In the modern eCommerce world obsessed with conversion rates, acquisition costs, customer lifetime values and other metrics, many marketers and business owners forget the most important link – the customer.
Customer feedback is one of the most important elements of making sound business decisions. By knowing how (un)happy your customers are, you’ll be able to improve upon your products and services and make sure you actually help solve a problem. Here are some of the most common ways to get feedback from customers and find out their needs and expectations.
When it comes to personal engagement, there are very few channels that work better than email. With a good combo of punchy subject line, clever body and an effective call to action, you can get even the most stubborn of customers to provide feedback. The majority of emails asking for feedback include surveys, but more on that in a minute.
The hard part is getting your customers to open the email, so you need a great subject line. Make it personalized and avoid expressions such as free or reminder. Let your customers know why you need their feedback and how it benefits them – not you. It’s also a good idea to let them know up front how long it will take to complete the feedback survey – 3 minutes instead of 30 will make a vast difference. Finally, end with a strong call to action and a link to the survey.
You can also set up a dedicated email address such as email@example.com, where customers can send in their thoughts about your products and services, so as to avoid clutter in your main contact email.
Closely tied to emails, surveys are a top method of gathering customer feedback. They’re fairly easy to set up – you can create a list of questions and send them out to your customer base via email as mentioned – or place it on your website.
Unfortunately, for many business owners, surveys are kind of a mixed bag and they don’t always get the desired results. The reason can be found in the fact that there are many variables to think about in a survey.
One of them is the length, determined by the number of questions. As SurveyMonkey’s data says (and they know a thing or two about surveys), the longer the survey, the less thorough the answers, and the steeper the drop-off rate.
To get the best results, keep the surveys short and to the point and use a mix of open-end and multiple-choice questions. Only ask for information that you really need, and you’ll get amazing feedback from surveys.
Tuning in to Social Media
With more than two billion currently active users, Facebook is a force to be reckoned with. Instagram boasts 500 million daily active users. Both networks (along with other social media platforms) are essential places to listen to what your customers have to say.
You can simply track comments and mentions and listen to your customers’ thoughts. You can also use polls to ask simple questions, which will not only increase engagement but also generate quality feedback. Facebook has had polls as an option for a while now, and Instagram released it recently in their stories.
Listen on other People’s Channels
Besides collecting customer feedback from your own website, social media, and email, you can also eavesdrop on what your customers are saying on independent channels. This means going on forums, blogs and review websites.
You can do this by simply googling or turn to some more advanced methods. For example, BrandMentions is one of many tools that track all instances when your company is mentioned anywhere online. This includes websites and social media, and you can also set it up to track competitor brands.
It has been used in some shape or form for decades, but live chat has been on a proper rise lately. In fact, 30% of all customers right now expect companies to have live chat on their sites. Perhaps more interestingly, 53% of customers would rather use live chat than hopping on the phone for a call.
Companies such as Zendesk offer proactive live chat. This type of chat interface pops up after the user has been on the page for a certain time period, e.g. longer than 10 seconds. Presumably, the visitor has interest but does not know which action to take, and the chat window pops up, offering help and asking for feedback.
With the incredible advance in AI, you can now also use chatbots instead of live chat for maximum efficiency and a quicker time to reply. However, bear in mind that even the best chatbots can only answer the basic queries and they can’t ever replace an actual customer service rep.
Tracking User Behavior on Site
If your customers aren’t so willing to provide feedback, there’s an easy way to get to it without bothering them. With website session tracking apps such as Hotjar, Crazyegg, and Yandex, you can take a sneak peek at how your customers behave while they are on your site.
Ethical issues aside, you will be able to see the exact paths users take on your site, all the way from the homepage to the checkout. These services also offer heatmaps, showing which portions of the page the users spend the most time on.
There are multiple benefits to tracking user sessions. It’s cheap, unobtrusive and very easy to use and analyze. You can use it to detect potential hiccups in your user experience and design which your customers may not even know they’re having.
Always Gather Feedback
Positive or negative, the feedback you get using these tactics is an invaluable source of ideas to improve your business.
As Dale Carnegie said, “You can close more business in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get people interested in you.” So, get out there and start listening to what your customers have to say – you’ll both reap benefits.