It’s tough to know what your customers are thinking and feeling.
Maybe your new product isn’t doing so well or your big seasonal sale just flopped. Every business has a down day. The question is… “why?”
To answer that question (and others like it) you’ll want to start collecting feedback from your customers. If you can gather it effectively, a whole new world of knowledge will open up about how to satisfy their needs. By developing a strong customer feedback strategy, you’ll get the insights you need to improve your business.
Ready? Get inspired by these 15 proven ways to collect customer feedback!
The 4 main methods of collecting customer feedback
We’ll start by discussing the backbone of any customer feedback strategy: the 4 main methods of collecting high-quality customer feedback.
Surveys are easily the most well-known method of collecting customer feedback.
A survey can generate specific feedback for issues that you want to focus on. Write questions designed to collect customer feedback about the challenges your business is facing.
It’s also very easy to implement surveys with free tools like:
- Google Forms
However, customer surveys also have some drawbacks. One of the main ones is that people find long surveys tedious, so they’re unlikely to respond if yours is too long or if it’s not immediately clear how much time it will take to complete.
To avoid this, make sure to keep your surveys short and to the point. Only include feedback survey questions that you really need the answers to!
2. Feedback boxes
Feedback boxes make it easy for you to get feedback without interrupting your visitor’s shopping experience.
Basically, they’re one-question forms placed in a highly visible area on your website.
While surveys generate the customer feedback you ask for, feedback boxes can bring insights you never expected.
For example, customers often point out bugs and other problems with their user experience in a feedback box. This alerts you about problems that would likely go unaddressed in a more structured survey.
Here’s a great example from Kissmetrics: they used an open-ended question to ask customers what improvements could be made.
3. Reaching out directly
Sometimes, low-tech solutions are better for collecting customer feedback.
Calling your customers, emailing them, and organizing meetings with them are all great ways of getting feedback in person.
In fact, if you’re able to video chat or meet in person, you’ll get more value from the conversation, including verbal and non-verbal cues that you wouldn’t get from a survey.
4. Checking heatmaps
Instead of asking your customers directly for their feedback, you can look at what their actions are telling you.
A heatmap gives you a graphical representation of how your visitors interact with your website. Tools like Hotjar track:
- which sections of your site people are visiting,
- where they’re clicking, and
- where they tend to get stuck.
These tools help you improve the user experience based on what you see on the heatmap. If website visitors tend to get stuck on a certain page, make the navigation smoother on that page. Or consider eliminating and restructuring sections to provide more value for your customers.
When you monitor a visitor’s actions to collect feedback, you’re gaining access to insights you wouldn’t necessarily think to ask about—and that your customers wouldn’t think to talk about!
Why is focusing on personalization crucial for collecting customer feedback?
It should come as no surprise that sending a vague, generalized message to every website visitor and email subscriber is not a great strategy when it comes to feedback collection!
You need to find the right time to send a relevant message to the right user. This is key when it comes to collecting customer feedback. And this is exactly where personalization comes in.
Website personalization is the process of creating a customer journey that responds to the unique needs and interests of each and every visitor as an individual. It’s about understanding that no two website visitors are alike, and creating messages that target users based on what makes them different.
Using all the data you have about your customers, you can find the perfect times to ask for feedback.
In the following section, we’ll discuss 15 ways to collect customer feedback—and most of these tips involve personalization.
Let’s get started!
15 tried-and-tested ways to gather customer feedback for your business
1. Ask for feedback when your visitors try to abandon their cart
One of the best times to gather customer feedback is when visitors leave their carts behind.
Ecommerce sites face a cart abandonment rate of approximately 67%. That means you’ll have tons of opportunities to collect customer feedback. And by acting on that feedback, you’ll be able to reduce your cart abandonment rate while increasing your conversions and revenue.
You could use a popup with a small textbox to let users explain why they didn’t check out.
Alternatively, you could give customers a multiple-choice question to share their reason for cart abandonment. A typical set of response options could look something like this:
- Unexpected/added costs at the checkout stage
- I got a better deal on another site
- The process was taking too long
- Delivery options didn’t meet my needs
If you want to collect as much valuable feedback as possible from cart abandoners, you can use an exit-intent popup from OptiMonk to grab their attention before they’re gone.
2. Ask for feedback right after a purchase
Another great time to ask for feedback from customers is right after they buy something. Post-purchase customer experience plays a vital role in encouraging repeat orders.
At this stage, customer feedback helps to ensure that you’re building a solid relationship, which will convert a one-time buyer into a loyal customer. Your buyers will feel valued when they’re invited to help a brand or store they really love by providing their thoughts.
Furthermore, customers who just bought something are in a positive mood. They’re more open to communication. Use this opportunity to your advantage and display an onsite message right after they purchase.
Take a look at the example below. It offers 20% off the next order in exchange for feedback. The discount will encourage customers to answer your questions and help convert them into repeat customers.
3. Use icons to make it easy to leave feedback
Not everyone has the time or desire to answer long surveys about their experience on your website.
One way to increase your response rates is by using clickable icons that allow your customers to express how they feel in seconds. It’s fast, easy, and simple, which means lots of people will be willing to do it.
OptiMonk campaigns allow your visitors to give this visual feedback with clickable attention-getters: stars, emojis, thumbs up/down, or custom images.
4. Get feedback from a live chat session
You can also get quick feedback on your customer service from visitors who’ve just sought help from your live chat. If they’ve had a good experience, they’ll be glad to let you know. And if they’re not happy, prompt action can help you win back your customer’s trust.
But beware: both positive and negative emotions will be heightened directly after their live chat session. So the data you collect this way will be very raw and accurate.
What kind of feedback should you ask for at this stage? Try basic questions about whether their chat experience was helpful or not. This can also help you track your support personnel’s performance.
5. Provide customer feedback forms on your website
At the very least, you should provide your customers with a dedicated feedback email address so they can send their grievances and complaints.
This simple step can make your business more trustworthy because customers know where to send an email if they have a problem.
You can take this one step further by providing a dedicated customer feedback form. Here, you can guide website visitors through a short survey to understand exactly what their problem is.
Be sure to include an open field so that visitors can add their own comments or point out problems you may not know about.
The email address or feedback form should be highly visible on your website for best results.
6. Measure your customer service performance
Send customers an email survey as soon as their complaint ticket has been resolved.
Ask your customer if they were satisfied with their customer service experience overall, and whether they were happy with your support team.
These surveys work best when there are only a few questions. A simple option: ask your customers to rate their experience on a scale of one to five.
These ratings can reveal your general level of customer satisfaction. If this level goes up or down, you can look into why that’s happening.
7. Use NPS to evaluate loyalty
Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a customer satisfaction benchmark that measures how likely your customers are to recommend your brand to a friend.
Typically, customers respond to a question using a scale that goes from 1 to 10.
Researchers found that companies with the highest NPS in their industry tend to outgrow their competitors by at least double.
You can find out how enthusiastic your customers are by using OptiMonk’s NPS sticky bar.
8. Use email surveys for new customers
Post-purchase email surveys allow you to get feedback on the entire shopping experience, from search to shipping.
It’s a must for new shoppers because it gives you the chance to learn about—and correct—any problems they experienced during their first purchase. But reserve this tactic for new customers only: repeat customers may get annoyed if they’re receiving these emails after every purchase!
You can use tools like SurveyMonkey or Survey Anyplace to send out these surveys.
The customer feedback questions on your new customer survey could be about:
- Motivation: What factors led you to choose our store?
- Options: price, availability, free shipping, etc.
- Entry Point: How did you find our store?
- Options: search engine, customer referral, social media site, comparison site, blog post, local listing, other online ads, etc.
- Products/Services: How did you like using our product/service?
- Options: high/low quality, high/low price, performance relative to expectations, etc.
- Overall Service: What was most convenient about your shopping experience?
- Options: website navigation, ease of use, availability, customer service experience, delivery time, variety of products, quality of communication, etc.
Important note: feedback should be used to gauge customer satisfaction and not for cross-selling. Otherwise, customers might feel like you’re taking advantage of them.
Once you’ve received some responses, you can share positive feedback on your website (with permission). These will make the customer feel valued.
9. Monitor social media channels
Companies are now focusing more and more on social media because it can be an invaluable resource for customer feedback. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are the most popular social media channels.
Word-of-mouth and negative comments spread like wildfire on social media, so it’s vital to respond to complaints right away.
Tools like HootSuite, Klout, and Social Mention can help you keep track of what’s being said about your brand in real time.
Some of them even help monitor your competitors’ social presence.
Social listening requires dedicated resources such as a combination of your in-house staff and a third-party support team to collect and respond to customer feedback on social media.
Here’s a great example of customer service on social media from T-Mobile.
10. Create an online community
Instead of just gathering comments from social media, why not create a network of your own? Add a forum feature to your website or create a Facebook group to generate excellent feedback for your business.
You’ll have to keep in mind that such communities require continuous monitoring and, ideally, a full-time moderator. The moderator’s responsibilities include:
- Starting new discussions
- Moderating discussions
- Posting and updating regularly
- Responding to feedback, etc.
Tools such as Get Satisfaction and UserVoice help build communities and facilitate discussion between customers and businesses.
Giving your customers a forum to express their feedback also helps them connect with like-minded people. This, in turn, increases user engagement and strengthens your relationship with your customers.
You can even encourage users to share their experiences, pictures, and videos. For example, Bebe.com’s homepage features pictures of customers wearing their clothing.
11. Monitor feedback on other sites
You’d be surprised at how much buzz your brand gets outside of the top social media platforms.
Media coverage, blogs, local listings, and online forums can be full of high-quality feedback. Remember, customers who aren’t happy with your business are likely to vent on these types of forums, and that shapes how other people feel about your brand.
The problem lies in actually finding all of this community feedback.
To catch everything, you’ll need to use a tool like Trackur, which tracks conversations about a brand across all platforms, or Yext, which focuses on local listings, reviews, and ratings.
Google Alerts is another must-use resource in this context. It keeps track of people mentioning your brand and picks up on any mention of your competitors.
Below you can see us configuring our Google Alerts by setting source and language preferences.
12. Gather in-app feedback
An in-app message is ideal for getting feedback on your app’s functionality and any problems that customers run into.
Eventually, a single customer will send in a vital piece of feedback that helps improve your app for everyone!
You can also request feedback to get inactive users back into the habit of using your app. Intercom helps you identify specific segments of users, like “users who last visited more than seven days ago,” so you can send them push notifications and encourage engagement.
Offering users a chance to share their complaints and taking steps to fix them could be a starting point for bringing them back into the fold.
Solutions like Intercom and OptiMonk make it easier to treat your customers like humans. They allow you to ask customer feedback questions based on specific actions that customers take on your website or app.
13. Use Facebook reactions
When Facebook added new ways for people to interact with content beyond the traditional likes and comments, a whole new world opened up for getting feedback on social media.
These extra reactions (love, haha, wow, sad, and angry) allow companies to get fast feedback about many different things, including available or upcoming products.
Also, the comment sections are usually very active. Lots of customers will accompany their reaction with a written opinion.
14. Ask for feedback on the order confirmation page
Your order confirmation page is a great place to seek feedback about a customer’s online shopping experience.
Ask if customers faced any difficulty in navigating the website and reaching the desired product, whether they were happy with the options available, etc.
Keep these questions as brief as possible.
This feedback can be a useful source of information and play a critical role in improving your website’s usability.
15. Offer a prize or gift
Typically, it’s difficult to generate positive feedback… customers are more likely to send feedback after an unpleasant experience. You can solve this problem by offering gifts or incentives to customers in exchange for feedback.
Gifts can include free shipping, discounts on future purchases, free samples, gift cards, etc.
Make sure your incentive is valuable for the customer.
One of the few risks you face with this method is that customers may see this as a “bribe.” Negate this risk by striking the right tone with your email or survey, showing them it’s a genuine effort to improve customer service.
Now that we’ve looked at 15 ways of gathering feedback, it’s time to talk about what to do with it.
What to do with customer feedback?
Figuring out how to get feedback from customers is only half the battle. Once you’ve got it, you need to be able to put it to use!
Looking at a huge file that’s full of negative and positive customer feedback? That can be overwhelming. However, once you come up with a system for categorizing the data, it’ll be much easier to go through it and start using it.
For example, you’ll want to separate product feedback from what customers say about customer service or your website design. Then, share the relevant feedback with people on your team who can implement changes based on that feedback.
Every piece of feedback will end up being useful as long as the right person gets their hands on it. A team that works on one specific area of your business will have the best insight into how to respond to customer feedback that has to do with that area.
Finally, if multiple customers are complaining about the same thing, that’s a red flag. Don’t wait—that’s something that needs to be fixed ASAP. If lots of customers are complaining, you can bet there are lots more that are experiencing the same issue but haven’t been as vocal about it!
Customer feedback is important because we all have our blind spots. When you’re running a business, sometimes you need your customers’ help to discover what needs improvement (and what you’re doing right)!
Once you take the leap and start asking for customer feedback, you’ll be surprised at all the great ideas coming your way.
Remember to gather feedback through several different channels to ensure you’re getting a good mix of responses for the most complete insights. Think of your customers as individuals, and focus on putting the right message in front of them at the right time. Finally, prioritize passing all your customer feedback along to the right team members promptly so they can act on it.
Now that you have 15 tried-and-tested methods of collecting customer feedback, it’s time to get to work… start measuring customer satisfaction and collecting feedback with OptiMonk’s website personalization platform!
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