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5 best ways to get valuable feedback from your customer

Have you ever wondered why some companies offer an amazing customer experience, while others lag behind? Is it because they have unlocked the key to customer satisfaction? Is it because they have more resources to devote to research and marketing? While some companies certainly do have more resources, something else is at play here. Something to do with the way companies treat current and potential customers. In a world obsessed with six-figure salaries, fancy offices and a life in the fast line, those who devote all their energies to building a personal and genuine connection with people will, sooner or later, thrive. Connecting on a deep emotional level with customers is crucial to building a successful marketing strategy. You can’t just treat people like numbers and expect them to connect to your company on a personal level.

All too often, companies focus on crafting a wonderful product or service with little thought to customers’ wants, needs and preferences. “If the product/service is great, people will buy it.” This simplistic reasoning is just wishful thinking. History is replete with examples of great products that didn’t see the light of the day. Almost every company claims to have a close relationship with their customers, but how many of them really listen to what they customers have to say? Getting genuine customer feedback is worth more than any brilliant marketing strategy you may come up with. People want to be heard, period. No amount of technological sophistication can change that. With that being said, how can you get quality customer feedback? Below are five smart ways to gather customer feedback.

Customer surveys

On the face of it, this may seem like a waste of time. You might be thinking: “Who has the time to fill out a survey?” Indeed, when faced with a long and time-consuming survey, most people will just switch to something else, something that catches and keeps their attention. But what if you could make a compelling survey? What if you craft a survey in such a way that people want to take it?  Used the right way, a survey can yield great results. To get the most out of a customer survey, keep in mind the following tips.

Keep it short

If people give you a part of their time, make sure to make it count. Keep the survey short and to the point. If you feel a question is irrelevant, don’t hesitate to remove it from the survey. Brevity is key.

Make it captivating

Clearly state your goals right from the beginning. People don’t like to be lead on. Tell people why are you doing this, how long it takes and why should they take part in your survey. In other words, what’s in it for them?

Use incentives

Show me one person who doesn’t like rewards and I’ll show you the Bigfoot. Offer rewards to those who fill out your customer survey. It can be eBooks, free gift cards, free online courses, etc.

Tinker with it

Test your surveys. For example, you can change the word order in sentences and see which has the best response rate, what needs to be changed, etc.

What is more, a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system can automate the process of creating and conducting an online customer survey. What more can you desire?

Personal emails

Some say that email is dead. How can email be dead if 269 billion emails are sent every day? That makes it 2.4 million emails per second and almost 74 trillion emails in a year. As you can judge from these numbers, email is alive and kicking. Email is just like any other piece of technology; it all depends on how one uses it. Used the right way, email can help you get genuine customer feedback. When using personal emails to gather quality feedback from existing and potential customers, you need to have a clear strategy. Who is going to be your audience? Why should customers read your email? How can you help them achieve their goals?

Above all, make sure to respond fast and accordingly. Nothing is more annoying and disappointing than sending an email to a company and receiving a reply after a week, or worse, never. The sooner you reply to your customers’ email messages, the better. What’s the best way the get a feedback via email? Asking customers directly for a candid feedback. A sincere and straightforward request is far better than no request at all. Use personal emails to get quality feedback from your customers. Test your emails, see what works and what doesn’t, and act accordingly.

Social media

Despite its ubiquitous nature and wide use, there’s still a lot of untapped potential in social media.  Almost every company has accounts on various social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, but few get the most out of them. How can you capitalize on your social media efforts? For one thing, you can conduct polls on your site to get feedback on a product, feature, etc. You can transfer part of your customer service to social media. As with the case of emails, you need to reply in due time. Don’t hesitate to ask a current or potential customer for candid feedback. After all, you’re trying to connect on a personal level with them. You’re reaching out to people, and they appreciate that.

Usability tests

You don’t know how people feel about your products or service until they start using it. If you design a product without the end-user in the mind, you’re just shooting in the dark. Let the user get a feeling of your product. Once they start using your product, you can see what they like, what they don’t like, what they find confusing and a lot more. By conducting usability tests, you know where you stand. And if you build a personal connection with your customers, they will be willing to give you feedback about your product. Treat your customer as your ally. After all, you can’t win a war without an ally willing to stick with you through thick and thin.

Reports and analytics

This may be a bit tricky since most analytics don’t tell the whole story, but there are tools you can use to get quality customer feedback. A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system offers you detailed reports and analytics about customer engagement, behavior and certain patterns. You can get valuable feedback if you know where your customer came from, which features does he use the most, which product has he viewed the most, etc. Raw data may be useless, but structured, organized and up-to-date information is priceless.

In addition to the aforementioned ways, there are others methods and tools you can use to gather customer feedback. Online reviews can be a treasure trove for companies. Before making a purchase, people usually head to online reviews to see what others have said about a company, products, service, etc. Feedback boxes can also be used to get customer feedback. If you don’t have a feedback form on your, consider adding one. All this adds up and what you get is priceless: genuine and fast customer feedback.

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