How to Collect Customer Feedback – Instantly

January 24, 2017

In business, your customers matter. The people who use your services, rely on your products, and build relationships with your brand are among the most important elements in your day-to-day operations.

As a small business, you have the chance to get to know these customers, speaking to them face-to-face and creating meaningful connections every single day. As your business grows, however, this may not be so easy.

As you move from small business to medium and large, the distance between you and your customer base also grows. The demands on a larger business are generally higher, resulting in less time and opportunity to keep boots on the ground.

For example, with a single storefront, owners and managers have a chance to work directly with the public. With more locations, management becomes a high level, hands-off process, leaving less time for the informal meeting and greeting that brought you so much success early on.

Without the time or resources to continue talking to and hearing the opinions and feedback of your customer base, you may feel a little stifled. The right approach to surveys, however, can change this. In-the-moment surveys can give you the insight necessary to help your business succeed.


Uncovering Opportunities for in the Moment Customer Feedback

Surveys come in a wide range of forms and functions, from annual feedback surveys sent to everyone in your CRM to mobile surveys embedded in your website or application. Many companies rely heavily on the former, choosing to seek input from as many people has possible, as quickly as possible.

However, this model has a notable downside: timeliness.

Because an annual survey is a once-a-year occurance, you miss out on the immediate impressions and fresh insight that face-to-face conversations brought you. Nearly all of the answers you receive will be detached and distant, eliminating the immediate feelings following an exchange.

Don’t abandon these tyes of annual studies. But, you need to add to your feedback arsenal to get to the heart of what your customers are feeling – in the moment.

Here’s what you can do to get feedback quickly, efficiently, and effectively. By incorporating some of these feedback opportunities in your business plan, you’ll recreate the close customer relationships that helped you to grow in the first place.


Collecting Feedback in Face-to-Face Requests

Feedback requests don’t have to be structured or regimented; every time a member of your team speaks with a customer, you have a chance to collect ideas. This ranges from complaints that an inventory item is out of stock to appreciation for help that goes above and beyond.

Each interaction gives you the opportunity to evaluate how customers feel, and a simple “is there anything else you need?” can open the door to a productive conversation.

Instead of letting these moments pass by, provide a way for all of your staff to document them. A survey accessible only to staff members is a great way to collect feedback from every level of the business, and by using open text analysis, you’ll be able to generate reports that organize and identify response trends.

Then, incorporate the commentary you receive into your strategy. In the big picture, even the smallest comments can offer you insight into the customer experience.

Mastering the Exit Intent Survey

Have you ever encountered a pop-up on a website requesting answers to a few short questions? This is an exit intent survey, and it’s a great way to capture thoughts from visitors. These pop-ups ask customers to answer a few questions when they exit. Closing out of the site triggers a short survey in a new tab.

This concept works well for several reasons. Primarily, it gives customers a way to share instant impressions on your website, providing you with a valuable view that’s otherwise inaccessible. Additionally, it helps you to understand why your site visitors didn’t follow through with fulfilling a call to action, offering information that can then be used to make improvements to your processes.

The number one thing to remember with exit intent surveys is to keep them short! Your visitors are leaving your site to move on to their next project. Respect their time and they will happily give you the feedback you need.


Timing Email Surveys for Customer Feedback

A customer made a purchase with you and didn’t request a return or a refund. That must mean they loved your product, right?

Maybe. Maybe not.

A customer’s choice to make a purchase doesn’t necessarily have a correlation to their overall satisfaction, and many customers, especially ecommerce shoppers, don’t make frequent returns. Rather than interpreting action as a reaction, reach out.

Send an email a few days to a week after a purchase to ask for feedback. Time this email to give your customers time to use products or ruminate on services before you collect an opinion.

How much time should you leave between purchase and initial email send? It varies. A new pair of jeans may be worn within a few days, but a home automation gadget may require a week or more to try every feature on the device.

Take advantage of simplicity, offering a star rating system or a one to 10 scale to facilitate responses without demanding too much. We love the Net Promoter Score‘s simplicity for respondents and ease of implementation for you.


Implementing Post-Purchase Follow-Up Surveys

After an online transaction is complete, like a purchase through a clothing retailer, shoppers are usually redirected to a confirmation screen that provides details like a shipping timeline and an order number. However, there’s a valuable opportunity retailers are missing here: a survey.

Instead of simply saying “thank you,” give your customers a chance to sound off about their experience.

Don’t get too wordy – your customers have already devoted time into you and your business while shopping, after all – but come up with a few key criteria and solicit some opinions.

In general, these surveys are most effective when targeted at the shopping experience, so try to focus on elements like the ease of the checkout process or available payment options to keep input relevant.


Designing Mobile First Customer Feedback Surveys

With the rise in mobile devices, more and more consumers are conducting business – including shopping, subscribing, and enrolling – from their phones. As such, mobile targeting can be a great investment, offering an easy way to gather feedback in the moment.

If you have a mobile app or have seen an influx of activity on your mobile site, surveys geared toward mobile users could be a valuable investment.

Mobile surveys can take numerous forms, including pop-ups, push notifications on apps, and post-transactional opportunities. How you approach this will depend on your business, but targeting customers based on their experiences with your mobile site, satisfaction with your mobile app, or experiences with mobile-oriented services can help you identify strengths and weaknesses in your mobile strategy.

To make sure your surveys are mobile-ready, test your surveys on multiple devices – like tablets and mobile phones – as well as on your desktop.



Making Surveys Work for You

Surveys aren’t perfect, but they can do wonders to provide the one-on-one customer input you may lose as your business grows.

When incorporated appropriately into your outreach strategies, you can instantly interpret customer reactions to make better, more productive business decisions.

Providing a peek into your customers’ minds, your survey use makes it possible to stay up to date on customer opinions, no matter how big your company becomes.

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