As a small business owner, knowing what your customers have to say about you is essential for long-term success. However, if not done right, you can easily overwhelm your customers with marketing messages, which can make getting the feedback that you need difficult.
That is not to say that customers don’t want to communicate with brands they follow. According to Finances Online, 52% of customers say companies should act on the feedback they collect, while 77% will gladly fill out surveys if invited politely. Likewise, 99 Firms reported that 50% of customers think that their feedback doesn’t go to anyone who can actually act on it.
This can often discourage customers from spending extra time to fill out surveys, especially when they see little-to-no change with your brand later down the road. That being said, how can you reach out to your customers without irritating them to get good feedback? How can your business benefit from doing so right now? Let’s discuss that, and more, in the following sections.
Benefits of Getting Good Feedback
What is the role of customer feedback? Once your customer has purchased a product, they are bound to have an opinion on its quality and your service. In order to have a healthy and thriving business with a pro-consumer brand image, it’s only natural that you should reach out and ask them about their experience.
Contrary to popular belief, 52% of marketers do take customer feedback into consideration when crafting their marketing strategies and sales tactics, as stated by Forbes. However, the problem most businesses face is a lack of customer perspective. This means that they will give you good feedback if and when they are ready to do so and not based on your own deadline.
Companies that take the time to apply brand personalization to their customer relations will have a much easier time convincing customers to send good feedback. As such, some of the crucial benefits you can expect to receive from getting good feedback without irritating your customers include:
- Honest and critical feedback on your product and servicing efforts.
- Easier identification of objective faults in your business plan.
- Concrete ideas on future service and product portfolio improvements.
- Positive influence on your customer retention and social recommendations.
- Improved brand reputation and word-of-mouth as a pro-consumer company.
Steps to Good Customer Feedback
1. Make Your Website Easy for Customers to Use
Whether you operate as a SaaS company or an ecommerce platform, the way you treat customers will speak volumes about your brand. As such, you can make sure that the feedback you receive is genuine and well-intended if you simply adjust your services to match your customers’ expectations.
Optimize your website’s load times, multimedia, SEO, and content. Ensure that your checkout process is secure, straightforward, and doesn’t require mandatory registration or personal information beyond essential shipping details. This practice will effectively become part of your brand storytelling. Once the survey forms are sent to newly engaged customers, they will be far more likely to leave good feedback without feeling irritated.
2. Give Special Offers for Your Customer’s Time
Customers are often too busy to fill out surveys from brands they have already engaged with unless you offer them something in return for their feedback. Giving these upfront offers in customer surveys can come in various forms, including discount coupons, sample products, exclusive offers, etc. A study by Inc. has shown that 80% of customers feel encouraged to make a first-time purchase if they received a discount coupon. Likewise, 88% have stated that offers and coupons for new and unverified brands would encourage them to make a first-time purchase.
Once you send out your surveys via email marketing, make sure to emphasize that customers will receive your gift upon completing the survey. Survey prizes, such as coupons, points toward a free item, or a gift, can be great incentives for customers to engage with your surveys continuously. However, you should write your questions carefully to discourage spam and copy-paste for the sake of gaining survey prizes – look for a healthy balance.
You will receive good feedback from customers who have engaged with your brand in the past, and in return, they will be incentivized to engage with your business again. You will successfully avoid irritating your customers, and you may even raise your customer retention rates and gain loyal brand followers.
3. Hold Off on Sending Your Customer Surveys Instantly
A good way to irritate your customers is to send customer surveys immediately after they complete their purchase. To avoid seeming aggressive, wait 24-48 hours after the purchase has been made to let your customer process the experience.
Adjust your wording and questions so that you avoid FOMO and emphasize how much you care about what the customer has to say. You can use dedicated paper-writing services and tools, such as Evernote or Hemingway Editor, to spruce up your surveys in the meantime. Give your customers time to think and get back to them with questions about their shopping experience – you will be pleasantly surprised with the results.
4. Balance Multiple-Choice and Written Questions
A great way to encourage customers to fill out surveys is to minimize the amount of “writing” they have to do. This is especially true since many online customers use mobile devices with small touchpad keyboards, which are inconvenient for extended writing.
As such, your customer surveys should strike a healthy balance between multiple-choice and written questions. Once a customer reaches the written questions, they will be invested in the survey and are very likely to finish it. Learn the simple ways to ask survey questions without being irritated.
5. Make Your Questions Straightforward
It’s essential that your customer surveys are simple and straightforward, free of complex terminology, niche lingo, and double meanings. Make it so that your surveys can be read and understood by your audience. Taking such an approach to customer survey-writing will work wonders for your brand reputation and ensure that no customer is irritated by your questions.
6. Don’t Send Customers Surveys All the Time
Limit the number of times you reach out to customers with surveys asking about their experience with your brand. Don’t constantly bombard customers with surveys, as it will cause them to tag your company as “spam”, which is harmful for brand reputation.
Email services such as Gmail can also easily tag your email address as spam by default if you take this approach to survey outreach. Set a limit for the amount of times you ask for feedback to 2-3 emails, and end the attempts there. A satisfied customer who is willing to engage with your brand will respond to the first customer survey by themselves. Pushing unengaged customers with your surveys can only backfire and irritate them to the point of avoiding your brand in the future.
For B2B recipients, the best practice is to send your emails quarterly, as companies will often tag interesting emails themselves for later reading.
On the other hand, B2C customers are more complex, as you should base your frequency of surveys on their interaction with your brand. If a customer interacts with your service or purchases a product each week, send them a survey every two weeks. Overall, a good rule of thumb is to base your survey frequency on how often customers interact with you and multiply it by two. Online purchases via ecommerce are an exception since you can follow up on recent purchases shortly after the transaction with a short form to avoid survey fatigue.
Here are some tips to help you avoid survey fatigue with your customers.
- Personalize, target, and segment your survey questions to reduce drop-offs and increase engagement.
- Ask direct questions.
- Ask one question at a time. For example, separate, “What do you consider the most affordable and is your favorite product?” into, “What do you consider affordable when you shop?” and, “What is your favorite product to purchase?”.
- Limit your open field text because it takes more effort and time to fill out. If you must use an open field text, keep it to questions where you want to understand how they felt about an experience.
The importance of good customer feedback cannot be overstated. However, as important as it is, it’s also essential that you maintain a professional and trustworthy reputation with your customers. Write your customer surveys in a personalized manner, and address your customer by name (based on their purchase data). Offer them an incentive to fill out the survey and express that you value their time in doing so.
Most importantly, avoid open-ended questions as much as possible to help direct the customer’s attention to the areas you want to receive feedback about. Apply each of the tips we discussed previously to your business and see which ones work best for your customer base. Before you know it, you will have established a good customer survey pipeline that doesn’t irritate or discourage customers from further engagement with your brand.
Want to know how to speak and understand your customer even more? Check out 9 Ways to Use a Customer Journey Map to Control Your Content Marketing.