People do not like to be sold to. I don't know about you, but I personally can't stand being bombarded by junk mail or tracked by a salesperson after browsing a website. Companies that do these things get the exact opposite of what they want because they're doing their marketing (or lack thereof) in an absentminded and impersonal way. Thankfully, there's an easy fix for this type of marketing: listening to your customers.
When companies listen to their customers, they find out exactly what those customers need and then give it to them—just as we should all expect when we hand over our hard-earned money in exchange for goods and services.
So how can companies collect feedback from folks like me who don't want anything to do with them? Simply ask! In fact, many people are more than happy to tell you if you give them a chance—and if certain companies took the time and effort to find this out, their businesses might fare much better. So read on for tips on getting customer feedback without making people hate you or feel like they've been bothered.
The importance of customer feedback
Customer feedback is a powerful tool. It can help you improve your marketing, your product and service, and even your brand. It enables you to understand the customer's perspective and how they feel about your business.
The more you learn about what customers think and feel, the better equipped you'll be to make informed decisions about your marketing efforts. It can mean anything from making changes to an ad campaign based on customer feedback or improving customer service through training sessions with employees who interact directly with clients on a daily basis.
How to collect customer feedback
These are a few of the most common ways of collecting feedback from customers:
- A form on Website – Customers fill out the online survey when they visit a webpage on your website or follow a link in an email message that directs them to complete the survey.
- Email Survey – Customers receive an email asking them questions about how they feel about something you want input on. You can also include links in these surveys that direct customers back to your site so they can provide more detailed information if needed or leave comments directly underneath each question.
- Use social media: Posting on social media is an excellent way for people to give their honest thoughts about you—but only if they feel they are being heard. Make sure that your posts aren't too promotional or promotional-sounding.
How to analyze your customer feedback
- Look for themes in the feedback—this will help you identify common threads in what customers are saying and help you prioritize what issues are most important for them.
- Don't just look at negative responses—negative feedback doesn't always mean something is wrong with your product or service; sometimes, it just means that the customer isn't getting what they need from the experience, or maybe they don't know how to ask for it correctly.
- Take time to process each piece of feedback and make sure you understand exactly what's being said before moving on to the next comment.
What to do with your customer feedback
If you're going to invest in customer feedback, take that information and make it a part of your company's day-to-day operations. That being said, here are some ways you can use customer feedback:
- Use the data from your survey or call center calls to improve your product or service. This is obvious—if customers are saying they wish they had lesser waiting time, then give them some more customer service reps! It's not exactly rocket science, but plenty of companies out there don't do this.
- Use the data from your survey or call center calls to improve your marketing strategy and messaging.
- Use the data from your survey or call center calls to improve customer service quality. Sometimes all it takes is just one bad experience before someone decides they'll never work with you again.
Build a feedback loop into your marketing plan
You've probably heard the phrase, "listen to your customers." It's a common piece of advice in business. But what does it actually mean?
The first step is to have a strategy for listening. What are you looking for? What do you want to hear from your customers, and with what frequency? How will you act on what you hear? These questions are important because they'll inform how much time and energy you put into this part of your marketing plan.
If you're going to build a feedback loop into your marketing plan, make sure that everything from beginning to end is working properly—from gathering feedback all the way through acting on it. That means having an easy way for customers (and potential customers) to reach out and provide their thoughts; making sure these conversations are tracked so that all relevant information can be brought together at one time; ensuring that someone checks in regularly with those who have provided feedback; reviewing responses regularly enough so nothing falls through the cracks; and taking action based on those responses.
Listen to your customers, then act.
Listening to your customers is the most critical part of any feedback loop. But it's more than just listening—it also means responding to their feedback, making changes based on their feedback, and using their feedback to improve your product or service.
What do we mean by "listen?" We aren't talking about an ear-to-ear conversation here; we are referring to an open dialogue between you and your customers that allows you to understand what they really want from you and how they use your products or services. This type of interaction enables you as an organization or business owner/manager to catch problems before they happen and fix them before anyone notices!
This might seem like a lot, but it doesn't have to be overwhelming. Take it one step at a time: think about collecting customer feedback first, analyzing it, and acting on what you learn. Your customers will thank you for listening—and your marketing will be even better than before.