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How to ask for feedback from customers

Editorial Team

5 min read
Leaving feedback on mobile phone

Looking at your sales numbers tells you how your business is doing; but, learning how to ask for feedback from customers can help you improve your business. Without constructive criticism from actual customers, your sales numbers may stay flat or even decrease.

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Getting feedback is hard. Just think about all the purchases you’ve made in the last week. How many of those businesses received actionable feedback from you before, during, or after the sale? The truth is, most of us don’t have time to answer surveys whenever we fill the gas tank, buy a cup of coffee, or make a purchase from Amazon.

Fortunately, there are some creative ways to get feedback from customers. Below are 10 strategies that can be used individually or simultaneously.

1. Start asking for customer feedback

This first strategy isn’t that creative, but you’d be surprised how many businesses never bother simply asking for customer feedback. Getting started by asking customers for their input will help put you in a better place for success. However, this step alone isn’t enough. Keep reading to learn how to ask for feedback from customers effectively.

2. Leverage omni-channel communications

People have different communication preferences. Some enjoy receiving email but get annoyed when a phone call interrupts their day. Others prefer talking to a live person over filling out an online survey.

To reach as many potential respondents as possible, it’s important to use a mix of omni-channel feedback options, including email, phone, social media, SMS text, and direct mail. Not every feedback request needs to be pushed to customers. There’s plenty of value in more passive approaches – such as having an optional survey form on your website’s homepage.

3. Reward customers for providing feedback

Filling out surveys takes time and effort. Help customers overcome some of this friction by offering them incentives. For example, all survey takers could qualify for special freebies or 10% off their next order. These types of rewards are relatively easy to manage if you have a loyalty program already. If you don’t, be sure to read this useful resource.

4. Request customer feedback immediately

If you ask for feedback out of the blue, many might view your request as an imposition. The sequence seems more natural when you ask for feedback directly after a transaction or customer service call. Better still, you can automate some of these steps by sending survey requests whenever a specific event has been triggered – including if a customer abandons a purchase at the last possible minute.

5. Use heatmap software

With heatmap technology or video recording software, you can see how your customers are interacting with your website, including every click and scroll. Albeit indirectly, both represent creative ways to get feedback from customers. If an important call to action isn’t being clicked, for example, you can reposition that button, change the color, or update some of the language to see if you get different results.

6. Keep questionnaires short

It’s a bit counterintuitive, but the more questions you ask – the fewer responses you’ll receive. Keep surveys and calls as short as possible.

7. Ask the right questions (for your business)

Anybody can learn how to ask for feedback from customers, but the goal is to get actionable feedback that can be used to help improve operations. That requires asking relevant questions – whether you want feedback about product design, service delivery, customer support, or even website navigation.

8. Publish a clear refund policy

This may seem like an uncommon strategy, but publishing a clear refund policy offers two important advantages:

  • It helps to reduce the frequency of chargebacks (and chargeback fraud)
  • You’ll hear from more dissatisfied customers, and you can use the opportunity to find out why they’re unhappy. You may have lost that sale, but what you learn from each exchange can help you save future transactions.

9. Monitor your online reputation

They say that dissatisfied customers provide the most feedback, and that may be true. Yet an estimated 96% of unhappy users won’t share that feedback directly with you.1 Instead, they’ll share their experiences with friends and family members.

However, you can still harvest some of this feedback by carefully monitoring your online reputation across review sites, forums, or social media platforms. Free tools such as Google Alerts can help put this on autopilot, notifying you the moment anyone mentions your brand online.

10. Display customer feedback on your site

Publishing glowing reviews is a technique many businesses use to boost social proof. If Sally M. and John T. both like your product, you must be doing something right. However, these reviews also serve another purpose. They help establish a pattern for others to follow. If so many people have already left feedback, future visitors will be more inclined to do so, as well.

How to get feedback from employees

So far, we’ve explored several creative ways to get feedback from your users, but customers aren’t the only ones with opinions to share. It’s also important to learn how to get feedback from employees – not to mention any vendors and suppliers with which you do business.

As the boss, however, it can be challenging to get your staff to share their true thoughts. You can overcome some of this resistance through group brainstorming sessions, anonymous surveys, or team-building exercises. Just make sure that all participation is voluntary. Doing so can help increase employee buy-in. Equally important, you’ll likely receive more transparent responses.

Looking for more tips to help improve your business?

If you have additional questions about how to ask for feedback from customers, employees, or other stakeholders, we’re happy to help. To learn more about our comprehensive suite of customer engagement tools connect with a Clover Business Consultant today.

1 “96% of unhappy customers won’t complain to you, but they will tell 15 friends [infographic],” Andy Beal

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