How to Get Feedback From Customers
Creating loyal customers requires satisfied customers. Creating satisfying customer experiences involves asking for feedback from customers and improving points of friction. Feedback is extremely valuable, but can be difficult to gather. Today we’re going over 14 methods you can use to gather customer feedback.
What is Customer Feedback?
Customer feedback is made up of the feelings, problems, perspectives and experiences your customers have with your customer journey, product, services, and customer service.
It goes beyond “I like this” or “I don’t like that”. Feedback from customers can tell us why they chose you over a competitor, what they would change about your product, where there is friction in the customer journey, etc. It’s valuable information you can use to increase customer satisfaction.
Why is Getting Feedback from Customers Important?
Customers are the reason you are in business. If you want to continue to meet their needs, solve their problems, and delight them, their feedback is vital.
We can be too close to our business to know what the actual experience is like. Where are your customers experiencing friction? Where are you missing the mark? Are you meeting or exceeding expectations? Why did a customer buy from you over a competitor? Feedback from customers will answer these questions.
Knowing your customers and their needs comes with an ROI, but there are other benefits beyond increased revenue:
Increase in Customer Satisfaction
If you act on feedback from customers, you’ll increase customer satisfaction. Satisfied customers keep coming back. And customers who keep coming back turn into loyal customers and natural promoters of your business.
Increase in Empathy for Customers
The more people in your business who understand how your customers feel about their experience, feelings, and problems, the better. Empathy starts with understanding, and the world needs more empathy.
When Should You Ask for Feedback?
When you ask for feedback immediately, you are going to get the customer’s initial reaction. This can be good for some areas i.e. their experience while purchasing, onboarding, shipping, etc. However, it’s not the best for product feedback. If you want honest feedback on your products and services, you need to wait until your customers have had a chance to truly experience and use your product. Waiting a few weeks also ensures you’re getting feedback from customers who are actually using your product, you want more of those customers, so their feedback is more valuable than a person who bought and never used the product.
Continued feedback from the same customers is also valuable. How is the experience over time? Where can you improve? When do customers need more from you?
14 Ways to Gather Customer Feedback
Gathering feedback from customers can be tricky. Customers are focused on their own lives and don’t always view helping you as a good use of their time. Figuring out the best way to approach and ask for feedback can require testing, like everything else in marketing. Below is a list of methods you can use to gather feedback. Starting with the feedback you already have.
Mine Feedback you Already Have
You’re almost never starting from zero when it comes to customer feedback and comments. This section covers common places businesses already have feedback then can tap into.
Live Chat Conversations
If you have a chat feature on your website, it’s worth it to dig through the conversations. Customers use chat for product questions and customer service. As you read each transcript, categorize it. Categories could include: Product Questions, Payment Questions, Account Questions, Shipping Questions, etc. If a question or issue comes up several times, it is probably something that needs to be addressed.
If you groaned when you saw “read chat transcripts”, we get it. It’s a big task, but it is also THE most honest feedback from customers you are going to get.
Recorded Sales Calls / Sales Meetings
Listening to recorded sales calls or sitting in on sales meetings is immensely valuable. These people don’t have a vested interest in you or your product and will likely be honest. You’ll hear what they think of your product, learn about their needs and problems, and their objections to your product.
Social Media Comments and Messages
Customers are not shy online. They will tell you what they love and what doesn’t make the cut. They also expect customer service through multiple channels, including social media. Set up a system for organizing and categorizing feedback from customers, questions, and customer service messages with your social media team. It will save you hours of having to scroll through your pages for what you need.
Social Listening Apps
People are probably talking about you online. They might mention you when someone asks for recommendations, post about their positive/negative experiences, post about an issue they are having with your service, rave about your product, talk about the social good your company does, etc. It’s impossible to be everywhere, but a social listening app can do that for you. Gathering all your online mentions in one place. Since people are usually talking about you and not to you, you will usually hear their true thoughts about your company, products, and services.
There are so many places for people to leave reviews about your company/product online now. Google, review sites, social channels, and on your own website. Keep an eye on them and for frequently mentioned topics. Reviews can be a bit skewed as posters are often influenced by the other reviews, but they are still a solid source of insight.
Speaking Directly with Customers
Enticing Customers to Speak With You
Before we dive into customer interviews, let’s quickly talk about how to get them to agree to speak with you. As we said at the beginning, people are busy and time is valuable. Some people will agree to speak with, but others might need a nudge. You can entice people to speak with you by offering a gift card if they complete the interview. Sometimes, though, you need to send the gift card up front when requesting the interview.
You don’t have to be a big company to conduct customer interviews. Loyal customers will usually speak to you and give you feedback. They want their experience to be better and often appreciate you asking. Keep your questions to a minimum of 15-30 minutes.
Direct questions, such as what do you dislike about our product or why did you buy our product, will deliver vague answers. Think about what feedback from customers you’re actually seeking from the direct question, and how you can reframe the questions to get what you want. Instead of asking “What do you dislike about our product?”, ask “If you could change one thing about our product, what would it be?”. The second is easier to answer.
If you want to ask a large group of people the same questions, use a survey app to build a short customer survey. Throw in a reminder email or two, and you should have a decent amount of responses. If the surveys anonymous, say so. People are far more likely to be honest when they’re anonymous.
Gathering Feedback On Your Website
Post Purchase Surveys
Your customer just completed their purchase on your website, and they’re excited about it! This is the perfect time to ask 1-3 questions on a survey. You’re not going to ask about the product here. You’re going to ask about their experience with your site, navigation, ease of finding what they need, ease of checkout, etc.
*This post is about gathering feedback from customers, but we’ll also mention post purchase surveys are also an opportunity to collect first-party data on your customers. Ask them about their preferences. (link: first-party data guide)
Tools like, Hotjar, allow you to record a customer’s screen as they use your website. The recordings can show you how users navigate your website and where there is friction or frustration you may not be aware of.
Heatmaps, again using Hotjar or a similar tool, gives you insight into how far down a page website users scroll, as well what they click on and look at. It will give you insight into what is being communicated well and what could use a rework.
Automating Collecting Feedback from Customers
Most of the above feedback gathering methods are pretty labor-intensive, which is ok if the ROI on the feedback is there. However, you can set up systems to automatically collect and organize feedback from your customers.
Post Purchase Follow Up Email
Once you figure out the right time frame for gathering post purchase feedback, you can set up an email automation to ask customers for feedback. Keep your questions to a minimum and make it easy to respond.
SMS messages have a sky-high open rate (98%) making it the perfect channel to ask for feedback. You can ask short one question surveys (respond 1 for yes, 2 for no) or send a link to a survey. Test and see what garners the best results.
Does your business offer free Wi-Fi? Often, free Wi-Fi networks require you to sign in to use the network. On the sign in screen, you can ask a question or two about the customer’s experience.
Wrapping it Up
If you act on the feedback you receive, it will translate into customer satisfaction. Satisfied customers come back, and they often tell their friends.
The newsletter for marketers who want to make better use of their data.
Sign up for our newsletter to get first-party data marketing tips and strategies, delivered straight to your inbox.