ensure the success of your business in the long term. You might be having success with demographics you didn’t even know you were selling to. Say you’re a heritage cast iron cookware brand - used to selling high-quality casseroles and pans to older consumers with more disposable income. Customer feedback could help you explain why your heritage brand is suddenly popular with Gen Zers on TikTok. This example is a bit out there, but the same basic principles apply no matter what you’re selling. Who knows why your customers love your brand more than your customers?
Improve your products and services
Knowing what customers love most about your brand can help you tap into their way of thinking and take your products and services to a whole new level. Going back to our pots and pans example, customer feedback might reveal that their new, younger demographic are in love with unusual colours and shapes, or that they are particularly into smaller, more affordable versions of the cookware. This could help your brand come up with new, limited edition ranges specifically to capture the imaginations of this younger demographic. Going a little deeper, asking your customers for detailed feedback could also help reveal what’s not working about your products, such as the weak spots or flaws that could be eradicated with a little special attention. It will also highlight anything about their needs that has shifted or evolved over time.
Show your customers you value their opinion
This sounds like a small detail, but, as part of a wider strategy that takes customer feedback into account to make real change, it can make all the difference. Asking your customers for their feedback shows that you care about what they have to say - and are prepared to involve them in shaping the future of your business. Showing that you can be trusted to do the right thing, asking your customers for their thoughts could mean they are more likely to speak highly of your company to others as word-of-mouth brand ambassadors. It literally pays to look after your customers - customer satisfaction and loyalty have been directly linked to many business benefits, including increased market share, lower costs and higher revenue.
Retain more customers
Keeping your customer happy means keeping them - period. While a dissatisfied customer may look to buy elsewhere next time round, a team that has been made aware of the problem can identify an easy fix to prevent this from happening again, showing that your business is listening and won’t rest until they have a positive experience. Good relationships with your customers are built up over time, just because one interaction is over, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be thinking about the next one.
It’s important to communicate that gathering their feedback doesn’t need to take hours and hours; a few multiple choice questions or sliding scales with the option for additional information can be more than enough to give you what you need. Also note that it can be hard to get your customers to give feedback without some kind of incentive - whether that means a giveaway, or something more creative. To find out how incentives can work wonders for your business, download our free and complete guide to customer retention.