No matter how successful your business is, seeking customer feedback should be a fundamental part of your operations. Without consistent input, you’ll lack honest perspective on everything from how effective your marketing is to what products you should be stocking. Read on for insight on steps to generating feedback, how to put it into action and what questions you should be asking.
Ways to Get Feedback
Develop an email survey and send it to your subscribers. This is a great way to get a lot of useful feedback fast. Create simple surveys using online tools like SurveyMonkey, and for higher response rates, offer an incentive like a discount or gift card.
A BrightLocal survey found that 68 percent of customers will leave an online review when asked. Seth Weisblatt, CEO at Sam’s Furniture in Fort Worth, TX, suggests holding a staff contest to see who can encourage the most reviews on Google, Yelp and Facebook. Keeping close tabs on your reviews is key. “It’s about relevancy,” Weisblatt says, “and if you don’t reply and you’re not engaged with your pages, then you’re not relevant.”
At Kuhnhausen’s Furniture in Portland, OR, co-owner Shelley Howard focuses on developing relationships with customers and gaining feedback in person. Integrate asking for feedback into your sales strategy, and write down or share any in-person feedback so it doesn’t get lost.
- Put a contact form on your site.
- Include a feedback form on your online order checkout page.
- Include a live chat function on your site.
- Follow up on social media comments.
What to Do With Feedback
If it's positive:
Positive reviews and testimonials are invaluable for establishing trust with customers. A BrightLocal survey found that 97 percent of consumers read reviews for local businesses, and 73 percent say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more. When Weisblatt receives positive feedback, he first celebrates the success and shares it with his team. He responds to about a third of positive online reviews. Beyond soaking in glowing feedback, you can capitalize on it by posting comments on your site as testimonials. Christy Howell, owner of Bella Vici in Oklahoma City, OK, features testimonials on the store’s site to show what they do well without tooting their own horn.
If it's negative:
All negative feedback warrants a response. When it happens, Weisblatt follows a three-step strategy: acknowledge the mistake or unmet expectations, offer a solution and apologize and thank the customer for the feedback. Howell says that owning up to any mistakes helps the customer feel more valued. If you handle it well, they might even take a review down or comment on how respectfully you responded. Above all, don’t get defensive with customers or say they’re wrong, even if they are. Your response will live on, so do your best to be positive and tactful. As for handling negative feedback with your staff, get to the bottom of the issue and work together to make sure the mistake doesn’t happen again.
3 Questions to Get Useful Feedback
Asking, “did you enjoy your experience here?” as a customer heads out the door won’t cut it. Direct and open-ended questions work best. Here are three questions Weisblatt recommends you start with:
- “Would you recommend us to your friends and family?”
- “How did you decide to do business with us over our competitors?”
- “What areas do you think we can improve on?”
Photo: Pixabay user Timusu