Most, if not every, business has at least one main goal in common, more online reviews. These reviews build brand trust, rankings, provide an edge over the competition, etc. It is a great way to build a relationship with customers because it is a real way to interact with them through open communication. This fundamental principle of building upon your relationships with customers through feedback (both online and offline) is often overlooked on the pursuit to turning that grey star to gold on Google, Yelp, and any other review platforms. Without a strategy, it can get overwhelming.
We say communication because reviews should be a two-way interaction. You should be responding to users comments daily. Web reviews are interesting because there is a chance of never even meeting the reviewer face to face. It’s an open communication with a screen. This does not mean that the communication cannot be genuine. There are ways to go about gathering feedback that encourages positivity, open communication, and regular responses.
This feedback will help your business grow and change for the better. Through strategy both before and after the review, you will be able to fully benefit from gathering feedback from your customers.
Here are some of the best and easiest ways that you can collect feedback from your customers:
Every time a customer becomes a customer with your business, make sure to follow up. You can do this through a friendly email that thanks them for their support and requests that feedback. You can really follow up with a client after any interaction, not just post-sale. This is where the strategizing comes in. You can request feedback on a variety of pre-sale interactions. For example, if they browse your online site and put things in the cart and then abandon it, you can request feedback on their experience on the site. Just because they did not purchase does not mean that they had a bad experience. Find out by asking!
Not all customers enjoy leaving public reviews, so emails are a great, private way to gather information about their experience with your business. This will also most likely produce more of a result because a wider demographic will be willing to share. This will also most likely produce more honest feedback because it’s for your business’ eyes only. Honest feedback from current customers has huge value in helping you evaluate your business and any areas that need improvement.
If you are really looking to get serious about customer feedback for your business, using an all-in-one platform helps to keep things organized and systemized to ensure that your feedback is being benefited from. Through these systems, you can organize your process of gathering feedback and responding to it. Some platforms also capture your Net Promoter Score (NPS). NPS is an industry recognized benchmark for a customer experience metric. The NPS is found through simple questions such as: “How likely are you to recommend our company to a friend or relative?”
Your customers will then provide a response on a scale of 0 – 10. Your NPS is calculated by taking the percentage of Promoters (people who choose 9 or 10) minus the percentage of customers who are Detractors (rate you 6 or below).
Talk about strategizing. With an automated system in place you will save time, receive consistent feedback, have your feedback in a central place, you can easily respond to all your customers, increase your customer testimonials, and more.
2. Put up In-Store Displays, Signage, and Kiosks
This can be set up in a way that could, in some ways, become an attraction of your store that you can also benefit from. You can get creative with this in a way that your customers will be not only entertained by but impressed by as well due to the fact that they will appreciate that your business values the customer’s opinion. It also makes it really easy for customers to leave feedback on their own terms.
This doesn’t have to be super technical. It can be as simple as having a, a poster on the wall, comment and feedback area, a business card with feedback options, a sticker on the door, or all of the above. Like we said, you can get creative with it. Fun, right?!
3. Set Up Surveys
This is massively beneficial and simple for businesses. Not only are surveys easy to set up, they are scalable, easy to analyze, and can help you get answers fast when you’re looking for feedback. This can be extremely simple for business, but it’s important to take that with a grain of salt. Just because it has the potential to not require a lot of time or effort doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put any effort into it at all.
Important elements to consider when sending out a survey:
Incorporate surveys in email feedback requests
Tailor your feedback requests through email to elicit detailed responses from your customers by adding a few survey questions. Your questions can allow you to get a better understanding of how people are feeling about prices, service, or customer service.
Make it purposeful
Don’t ask questions that you can’t learn something valuable from to actually improve your business. Don’t waste your time or the customer’s time. Try to make your questions short and use simple language.
Keep it short
Not only will you have the potential of receiving more feedback, you will also save time for your customers (better review? We think yet.). Be concise and respect your customers time. Let them know in advance how many questions you will be asking, or incorporate a progress bar so they can see how far they are into the survey.
4. Feedback Forms on Your Website
It’s important to gather information about any inconvenience that a customer may face, even the smallest setbacks. Generally, people will reach out to customer service only if there is a major set back or issue. Minor things are generally ignored. These small details are still very important to fix. By having a readily available means to receive feedback on your website, you open the door to receiving comments on minor annoyances that may have otherwise been missed.
Make the form simple and easy to use or you’ll be missing out on the feedback that it was designed to catch.
5. Call Your Customers
The digital age makes this step easy to overlook. Communication is so quick and accessible today that phone calls seem obsolete. A phone call is an incredible way to establish a personal connection, and another opportunity to create a relationship with your customers. They will most likely initially be surprised about your call but this just shows how much it will impact their personal opinion about your business. With a conversation, there are emotional cues, the tone of voice, volume, and speed of response which all help create context and a better understanding of the customer’s experience. Most people are also far more willing to talk than type.
6. Set Up Live Chat
Chat boxes have become the new best practice for customer service. You will be available to answer any questions, comments, or issues at the exact moment they have one. Live chat improves your response time, adds value for your customer’s, and is easy to implement.
It’s also okay to not be physically available 24/7. You can set your hours and offer an alternative contact form for times when you are unavailable for instant chat including FAQ pages and more.
Even if you are only able to offer a few hours of chat a day the benefits are many:
- You’re helping people in real-time.
- It increases your response times.
- It’s another touch-point that contributes positively to the customer experience.
- It’s an opportunity to find room for improvement for the content on that page.
- You can track the questions and further develop your FAQ’s.
7. Do Not Underestimate the Power of Your Social Media
For some people, social media (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook…) is their go-to for complaints, questions, or compliments. It’s easy and most people visit at least one of the popular social media platforms at least once a day. This is not something that should be taken lightly. Not only is it a great opportunity to communicate with customers daily, it is also a very bad opportunity to ruin your business’ reputation if you leave comments and questions unanswered on them. Engaging with customers directly allows you to open a dialogue, get raw feedback, foster relationship building, increase customer satisfaction, and empower your customers. Do not ignore it. This is something that you can hire a manager for.
Wrapping it up
Whatever you do, make sure that you are, first and foremost, responding to ALL of the feedback. The good, the bad, the seemingly unimportant, it all matters. Responses, regardless of how detailed or lengthy they are, establish that you are listening and care. Responses should be sent within 24 hours of the posted comment or review. Set alerts to remind you and/or your team that it is time to follow up. Embrace and utilize the power of feedback!