2 simple ways to ask customers for feedback
At a recent meeting, one of our long-standing clients mentioned wanting to survey their customers for feedback on completion of specific projects to find out what they were doing well, what could be done better and so on. And that got us thinking – how many businesses are actively asking customers for feedback and how many are ‘second guessing’ what customers actually want?
Since then we’ve approached a number of our clients about how regularly they ask customers for feedback – and the short answer is, rarely if at all.
As a consumer, how many times do you receive requests for feedback or a review of goods or services? Airlines regularly survey passengers while they are still onboard the flight, and it’s a pretty regular occurrence from online B2C businesses. But in the B2B arena we’re generally much more reluctant – either because we think we’re doing OK or because we don’t want to encourage negative feedback.
But even negative feedback is valuable. How can you improve your business to keep customers coming back if you don’t know if you’re getting things wrong? And while you may not want to encourage customers to talk negatively about your business, with the advent of social media, the chances are that if they’re unhappy, they’ll be talking about you anyway.
A feedback button on your website is a good option. An unobtrusive button that brings up a very simple feedback mechanism, accessible from every page, means you’ll get immediate feedback from frustrated customers and will have the opportunity to turn things around. If they are struggling to find a product, or download a brochure, you can contact them directly and talk them through it, or send the relevant information straight to their inbox. The end result? You’ve turned a disappointed customer into a happy one. And if it highlights a problem with your website, it’s a great opportunity to make some improvements to the customer journey.
A more formal route is a customer survey. This can be sent out at regular intervals (probably no more than quarterly) or triggered at particular milestones – for example the end of a project or completed transaction – to ask for specific feedback on areas of the business, goods or services.
But here’s the thing, keep it short and to the point. Don’t ask questions you’re not interested getting answers to. Keep it to ideally five (but no more than 10) questions because you want honest feedback, not rushed or incomplete answers. Use open-ended questions as much as possible. Multiple choice will restrict feedback to those you expect to receive rather than enlightening communication which will actually help you improve and grow your business.
If you’d like some help designing a feedback mechanism for your business, drop us an email or give us a call on 01420 568127. And if you’d like to leave us some feedback, do post us a comment at the end of this blog!