Strategies to gain more feedback from customers

“We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve”. – Bill Gates

Get your customers to stick with you and speak well of you by introducing on a regular basis strategies to gain more feedback from customers. It is vital not just to solicit feedback but also listen and implement these reactions from them. Customers are ‘out there’ and are the ones who can best tell you what they need and whether you are providing for those needs. Their feedback and opinions are a wealth of information that when listened to actively can help not just step up your customer service but also develop better products and services and also add value to everything you offer. When customers perceive a positive response to their feedback, they learn to trust your company more thereby building and strengthening relationships. Customers who can trust you are more inclined to be satisfied by what you offer since they would know that you have their best interest in the fore. More satisfaction leads to customer retention and in the long run means loyal and profitable customers.

The fact is that your company is running because you have customers and they pay you. Naturally then you ought to listen to them and imbibe as much as you can to ensure your offerings closely match their expectations. Before devising strategies to gain more feedback from customers, it would be helpful to understand a bit more on why gaining feedback from customers is so important.

– Customers are the end users and who knows best about whether they are getting from you what they need than those users. Through feedback customers can convey if you are doing a great job or are they cringing at your products and customer service. In fact companies must be happy that customers are taking the time to provide feedback since silent customers are not a good sign and are the ones most likely to leave.

– The kind of feedback you receive from a particular customer or customers will provide you will early signals on whether you are likely to lose the customer since your service is way below the mark. If a customer is taking the time to give feedback, they are sure to tell you exactly how they feel. Soak up the value of the feedback, pull up your socks and deliver stellar customer service.

– Since customers will not sugar-coat their feedback, it can be used to speedily and pro-actively resolve any issues standing in the way of your customer’s happiness. Feedback from customers helps to resolve timely any problems that might have been recurring and stop them from occurring in the future too. Problems that are cyclic in nature have the potential to mess up the entire system and affect a larger customer base creating an even bigger problem for your company.

– Amongst the most effective customer retention strategies, listening to feedback from customers is proven to increase customer retention and satisfaction. Customers know that your company cares and are committed to doing what’s best for them. By keeping the channels of communication open customers learn to trust and like you and doing business with those one likes is always easier and also helps to create long-term bonds. Long term happy customers mean sustainable and profitable growth.

– Not to forget that happy customers means those who might be willing to be your brand’s advocates. When you ask for feedback from customers their responses will tell you whether they would be happy to provide written feedback or post comments on your website and or social media landing pages. Customer advocacy and testimonials helps to attract more potential customers as they are more likely to believe what customers say. It would so much better, cheaper and impactful to gain all your new customers through referrals from your current customers.

We know now that feedback from customers is hugely advantageous and must be actively and regularly solicited. There are some ways to gain this feedback and companies need to ascertain what works best for them.

– The most obvious choice are customer feedback surveys through forms. These forms must have open-ended questions rather than those that just elicit a yes or no or maybe response. To gain accurate and pointed feedback from customers have a well-defined and articulated survey format. The responses therein will go a long way in improving business, customer relationships and being able to match your offerings to the needs of the customers. It is best that the pointers to problems in these surveys are taken seriously before they become full-fledged and unmanageable.

– Leverage the ‘spell’ that mobile and smart devices now have on people. It is estimated that people tend to look at their mobile phones on an average of 150 times a day – so why not deliver your customer feedback survey on a device that gets so much attention. The harried lives and frenzied hours are forcing people to do more work on the go via these smart mobile devices and when you provide them with a convenient outlet to say what they feel feedback from customers would be more forthcoming. The fact is that the instant they complete the survey and hit submit your company has real-time feedback rather than having to wait for days before a survey is completed and returned. Also because it is so convenient it reduces customer effort to a large extent making the customer more inclined to actually provide feedback.

– If an interim survey is what you would like to conduct, say immediately after the launch of a new product and such, a telephone survey is a great way to do so. Also when you contact customers via the phone the element of personalization and a human touch enhances the interest of the customer. Of course this manner of conducting surveys is long and tedious and requires a large customer service agent base and is also costly, but the feedback is instant here too.

– Discussion forums and opinion forms on the company website is also extremely useful in gaining feedback from customers. Customers get an opportunity to discuss and share their views and perceptions of your company and its offerings with other customers and prospective customers. Being able to monitor and keep a close watch on these interactions is by far the biggest advantage of such open forums as any possible issues can be immediately responded to and nipped early on. Customers are also able to share their opinion on a newly launched or to be launched product helping companies to gain invaluable insights into the future of their product. While discussing on these open platforms customers will say exactly what they feel and actually think about an offering. These online forums are just a one-time investment but the dividends are rich.

– Social media comments are another way to gain insights in to the customer’s viewpoint. However, if your company has created a blunder then the feedback from customers on this highly visible platform may not be complimentary or very flattering. The worst part is that others get to see these comments even before the company has the opportunity to react or respond. Gaining feedback from customers via social media must be managed and balanced with diligence. The best way is to respond via social media and also have a senior member of the company contact the customer to understand the reasons for their unhappiness. A more detailed response can be had and it would allow you to provide a better and more focused response.

– Track the activity of customers over your website. They may not revert in case they are unable to navigate through some portions but if your company is tracking their activity, you would be able to see a pattern and resolve the problem pro-actively.

Gaining feedback from customers unswervingly will help your company to understand if it is headed in the right direction and its customer service is actually serving customers in the way they wish. The methods suggested above are not exhaustive and it is best for companies to use them in conjunction to see what works best for their business. Once you have established the best course or courses of gaining feedback from customers use it regularly and tweak your internal processes to match them.

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