Customer feedback is a great way to get ideas on how to improve your business. When seeking feedback, it’s best to:
1. make it as easy as possible for your customers to give their suggestions or ideas for improvement
2. ensure you take the time to action feedback
3. thank customers for taking the time to provide their feedback.
Why seek customer feedback?
Positive feedback is always great, but negative feedback has the potential to provide valuable insights on where or how your business processes or customer service can be improved. It also presents an opportunity for you to address a customer complaint or concern, and turn their experience into a positive one.
Getting feedback from customers may also help your business develop a unique product or service that differs from that of your competitors. Taking the time to analyse and action customer suggestions may lead to positive word-of-mouth, increased referrals and new customers, improving your overall sales and profitability.
How do I collect customer feedback?
Collecting customer feedback doesn’t need to be a lengthy or time consuming process. It can be as simple as chatting to your customers directly about how they feel your business, products or service can be improved.
Below are some ideas on how to start collecting and encouraging feedback from your customers.
Surveys or forms
You could use a printed feedback form or survey and place this in a customer facing area of your business, such as the reception or sales counter.
Clearly explain what the feedback will be used for, e.g. Please use this form to give your thoughts on our business, product or service, so we can improve . Include the postal address of your business (and ideally a reply paid envelope), so customers can complete the form at a later time and post it back to you if they prefer.
If you run an online business, consider placing a customer feedback survey in the Contact us section of your website or letting people comment on your blog or web pages.
Social media channels
You can use social media to engage with your customers by posting questions about your products and services and asking for their feedback directly. You can also use the tools or apps available within your social media platform, such as polls and surveys, to help you gather feedback.
Feedback via phone or email
Look at the ways customers contact your business and consider whether it may be an appropriate way for them to give their feedback. For example, you could set up a business phone number (ideally toll free) or a customer service email address for customers to call or email if they have complaints or feedback.
Focus groups and interviews
This is a more formal method of seeking feedback, but may be a useful approach for your business as part ofmarket research activities that you may be undertaking. If you are conducting formal interviews, make sure you include questions about previous customer experiences and ideas for how your business can improve.
After sales follow-up feedback
As part of your after sales customer service, you could contact your customers directly, by calling them or email them a feedback survey. You may also choose to simply chat to them face-to-face to gain their feedback on how they found the service they received from your business.
Review your customer data
This is an indirect, but useful method for gaining insights on your customers, preferences and trends.
You may be already collecting statistics and analytics that may be useful for identifying how you can provide better service to meet the needs of your customers. For example, your sales data may show that your customer numbers increase over lunch, so you may put more staff on during this time to ensure your customers receive timely and prompt service.
The method you choose will probably depend on your customer base and the type and size of your business.
How to use customer feedback
It’s important you use the feedback to help you improve over time and identify customer trends in your business to help you meet your business goals.
Most importantly, don’t forget to respond and thank your customers for taking the time to provide you with their feedback. It’s a good idea to follow-up with them to let them know their feedback was useful and how it helped you to improve your business.
If you've implemented suggestions based on customer feedback, such as changing your menu or store layout for example, you may seek follow up feedback from the customers that made the suggestions. This is a good way to check that you've met their expectations, and ensure you have correctly addressed a customer need or want to improve your business.