Why and How to Get Customer Feedback
What do you do to get feedback from your customers? Whether you’re collecting feedback yourself, or judging reviews on prominent sites online, the information you gather is needed to evaluate how you’re doing and make decisions about what to change in the future.
Why Get Feedback?
Of course, the first question to answer is why you want to get feedback in the first place. What is the actual point of those ratings, reviews, and comment boxes?
Let’s just focus on two big reasons to solicit information from your customers:
- Honest insight into how people perceive your business, services, and products
- Public endorsement of your business from real people
When you’re looking to make decisions about your business, you need to know what’s working and what isn’t. You can’t hide from the truth, because problems won’t go away just by ignoring them. At the same time, it can sometimes be hard to be objective about your own work; you’re too close to see the flaws.
Getting insights from customers is exactly what you need. It takes more than asking just one person, of course; people don’t always agree! But when you ask more and more people, if you’re consistently hearing similar themes, you can feel increasingly confident in trusting the results.
That will help you make decisions about weaknesses to improve, strengths to emphasize, and more. So feedback can have great value for your internal processes.
On the flip side, reviews can also help other people learn more about your business, and drive more sales. When potential customers are deciding whether to buy from you, online reviews are one of their most-trusted resources for unbiased information about you, your company, and your products or services.
How to Solicit Feedback
Customer service and experience expert Shep Hyken recently posted a video discussing strategies different businesses use to collect feedback from customers. You can watch that video below:
Sometimes it’s as simple as just asking people. Many of us don’t necessarily think about leaving an online review or filling out a survey (unless we’ve had a really unusual experience), so the helpful reminder can spur activity.
Other companies offer incentives, from coupons to gift cards and giveaways. As Shep points out in his video, sometimes these can cross the line into outright bribes if the incentive is out of proportion.
There’s a tension: you want positive reviews, which will enhance your brand and drive growth, but you also need honest responses that help you make informed decisions, even if that means more negative comments.
Some tactics can unbalance the scales. You may have seen companies that use ratings to make personnel decisions, like Uber using a driver’s ratings to determine whether he is allowed on the platform. Shep shares the example of a service rep at an auto dealership who said his salary and job depended on his ratings. That can be a problem when customers give high ratings more out of guilt than out of honest appreciation for the service.
Ultimately, as Shep notes, getting feedback comes down to making sure that you have a way to get noticed without distorting results. What strategies do you use to get feedback from your customers?