Business-Driven Customer Feedback: The How and Why

Gathering feedback on how customers view your products, services and support leads to a gold mine of actionable data….if done right. Here are some best practices for collecting and capitalizing on the feedback you receive from your customers:

Determine the purpose for gathering feedback
Before embarking on any efforts to collect feedback, consider the specific areas you are trying to learn about, and what you will do with the data once it is collected. A good rule of thumb is to ensure every single question you ask will bring you one step closer to your goal, no matter how it is answered. Avoid dead-end questions that are overly obvious or that require only one word answers. When planning your questions, have the end result in mind, so you invite the types of responses that will help solve your problem. Blindly asking for feedback about your products or services will almost never result in actionable insights.

Choose your weapon
Once you have a clear purpose for gathering customer feedback, do some research and determine what channel will be most effective in accomplishing your goal. There are many platforms and tools available; make sure you choose the one most suitable – usually at a decision point, or immediately before an action will be taken. For example, at the point where a customer abandons items in his online shopping cart, unsubscribes from your e-newsletter or returns a product to your store. Popular mediums to gather customer feedback include email/contact forms, surveys, help tickets, review sites, blog comments, social media posts, phone/in-person interviews or focus groups.

Monetize the feedback
While accumulating data is important, it is even more imperative to actually take the time to learn from your customers, and more importantly, proactively leverage this data to guide future marketing efforts and improve products, services and overall customer experience. The feedback you get is only as good as the action you take.

  • Improve a product or service: The world’s most successful companies are the best at creating products that meet their customers’ needs and exceed their expectations.
  • Create a better customer experience: Wow your customers and they will remain loyal and refer their friends as well. Responding appropriately to a negative customer experience will help ensure customer retention.
  • Identify your ambassadors: Customer advocates offer high value at very little cost. Contact the customers who consistently give you positive feedback and develop mutually-beneficial relationships.
  • Ask for referrals: Customer referrals are the number one way to attract new customers. If you don’t ask, you will not receive.

Prioritize your response

When determining how best to respond to the feedback you’ve received or the insights you’ve uncovered, divide the data into three stages.

  • Stage 1: Urgent adjustments that are both critical and quick. These may be easy wins or crisis alerts.
  • Stage 2: Actions that impact revenue over the short-term, such as new product features or upgraded service.
  • Stage 3: Ideas or suggestions that will majorly transform your business over the long term. These may be product offshoots or a game-changing technology.

Circle back
Once you’ve implemented the feedback-based changes, don’t forget to close the loop with your customers. Absolutely let them know that you’ve taken their suggestions seriously and effected change in your business, products or services. This will create good will and encourage more feedback in the future.

Need help with a customer feedback strategy? Grow-Corp can help.

As a full service B2B Marketing Communications company, Grow-Corp uses effective in-house consulting services, strategy, copywriting and design to build integrated end-to-end solutions that adapt to your company’s needs. We offer strategic input based on our deep business understanding and familiarity with the high-tech and industrial markets. You benefit from our 15 years of experience covering all aspects of marketing communications – alternative strategies, copywriting, design and execution. Our professional and experienced team cuts through the noise to deliver a compelling proposition that meets all your needs. We specialize in connecting the dots between the different messages emanating from the company into one clear, concise and convincing message.  For over 15 years, our marketing and strategic advice has helped many businesses and industries, from both start-ups to established multi-nationals around the world. Now, let us help you.

7 Mistakes to Avoid when Developing Customer Surveys

Sending out ineffective surveys does a disservice to both your business and your survey takers. Whether you create paper, online, or telephone surveys, we’ve compiled a list of common mistakes to avoid in order to ensure your survey will yield optimal results.

  1. Skip your homework
    Failing to properly plan the survey from start to finish will lead to poor results and frustration all around. Make sure you determine a clear objective for the survey and choose your target audience. Think carefully about the best time to launch your survey. Allowing at least one week for response collection can ensure your survey encompasses a broad range of people and opinions.
  2. Fail to set time expectations
    Be clear about survey length. Explain the reason for the survey, and provide an estimated completion time. A survey should take no longer than five minutes to complete if you want a high response rate. If the survey takes longer than ten minute, the survey takers should be incentivized for their time.
  3. Ask the wrong type of questions
    Start backward. Before you start creating survey questions, consider the goals of your survey. The information you’d like to collect will guide which survey question type to choose. Multiple choice questions are ideal when you have a fixed number of options, rating scale questions are often used to measure customer opinion or attitudes, demographic questions allow you to gather information about the respondent, and comment/essay box questions allow for open-ended responses. A good survey should include a mix of question types.
  4. Haphazardly ask questions
    Question placement is important to the success of your survey. Place demographic questions at the end of the survey as they may be perceived as intrusive. Group questions on similar topics together to ensure a logical flow. Realize that open-ended questions may result in useful testimonials or sound-bites, but will require a manual process to analyze fully. Closed-ended questions generate results that are easier to analyze but offer more shallow insights. Make sure every question is necessary.
  5. Word the questions poorly
    Vague or poorly worded questions will confuse respondents and ultimately render your data less useful. Keeping language simple and direct will make your questions easy to answer. Ask only about one idea at a time. Avoid high-level vocabulary words or double-negatives in questions. Make sure you’re not asking loaded or biased questions. Avoid using adjectives and adverbs as much as possible.
  6. Skip the testing process
    Send your survey to friends, employees or colleagues as part of the testing process. Gather feedback about the clarity of the questions and the response options. Check with them that the survey flow is logical and that it could be completed in a reasonable amount of time.
  7. Neglect to take action
    It is imperative to actually take the time to learn from your surveys, and more importantly, analyze and leverage this data to guide future marketing efforts and improve products, services and overall customer experience. Click here for some best practices for capitalizing on the feedback you receive from your surveys.

 

If designing an effective survey seems like a daunting task, or your current survey is not returning the results you need, Grow-Corp can help.

As a full service B2B Marketing Communications company, Grow-Corp uses effective in-house consulting services, strategy, copywriting and design to build integrated end-to-end solutions that adapt to your company’s needs. We offer strategic input based on our deep business understanding and familiarity with the high-tech and industrial markets. You benefit from our 15 years of experience covering all aspects of marketing communications – alternative strategies, copywriting, design and execution. Our professional and experienced team cuts through the noise to deliver a compelling proposition that meets all your needs. We specialize in connecting the dots between the different messages emanating from the company into one clear, concise and convincing message.  For over 15 years, our marketing and strategic advice has helped many businesses and industries, from both start-ups to established multi-nationals around the world. Now, let us help you.