Handling feedback provided by your customers is one of the most important aspects of customer service. Customer feedback shows your strong and weak sides and suggests where you need to improve. It guides you and influences your product roadmap.
Negative feedback is even more important than a positive one. It shows where you need to revise your strategy and helps you to make your products or services better. In this blog post I will share the best ways to collect and handle insights from current and prospective customers.
Post chat survey
Statistics shows that demand for live chat features on company websites grew by 8.3 percent in 2017. This way if you offer live chat support to your customers, you can easily collect their feedback through post chat surveys. They give your website visitors an opportunity to comment on their overall customer experience as well as rate the quality of service and professional level of your live chat agents. Here are a couple of tips which will help you to take the most out of such surveys:
- Keep it short, simple and nice. Post chat survey should not be long and stuffed with questions. The main purpose of such survey is to find out whether your customer was satisfied with the service provided. Keep in mind that such survey loads in a small window and thus it should contain up to 5 short questions and a comment box. As a result your customers will be glad to share their experience and ideas.
- Use a scale. A 5-point or 10-point scale allows your visitors to quickly rate the support they received. Later you can use this information to measure your live chat agents success.
- Ask only relevant questions. Remember that the main purpose of such survey is to find out whether your customers were satisfied with the support your team provided.
Customer feedback survey
This type of survey will help you to collect necessary data from your customers. Before you start working on it answer the following questions: “What is the goal of this survey?” and “How will you use the data you are collecting?” Thus advanced planning will ensure that the survey asks the right questions to meet the objective and generate valuable data. Here are the main tips which will help you to create the right survey:
- Use close-ended questions wherever possible. Yes/No choice, drop down or multiple choice lists will help your customers to answer fast and save their time. On the other hand, open-ended questions will give your customers an ability to express their mind and will provide useful qualitative information and insights. However, for analysis purposes, closed ended questions are preferable.
- Keep your survey short and simple. Don’t try to cover several objectives in one survey. Make the survey as simple as possible. Survey should take 5 minutes or less to complete. Otherwise it will be ignored.
- Use logical ordering. Ensure that your questions appear in a logical order to avoid confusion in future.
- Test your survey before offering it to your customers. Run a couple of tests with a few members of your target audience. This way you will find out whether it is clear and simple enough or contains some glitches or unexpected questions interpretations.
Email survey is rather quick and easy way to collect feedback from a large number of customers. However, be ready that some recipients will not be happy and may unsubscribe. Thus include this option to your survey and let your customers make a choice whether they want to receive your future email surveys or not. These tips will help you to collect email feedback:
- Be short, clear and specific. Keep your email brief, to the point and highlight the information you’d like to receive from your customer.
- Send emails in the right time. If you’d like to get an opinion about specific event, send emails right after it and do not put this off.
- Understand your target audience. Think about the best time to send emails. E.g. if you work in B2B sector, your customers most likely will ignore a survey email which you send on Friday evening. There is no single time that is best to send an email. So try to find out which time is the best for your customers.
- Notify your audience about the purpose of your survey. Don’t be afraid to share with your customers the main purpose of collecting their feedback. As a result this may awake their interest and they will participate in your survey.
Direct interview with customers
Customer service interviews help you to hear the voice of your customer. They can be conducted one-on-one with a customer or in small focus groups. Focus groups mostly aim at a discussion rather than individual interview questions. The information you receive will help you to understand how your customers use your products or services and where they would like to see improvements. As opposed to so many other forms of feedback, when you get an answer, you can immediately ask follow-up questions and probe deeper for more substantive insights. Though this type of collecting feedback lets you get really valuable data, it has more cons than pros. It is quite expensive, time consuming and requires precise planning and logistics.
In case you would like to learn how quickly and effectively users perform tasks with your products or new website, you need to run usability tests. Watch how your participants use your product to see where they are successful and where they struggle in order to improve the user experience. These tests will show you how real users interact with your product, where they face difficulties or what is not clear.
Such services as Booking.com rely on these tests and run them all the time to understand where their customers experience issues and where they need to improve.
Offering your website visitors an ability to let you know if they were looking for something or had questions is another easy way to collect feedback and improve based on it. Just keep your feedback box simple and place on your website so it’s easy found.
Social media channels offer a wide range of possibilities to collect customer feedback. Modern customers prefer using these channels to post a review, positive or negative feedback. It’s another easy way to tell the world about your brand and communicate with your customers.
Handling your customer feedback on social media is quite a complicated task. It is not enough just to collect information and analyze it. You need to respond to any kind of feedback, both positive and negative. Your customers contact you through social media because they want to talk to you, that is why it is important to respond to every comment posted there.
In case you get a negative feedback, you will have a chance to respond to it and to show where you can improve.
User activity from analytics tools
Analytics tools allow you to analyze your customers’ behavior: how long they have been staying on your website, which pages they visit, where they abandon your website, what triggers them to share your content on social media. This information is even more valuable than a posted feedback. Here you can be proactive, predict your customer needs and improve your website based on data you receive from analytics tools.
Whenever you receive a feedback, follow up. Even if it was a response to your survey, thank your customers for their time. However, if you received a negative feedback, do not ignore it. Instead, apply every effort in order to improve and provide your customers superior service.
Customer feedback plays an important role in pushing your product and business forward. Moreover, it allows you to engage your customers in this process and let them feel their ideas and advises are valuable. Remember, what Mark Zuckerberg, Founder & CEO, Facebook once said about customer feedback:
“We really listened to what our users wanted, both qualitatively listening to the words they say, and quantitatively looking at the behavior they take.”
Olga is a customer service expert and owner at Supportyourcustomer.com. She is writer and blogger on customer service and customer experience excellence.