Imagine having direct access to your customer’s thoughts and feelings.
Imagine knowing precisesly what these people expect from you.
And imagine giving them what they want, planting the seeds for long-lasting, revenue-generating relationships that skyrocket your business growth.
It isn’t that simple. But there is a way of fulfilling this fantasy: by asking for and analyzing customer feedback.
This subject isn’t revolutionary. Yet, more often than not, companies ignore involving the customer insight into the decision-making process (then complain about customer churn.)
You can do better, can’t you?
Today’s article explores the power of customer feedback and shows how it can transform your business: from striding to thriving.
What Is Customer Feedback?
Customer Feedback is the information you get from your customers regarding their thoughts and opinions about your brand’s products, their experience, and the business overall.
Customer feedback comes in two ways:
- Passive Feedback
This represents feedback coming from customers naturally, without you asking for it (customer reviews, discussions with the customer success teams, or any other piece of information arriving naturally.)
- Active Feedback
This represents collected feedback after you explicitly ask for it (through surveys, interviews, or focus groups.)
According to their overall experience with your brand, customers’ feedback can be either positive or negative – so be prepared for both scenarios.
You can also collect customer feedback through various channels: online reviews, surveys, social media, or directly from your customer service teams.
The role of gathering, analyzing, and acting on feedback data is to get insights about improving your products and serving your customers better.
In simpler terms, customer feedback is how you involve the most important stakeholders (customers) in your decision-making processes. It’s asking for customers’ direct input and acting on it to upgrade the whole customer journey and overall product quality.
Why Is Customer Feedback Important?
There’s a tired old adage about men and women being from different planets. Speaking different languages, being unable to understand each other, and living in a perpetual state of disappointment and resentment.
The joke is that everything would be better if they only learned to listen to each other.
It’s the same in business.
Customers wouldn’t feel frustrated, and brands wouldn’t face such churn if both parties learned how to communicate effectively and do their best to meet each other’s needs.
Listening and understanding your customers, identifying their needs and struggles, and learning what and why they buy, give you the ammunition to uproot and upgrade your business processes.
You know you’re not selling face cream, pet food, or clothes. You’re selling a solution, love, and social status.
Your products are the bridge between the now and the desired outcome of your customers.
With this in mind, you need to understand your customers’ situations and experiences – to ensure the symbolic bridge is built on a solid foundation that genuinely changes the customers’ lives for the better.
Customer feedback is how you learn what customers want and give it to them.
Without customers’ feedback, you’re leading a business blindfolded. And that’s a recipe for disaster.
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Reasons Why Customer Feedback Is Essential
Metaphors aside, customer feedback is the gift that keeps on giving, helping you achieve tremendous progress in terms of business growth.
Here are the measurable benefits you gain if you collect customer feedback and how they contribute to your bottom line.
- Insights for improving customer satisfaction & loyalty.
Your business can only survive with its customers. And, even if you’re proud of the company you built, at the end of the day, it’s the customers’ experience that matters most.
Customer satisfaction leads to loyalty, repeat purchases, and more revenue.
Ask customers what they need to be happier and more satisfied, then deliver on their needs, helping them get even more value from your products.
- Better brand reputation.
What’s important to remember about your customers is that sometimes they only need to vent. Issues will always arise during your relationship, and they will frustrate customers. However, even if you can’t fix their problems instantly, you can at least make them feel heard.
83% of consumers say they feel more loyal to brands that are open to communication about their issues and are transparent about fixing them.
Responding to customer feedback and addressing any concerns or issues shows your customers that you value their opinions and are committed to providing a positive experience.
Openness to communication is sometimes enough to improve the overall perception of your company and strengthen your customer relationships.
- Enables you to become proactive in addressing your challenges.
When you’re regularly in touch with your customers and analyzing their feedback, you can’t help but notice patterns or common issues and better understand your customers’ challenges.
These patterns signal a more significant problem, friction inside the customer journey you might have never been aware of before.
For example, analyzing user behavior from a specific location and identifying high churn rates might indicate issues with the delivery process.
Identifying the issues early on enables you to address them before they escalate.
Consequently, you’re preventing customer dissatisfaction and your company’s time and resources in the long run.
- Seamless communication with your customers.
Lastly, feedback collection opens an avenue for honest conversations with your customers.
Even if these conversations might be uncomfortable, they’re a necessary part of the customer-centric culture.
You can’t expect to retain customers and convince them to spend their hard-earned money with your brand without giving them a reason to do so.
Customer feedback and open communication are the keys to finding that hidden reason which compels people to stay by your side.
Types of Customer Feedback
Besides the types of feedback we mentioned above (neutral or active), you can split it into other categories based on your method of collecting the feedback.
Each type of customer feedback has its advantages and disadvantages, so you must understand each method before collecting feedback from customers.
We advise using a combination of these methods to collect various insights from different sources.
These are short questionnaires you’re sending out to your customers – either online or in-person, inside your store.
A customer feedback survey will typically include a series of questions that ask customers to rate their satisfaction with various aspects of your brand.
Some survey examples are the Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey, a survey for customer satisfaction scores, a product return survey, a website experience survey, etc.
The pro of the survey is that you can use survey tools and send it to many customers quickly and efficiently.
At the same time, surveys can be used to gather specific information and feedback on targeted areas and are easily customizable.
However, the disadvantage of collecting feedback via a survey is that the response rates may be low, as some customers may not have time or interest in taking a survey.
At the same time, you may only get part of the picture, as surveys often use closed-ended questions.
Another way to gather information is by emailing customers directly after a purchase or a brand interaction to measure their levels of satisfaction.
You can personalize the emails, making them relevant to the customer and increasing their response likelihood. At the same time, emails can be timed to coincide with specific customer interactions or touchpoints, saving time and resources.
However, feedback requests via email can become annoying or snappy, leading to customers ignoring them.
- Interviews and Focus Groups.
Out of all customer feedback tools, this method involves the most direct and intimate conversation between the customer and your brand’s representative.
While interviews allow for in-depth, open-ended feedback and provide an opportunity to ask follow-up questions, they’re also time-consuming and even costly.
However, interviews uncover insights and feedback that may not be captured in surveys or other methods. Hence, the benefits are worth the hassle.
- Social Media
Customers can use platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to share feedback publicly.
Social media is an excellent way to collect real-time feedback on your customers’ feelings and engage with customers while quickly responding to their concerns. However, negative feedback shared on social media can damage your reputation.
- Website Analytics.
Use tools such as GA or Hotjar to collect data on how customers behave on your website.
With website analytics, you will get quantitative data on customer behavior and quickly identify areas of improvement for your website.
However, website analytics only show you the “how” of customer behavior without providing any context or explanation.
Another issue with website analytics is that, without a data scientist, your data can be overwhelming and challenging to interpret.
- Free-Text Feedback
This method allows customers to provide open-ended comments and suggestions in their own words. It’s one of the most precise feedback collection methods, providing rich, detailed insights into the customer experience.
Acting on customer feedback is easier when you pick this particular method, as customers use their own words to verbalize their issues.
You won’t need to look or guess for meaning behind the answers.
However, as we’re discussing nuanced feedback, free-text feedback can also become time-consuming and challenging to analyze while proving difficult to quantify.
As you can see, pros and cons happen with every method. Choose the right one according to your goals, remember to factor in the risks, and be bold and combine the techniques into your customer feedback strategy for more accurate results.
Best Practices for Collecting Customer Feedback
By now, you might be wondering about the “how” behind customer feedback.
How do you convince people to share their opinions and give you actionable insights? Are you supposed to call each customer and ask about their day? Can you use a specific feedback tool to ease your work? Are you supposed to reward feedback with discounts?
Worry not; here’s your step-by-step process for collecting customer feedback in eComm & Retail.
- Set out with a clear objective in mind.
Before starting to collect feedback, ask yourself what you hope to achieve.
The answer will determine the type of feedback you’ll collect and the channel on which you’ll receive the feedback.
For example, let’s say you’re objective is increasing your website’s conversion rates. In that case, you will use website analytics tools to collect feedback regarding website design, navigation, and functionality.
With CRO, you will need to understand the user behavior and their intentions, so you can provide relevant content that keeps visitors engaged with your website.
On the other hand, if you want to reduce the number of product returns, you will have to use customer surveys and free-text feedback to gather insights into the shortcomings of your product.
Your goal for collecting feedback decides the path you’ll be taking.
- Choose the type of feedback you’ll be collecting.
As we already discussed, you have plenty of options for collecting customer feedback.
To keep this process straightforward, you will need to pick the collection methods most relevant to your goals and objectives.
For example, you will use customer reviews or surveys to get feedback on your product offerings. If you want to get feedback on new product launches, you will launch a social media campaign.
Again – it all depends on your initial goal.
- Write the feedback questions.
One of the most overlooked skills in the professional world is asking the right questions.
In this process step, you need to create specific and easy-to-understand questions that will get you the insights you need.
For example, if you want to better understand the buying process, you might ask questions such as:
“Were you able to buy the product without any issues?” or “What difficulties did you encounter during the checkout process?”
Keep questions short, in a clear language, so the surveyed person can understand what you need from them.
- Ask for feedback.
Up until this point, you decided on what you hoped to get out of the feedback, identified the best way to ask for it, and wrote the questions.
The next natural step is implementing your work.
Send out the surveys (or whichever type of feedback you decide on) and wait for the responses.
Keep in mind that you can also combine multiple feedback types. For example, you can interview a select group of people to uncover the JTBD of your products, then survey your entire customer base to achieve statistically relevant results.
- Analyze the responses.
The next step is to analyze the insights from your customer and look for common themes and issues that customers are experiencing.
For example, suppose many customers are complaining about slow shipping times. In that case, you might need to investigate your shipping processes and even find a new partner.
- Act on the feedback you receive.
Now it’s time to address customers’ issues based on their responses.
Develop an action plan, prioritizing the most common and important issues and feedback from your power customers.
You should also keep customers informed about your progress and the ETA of fixes.
Besides the step-by-step process, we’d also like to discuss best practices for collecting customer feedback:
- Keep your customer feedback questions short and to the point.
- Consider offering customer incentives (such as discounts, free shipping, or other perks.)
- Be transparent and honest about how you will use the feedback.
- Combine multiple sources to collect feedback to reach a more significant percentage of your customer base (such as social media, email, and customer reviews).
- Respond to customer feedback promptly, prioritizing your power customers.
- Use a feedback tool to collect feedback more efficiently.
Pro tip: use Omniconvert Reveal to send out pre- and post-delivery NPS surveys and gain insights about your customer’s experience with your products and stores! The NPS feature is integrated with Klaviyo, Zendesk, and Gorgias, helping you update the customer journey for all RFM segments and gaining more loyal customers! Discover all features here.
Customer Feedback Loop
The last piece of the customer feedback puzzle is the customer feedback loop.
This is the process in which you collect, analyze it, and then take action based on the insights gained from the feedback.
We discussed the first steps of the process at length.
To close the feedback loop, you must follow up with customers to inform them that their feedback was heard and acted upon. Let them in your feedback management processes and keep them in the loop about your progress.
It’s an essential last step, helping you end the conversation with your customers on a positive note, ensuring them you’re not taking their opinions in stride.
And there you have it!
Do you want a thriving business? Then listen to what your customers have to say.
At the end of the day, customers buy and use your products, so they know best what works and what doesn’t.
And by collecting their feedback, you can identify areas where you’re doing great and where you need to step up your game to meet customers’ preferences.
So, keep the feedback loop going, and watch your business grow and thrive!
Frequently Asked Questions about Customer Feedback
Customer feedback represents information about customers’ reaction to a company’s products or services. Feedback can be positive or negative and it’s shared through various channels such as online reviews, surveys, social media, or directly to the company’s customer service team.
The purpose of customer feedback is to help companies improve their products or services and better serve their customers.
Customer feedback is information relating customer’s opinion about your brand, and can be either positive or negative. An example of customer feedback is the Net Promoter Score survey, where customers rate the likelihood of recommending your brand based on their satisfaction levels.
Good customer feedback is positive in nature and praises a company’s products or services. This can include comments such as “I really love this product” or “Your customer service is outstanding.” Good customer feedback can be an indication that a company is meeting or exceeding its customers’ expectations and providing a positive experience.
Customer feedback can be either Passive Feedback (comes from customers naturally, without you asking for it) or Active Feedback (shared by customers after you explicitly ask for it.)