The benefits of regularly asking your customers for feedback are countless. Not only does it demonstrate that you care about your customers’ opinions, but it also helps you to learn more about them – what they like, what they don’t like – and this information is virtual gold dust for your business.
However, if you’re going to tap into your customer base to look for feedback, you need to do it right. Here are 5 golden rules when it come to asking your customers for feedback.
1. You must be willing to act on the insights you gain
This is the number one rule, and for good reason. There is very little point in retailers or brands sending customers feedback surveys or encouraging star ratings if they aren’t ready and willing to use the data gained to improve their products/services.
If you send out a survey to find out what your customers’ delivery preferences are, and the results show that 90% of respondents want timed-delivery slots or greener shipping labels but that’s just not on the agenda, you’ve potentially done more harm than good by asking the question in the first place.
Which brings us to Rule #2….
2. Decide what it is that you want to achieve
If you’re asking customers for their feedback, you need to set out with a clear ‘why’. Without a specific goal or gameplan, you won’t gain a comprehensive picture with the information you collect. Give your feedback strategy a key focus (i.e. the insight you’d like to gain) and work backwards from there. If the goal is to improve the customer delivery experience, then that should influence the channels you use to ask for feedback, the types of questions that you ask (more on that later) and even the customer segment that you approach (for example, asking repeat customers one set of questions and once-off customers another).
3. Ask the right questions
Now we’re down to the nitty gritty. If you want customers to engage with you, aim to ask clear, simple, short questions. Again, remember what you are aiming to achieve in terms of insights, but also consider how you’re going to process the data you receive. There are plenty of specialised eCommerce solutions on the market that analyse customer feedback. This technology organises data such as response variations to ensure accurate reporting of results – something that is incredibly challenging if you’re trying to decipher data manually.
Whether you’re asking simple yes/no questions, multiple choice options, or open-ended questions (ideally you’ll be asking a combination of all three), it’s vital to eliminate bias – skewing your customers towards a particular answer.
Avoid any loaded or assumptive questions (‘What issues have you had with our products?’) or double-barrelled questions (‘Did your order arrive on time and were you satisfied with the delivery service overall?’) Keep things simple. Here are some examples of questions that work well when seeking feedback on your deliveries:
- Did your order arrive within the predicted timeframe?
- Were you at your shipping address when your order arrived?
- Were you satisfied with the amount of tracking updates you received?
- Was the cost of shipping reasonable?
- Did your package arrive in good condition?
- Were you satisfied with the shipping materials used for your order?
- How can we improve our delivery services?
- Rate your delivery experience with us…
4. Ensure the timing is right
Asking the right questions is one thing. Asking them at the right moment in time is another thing entirely. Have you ever received a review request for a product that hasn’t even been delivered yet? Not ideal. Send a request too late, on the other hand, and customers are less likely to engage. Determine what the sweet spot is going to be in terms of timing – again, technology can help do the heavy lifting here.
While you’re considering the timing of your feedback requests, be sure to also think about your customers’ time. Remember that only 16% of people read content on the web word-for-word so make sure that whatever way you are communicating with customers (emails, live chat, social media, product pages, checkout) the information you’re requesting is scannable and easily actionable.
5. Incentivise feedback for customers
Using incentives can be a hugely-motivating factor for encouraging customers to provide feedback on your products/service – 73% of shoppers have said that they would be inclined to write a review for a brand if offered an incentive. It could be a 10% off card included in packages for customers who share their feedback or post a review, or entering all survey respondents into a draw to win a voucher to use on your online store.
One crucial thing to keep in mind, though, is that if you plan on using any of the feedback that you’ve collected by use of an incentive as UGC (user-generated content), you should clearly state this on any channels that you post it to. Transparency is key when building trust in your brand, and if you don’t approach your feedback strategy with the right intentions, you run the risk of losing customers for good.
Michelle McSweeney Content Marketer