Your product and service offering is already solid enough, but your entrepreneur’s instincts are telling you that it can be better? Listen to them, and you’ll shortly realize that the best way to improve your business is by listening to your customers as well. Unfiltered feedback is one of the best customer retention strategies you can employ. The sooner you do so, the bigger your lifetime revenue will be.
Listening to customer feedback can help you develop better products and services, offer more value, build stronger relationships, increase customer satisfaction, reduce the customer churn, make better business decisions, stop recurring problems, identify “at risk” customers and discover potential advocates.
The benefits are truly endless, though they come at a petty price. You’ll need to establish an internal process to garner and track complaints, and make it easy for customers to express their problems. Here’s how.
1) Create Well-Structured Surveys
For mid-size and big business, phone calls and customer visits are not the best way to solicit feedback. Surveys, on the other hand, are 50% of the success. Most of your customers are already well-familiar with them, in addition to being more comfortable with voicing their complaints in a way that doesn’t imply face-to-face communication.
Though surveys are easy to set up, send out, and analyze, there’s still a science behind writing a good one
. Understand that a well-structured survey is not merely a list of questions. If you bombard your customers with a myriad of lengthy ones, they will simply avoid giving feedback altogether. Restrain yourself to essential questions only and keep them succinct and short. Steer away from double-barreled questions and use an open-ended form.
Instead of distributing elaborate questionnaires on a monthly basis, consider implementing a brief survey box at each page of your website. That way, you can ask a couple of highly relevant questions and yield feedback that’s very specific to the product or service presented on the page. Besides being very convenient, short surveys make it clear that you care about your customers’ opinions, and that their satisfaction is your number one concern.
2) Test Before Sending
The biggest problem with double-barreled questions
is that there’s no way of discovering the true intentions of the respondent. Survey experts also advise against multiple-choice questions and rating scales, since they keep you restricted to your own assumptions.
This customer feedback technique is very effective because it offers you an opportunity to ask specific questions and gather actionable answers, which is why you should always test your surveys before sending them out. If your questions are inconsistent and biased, the feedback will be just as useless.
3) Ask the Right Customers
Don’t forget to treat your customers as real people. Each of them has their own unique needs, and gets different value from your products and services. Depending on what facet of your business you want to acquire feedback on, you should identify customers who can benefit from your offer the most, and target the focus groups that they belong to. Asking the right questions is half the job, but asking the right customers is just as important.
If your survey is too general and treats all of your customers equally, the responses will be very different and confusing. But, if you target those who’ve just abandoned your shopping cart, for instance, you’ll be able to learn more about your payment process and how to improve it. In case you want to launch a project management mobile app, send your survey to project managers.
4) Use All Channels to Ask For Feedback
The right customers are never at one place, however. While some of them like spending their time on social networks, others prefer to do their business via telephone. Live chats are already widely used by savvy customer service reps, which provides a full on-site experience and makes support very fast, convenient, and effective. Your customers are scattered throughout online and offline environments alike, and you’ll need to use multiple channels in order to reach them all.
Such an approach is nearly impossible without automation. Not only do open channel CRMs accelerate your pace by employing automation, but they also connect different messaging platforms and allow you to manage them from a centralized system. Universal contact centers like Bitrix24
are developed to meet the initial request for internal processes that garner and track complaints, thus streamlining the entire process for both you and your customers.
Whether they want to file a complaint via Viber, contact you through Facebook, or use Skype, Telegram, or Slack, all of their messages will be logged and saved within your CRM. It’s one of the simplest ways to manage customer feedback while simultaneously providing exceptional, real-time customer support.
5) Don’t Be Afraid Of Negative Feedback
Bill Gates said, “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning”. Feel free to make this quote a central theme of your customer feedback strategy, since it can’t be truer. Positive reviews can make you hugely successful, given that they provide social proof that effective word-of-mouth marketing depends on, but you can hardly learn much from them.
It’s negative critique that gives you an opportunity to grow. No business is flawless, and such feedback can help you pinpoint slips and blunders that you might have overlooked. This is the only way to learn from your mistakes and make the necessary changes in your products and services. Learning to listen to your customers even when you don’t like what they have to say is a crucial step towards improvement.
Though you can’t get what you don’t ask for, soliciting honest feedback asks for a considerate and clever approach. Stay brief, punctual, and open to suggestions – as long as you make it perfectly clear that your intention is to make yourself better for their gain, your customers will be more than interested in helping you out.