By Imogen Lloyd on Tue 22 November 2022 in Blog
Good or bad, all customer feedback can have a positive effect on your operations. If you’re a small business facing stagnant growth, perhaps it’s your approach to obtaining customer feedback that’s going amiss. Using these feedback retrieval techniques, you can start to strategise your sales and services efforts and increase your profit margin.
The Importance of Customer Feedback
Growing your business is more than providing high quality products and first-rate customer service. You need to convert your customers’ positive experiences into productive lead generators. When running a small business, you want to be sure that your hard work and diligence is paying off, and there’s no better way to ascertain this than by approaching the customers you’re striving to impress. Knowing whether you’re successfully fulfilling the needs of your customers allows you to make changes to your products and services, in turn leveraging a higher customer satisfaction rate.
Statistics published by LSE show a strong correlation between high customer satisfaction rates, employee productivity, as well as customer loyalty, so obtaining and listening to customer feedback can significantly and favourably impact your success. However, as well as intensifying your customer focus, it's also important that prospective customers have access to the positive reviews you receive by displaying them on trusted public review sites. Soliciting your customer reviews on sites like Google Reviews and Trustpilot means you’re gauging customer satisfaction whilst simultaneously strategising your lead acquisition. Converting your feedback into productive testimonials shows browsing prospects that you have product advocates that have trust in your services and see you as a credible business.
How to Obtain it
Usually, customers only provide feedback if they’ve had a particularly negative or positive experience as they feel a desire to either complain about or celebrate their interactions with your products or services. While all feedback is a learning curve, sometimes these extreme ratings don’t necessarily represent the experiences of an average customer of your products, and it can be more beneficial to understand the satisfaction of those customers who are neither here nor there.
Surveys can be created and sent via various platforms - from email to SMS. However, putting together a survey that isn’t too drawn-out but also obtains the information you require to make positive improvements to your products and services can sometimes be challenging. Surveys can contain either open or closed questions - open being those that require a qualitative answer (comments and written feedback), and closed being those that require a quantitative answer (e.g., multiple choice/a score).
Pros and Cons of Open Questions:
• Derives more detailed feedback and sometimes gathers unexpected but useful information that you haven’t previously considered
• More time-consuming for the customer and tends to get a lower response rate
Pros & Cons of Closed Questions:
• Less time-consuming and requires much less effort from the customer
• The data collected from closed questions can be measured and evaluated quantifiably so you can action your findings
• Results are easy to falsify as customers may answer dishonestly or may select options randomly for convenience
If you’ve implemented a live chat function within your customer service process, asking for feedback before closing the chat and after resolving an issue is a good way to monitor customer satisfaction. During live chats, the conversation is usually a continuous back and forth stream of communication, so requesting feedback post-chat will likely receive a response. Even just asking for a rating from 1-5 on how they’ve found their experience with your products or after-sales service can gather enough data to prompt positive change within your business operations.
Sometimes customers aren’t immediately willing to complete surveys or leave reviews, no matter how long or short the task! Ultimately, asking for feedback can take time out of their busy schedule, so offering some form of reward for the time they take to complete the task acts as an incentive and can derive a much more successful response rate.
Net Promoter Score
Adopting a Net Promoter Score system can be a really efficient way to obtain feedback. NPS is a 1-10 rating that identifies who’d be likely to recommend your products to others. Those who choose a 0-6 rating are known as ‘detractors’, 7-8 are known as ‘passives’, and 9-10 as ‘promoters’. Once set up, this method of gathering feedback is effortless from both sides - your customers simply have to select a number, so the completion rate is usually very high.
Using your NPS survey, you can also understand which customers are likely to leave positive reviews online and who is worth approaching. 90% of consumers in the UK check online reviews before buying from a business (Statista), so ensuring your review ratings remain high adds value to your marketing and sales process.
It’s not commonly recommended to ask your prospects for feedback before they’ve completed the purchase as this could potentially act as a deterrent and even jeopardise the sale. The timing of your approach is key to obtaining accurate feedback, so displaying your feedback request once the sale has been finalised means the customer has experienced the sales process from start to finish and has no distractions before making a purchase.
Although there’s no one size fits all approach when it comes to the collection of feedback, using a well-developed mix of retrieval techniques often yields the best results.
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