Analytics and data provide plenty of insights into how your customers engage with your business. From Google’s web analytics to financial reporting, you’re able to understand how your customers are finding your business, where your advertising dollars are best spent, and where you’re making sales. But sometimes, data isn’t deep enough. To truly understand the why of your customer’s behaviour, you’ll need to begin sourcing customer feedback.
Figuring out how to best serve your clients is the best way to grow your business. Follow our five tips for gathering customer feedback, and how to use it with your data to create smarter business decisions.
Conduct Customer Surveys
There’s no doubt that the customer survey is the fastest, easiest way to gather customer information. When well executed, a customer survey can provide you with invaluable customer data. However, when poorly planned, customer surveys can be a disappointing waste of time.
In order to gain useful information, you’ll really need to hone exactly what feedback you need from your clients. Are you looking to improve your product? Provide a better customer experience? Understand why you are losing customers? Focus on one business goal at a time, rather than trying to gather too much data from one survey.
Follow these tips when you are planning your survey:
- Ask one question at a time.
- Ask clear, open-ended questions.
- Don’t ask too many questions. Customers are busy, and filling out your survey is a favour to you.
- Provide a response. A simple e-mail or a data report at the end of a survey can be a great way to say thanks.
Consider where you’re best able to reach them: an email? A pop-up form? In-store or on-site surveys via iPad? Think about how you can connect, without disrupting their experience. There are many free online survey tools available, such as SurveyMonkey and Typeform that can help get you started.
Reach Out Personally
Reaching out directly to your customers is one of the most underrated ways of gathering customer feedback. While customer surveys can be hit-or-miss when it comes to response numbers, you may be surprised with how readily a client will send you genuine feedback in response to a personal message.
If you have clients who are local, asking for feedback in person will gather you major points and is well worth the cost of a cup of coffee. Having a face-to-face chat, or even a phone call, can unearth far more context than any survey or e-mail chain ever can.
Invest in Usability Testing
If you’re still struggling to get meaningful feedback from your customers, consider running a usability test for your service or product. Usability testing is like a modern version of mystery shoppers—you’ll invite a group of people to test your product or service offering and provide realtime feedback on their experiences. You may uncover hidden pain points or joys in your service that you never knew existed.
The key to proper usability testing is to really hone in on your target audience—and never rely on friends or family. They are likely already your biggest fans, and won’t be looking as critically at your service as a stranger.
Respond to Feedback
A common reason why customers and clients won’t submit feedback is because they feel the business simply doesn’t care. It’s common to submit a survey or feedback form, and receive no response at all. An automated response is better than nothing, but if your business is able to, a personalized response to feedback is the best approach.
When you receive customer feedback—positive or negative—you’re being given the opportunity to enhance the customer’s experience. Positive feedback is a blessing, and reaching out to say thank you lets your customer know it’s appreciated. We believe that negative feedback is a blessing too though! You’re being given a final opportunity to turn around a mistake, or wow a customer into staying with your business.
Connect on Social
Responding to feedback is particularly important if it was submitted publicly on social media. Whether it’s a Yelp Review, a Facebook post or a tweet, your social reputation is important to your business. Providing a thoughtful, apologetic response to negative feedback shows future customers that you do care about your clients, even when they’re angry.
On the flip side, sending a public angry response (or even a private angry response) can have some pretty negative consequences. The customer is certainly not always right—but your calm, rational response to anger can be a testament to your business sense.
Monitor Financial Analytics
Financial analytics can help you strategize how you’ll grow your business, but they can also provide insights into your customer’s experience. By monitoring your cash flow reports, you’ll be able to analyze when your money is coming in and where it’s coming from. By using this in conjunction with feedback, you’ll be able to make smarter decisions about growing your business and improving customer retention.
With that said, it’s important to always carefully analyze your feedback before jumping to implement strategies. For example, let’s say you’re considering the pricing of your service. If 55% of your customers feel they are paying too much for your service, you may consider lowering your price.
However, by unearthing some more detailed feedback, you may learn that your clients feel they pay too much because they don’t receive a personal check-in from their account manager often enough. Alternately, you may learn that you are positioning your marketing towards a customer base that simply can’t afford your service, but by repositioning your brand to meet your other 45%, you’ll increase revenue.
If you’re looking to improve your financial analytics, we’d love to chat. Enkel helps businesses create financial systems that allow business owners to improve their understanding of their cash flow, and in turn, their customers.