If there’s one thing that can make a world of difference to your online business store, it is seeking, collecting, and analyzing what your customers think of you. As much as advanced analytics and personalized marketing can help you decipher customer behavior, nothing beats getting this information straight from the horse’s mouth. What’s more, in addition to helping identify trends, customer feedback also contextualizes this information by explaining why things are the way they are.
But, here’s the thing, it isn’t easy to get customers to talk and a lack of customer feedback can have a detrimental impact on your online store. One estimate suggests that instead of voicing concerns, almost half the customers switch to a competitor after a single unpleasant customer experience; more importantly, 85% of this attrition is avoidable. That’s why it becomes critical to prioritize customer feedback and nip any potential challenges in the bud.
Let’s take a look at the importance of collecting customer satisfaction feedback, how you can go about it, and some tips to keep in mind.
The importance of collecting customer feedback
More than four in 10 businesses fail to listen to their customers, and as a result, fail to understand the vital importance of customer feedback. So, before we dive deeper into discussing how you can collect customer feedback, it is critical to know why it is indispensable for online businesses to succeed. The objective of gathering customer feedback goes way beyond gauging the pulse of your customer or maintaining favorable ratings on product listing and can significantly impact your business and customers.
Helps collect quality data
Directly collected feedback is one of the best ways to collect accurate and reliable information about your customers. Depending on what kind of online store you have, you can analyze customer trends, product preferences, and purchasing patterns by gathering feedback from your buyers. These insights can help you make smarter business decisions and engage your customers more effectively.
Online shopping is more than merely the product that is purchased and encompasses the entire journey that a buyer goes through. Several cogs in the machine have to work together seamlessly for someone to buy a product online. These are, but not limited to, product descriptions, images, add to cart function, checkout, payment, shipping information, order confirmation, etc. Collecting customer feedback can help you identify which part of the process is painful for customers and improve your UX as well.
The ubiquitous ‘Did You Find What You Were Looking For’ question might seem like a no-brainer in e-commerce websites. However, it serves a significant purpose as almost 70% of online shopping leads to cart abandonment. Collecting seemingly trivial feedback related to product searches and cart abandonment can help you gain leads, convert more customers, and cross-sell products as well. Subtle questions and nudges can help you understand customer expectations better and up the chances of retaining them instead of losing them to competitors.
Improves customer engagement and loyalty
Asking customers to tell you what they think makes them feel valued and involved, which can go a long way in improving customer engagement and brand reputation. And if this process is personalized, customers will likely recommend you to others and come back for more. Simply put, collecting customer feedback is good for customer loyalty, and thus, your business, because an overwhelming majority of customers expect brands to communicate proactively with them.
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Enhances customer experience
Last, but far from least, is the ability of customer feedback to improve the online shopping experience. Studies show that reviews and ratings from other customers are among the biggest factors for people to consider while purchasing online products. This means that authentic customer feedback improves your e-commerce store, helps customers find answers to their questions, and enables them to navigate their decision-making process much more confidently and securely.
Seven ways to collect customer feedback
This is the simplest and the easiest way to collect instant customer feedback as most users oblige to a quick swipe or giving a rating. Since choosing a score, rating, number of stars, or simply between a happy and sad emoji doesn’t take up time like surveys or in-depth reviews. You can ask customers to rate different aspects of the shopping, like the product, shipping, and delivery in follow-up emails.
One step ahead of simple ratings, surveys also include pointed yes/no questions regarding customer feedback and experience. For instance, “Did the product reach you in perfect condition?” or “Did you have any challenge receiving the delivery?” can be asked. You should also provide space for customers to give longer explanations if they wish.
Set up a dedicated call-in number, email, and live chat for customers to reach you instantly. However, be sure to reply to customer queries and grievances as non-responsive feedback channels will further impact customer experience. You can also use a simple QR code generator to add QR codes that redirect to dedicated customer channels upon scanning.
Set up pop-up questions and forms when customers take certain actions while navigating your online store. For instance, if they’re about to close the window or app before making a purchase, you could ask them if they were able to find what they were looking for and if they’d be interested in signing up for updates on the availability of particular products.
Inviting customers to write in-depth product and shopping experience reviews can help you build a database of genuine and accurate responses. This will help you improve your services and products and serve as a reference point for other customers interested in purchasing the said product as well.
Social platforms are a popular medium for customers to expect customer support and service and they can be used in several ways to gather customer feedback. Set up accounts on all major platforms to collect customer responses and queries, set up instant polls in Instagram and Facebook stories, and keep track of what people are saying about you in comments and reviews.
Remember, visitors and customers might engage with your e-commerce website without actually purchasing anything, and those interactions need to be recorded and analyzed as well. Set up advanced web analytic tools to see which pages are getting the most traffic, where customers are coming from, which products are the most popular, how much time are users spending on pages, failed searches, and heatmaps.
Ten tips to never miss out on customer feedback
Incentivize customers to share feedback
One of the easiest ways to increase responses to feedback survey and questions is to offer small incentives to customers in exchange for participating in the feedback process. This is particularly true if you expect them to spend some time and effort submitting their feedback, say in the form of a lengthy survey or an in-depth review. Depending on your business, you could offer a small discount voucher, a coupon for a gift, or a free resource like an e-book or report.
Frame the questions clearly
How you craft your questions may ultimately decide whether customers reply with answers or not. Complex, long, and vague questions might not elicit a great response, and shorter MCQs will naturally do better. Always construct questions from the customer’s perspective, ask the question clearly and simply, and break it down into sections if the survey is too long. Feel free to use humor or creativity to keep customer attention as well.
Know what you are measuring
You must know exactly what information you’re aiming to collect from your customers, how you’re going to go about it, and the best audience to ask for feedback. For example, each question should measure a specific analytic that helps you understand your product, business, or audience better. Knowing these variables can help you fine-tune the feedback management and obtain more reliable results with standardized metrics.
Schedule questions smartly
Another essential aspect of customer feedback is scheduling the questions smartly. Your email and feedback flows should be in-sync with the customer journey to ensure that the most relevant response is collected. For instance, asking a new visitor about their experience even before they’ve placed an order or inquiring about feedback even before a product has been delivered are counterproductive steps that will not get responses. Thus, when you ask for feedback is as important as what and how you ask.
Simplify the process
As stated earlier, it is challenging to get feedback and respond to questions. Customers are likely to abandon the process if there are too many steps or the page takes too long to load. So you need to simplify the process of submitting feedback as much as possible. One-click, one-call, and one-chat solutions should be the norm in collecting customer responses. Using a QR code with logo is one of the best ways to take your customer to feedback forms or surveys directly.
Record and store all customer interactions
While big online stores usually have dedicated teams for customer support, smaller businesses must also streamline the process of recording and storing all customer feedback. Whatever form it may be in – audio, text, chat, or comments – there needs to be a comprehensive database of customer feedback accessible for review whenever required. Digitally recording customer feedback also helps simplify the process of analyzing it.
Place the feedback button prominently
Much like CTA buttons, be sure to place the feedback button across your store prominently. It should be bigger in size than other commands, have a contrasting color, and a bigger font as well. Naturally, it shouldn’t overshadow other CTAs, but be clearly visible.
Always respond to customer feedback
If your customers are taking the time to provide you with their feedback and thoughts, you must satisfactorily revert to each and every one of them. Many times, small e-commerce websites simply block or remove negative feedback from their social media handles or online stores. However, it is best to reply gracefully, ask for further clarification, and, if required, set up a direct call with the concerned customer.
Use the right tools
All the tips listed above require you to use smart tools and products to optimize your feedback management system. Online forms, chatbots, virtual assistants, email marketing tools, analytical tools, cloud storage – all these technologies come into play while collecting customer feedback. Spend some time choosing the right tools that offer features as per your budget and requirements. If you’re a small business and aren’t acquainted with these tools, sign up for an online learning platform to understand their fundamental purpose and how to get started.
Give customers a choice to opt-out
Finally, you must offer your customers the option to opt-out of post-delivery feedback messages, block pop-up forms, turn off reminders to fill rating and review forms. The fact is that not all your customers will provide you with feedback, and those who have no inclination to do so must be allowed to turn off the messaging. Remember, incessant reminders about giving feedback might do more harm than good.
To sum it up, there really is no replacement for customer feedback, and the easier you make it for your customers to tell you what they’re thinking, the better off you will be. Incentivize, simplify, and analyze, and don’t be afraid to experiment with your approach. If you need to take away one thing from this article, it is that a strategically-designed, framed, placed, and timed feedback question can help you understand your customers better than the overwhelming data that they may generate while interacting with your online store.