Customer Service Tips: 5 Creative Ways to Gather Customer Feedback
In today’s saturated markets, all businesses need to provide outstanding customer service or face losing customers to competitors. As a business owner, you should know that customer feedback (when analyzed and addressed) can be a helpful tool in providing service that keeps customers coming back for more.
This week’s customer service tips focus on giving you 5 creative ways to start gathering your customers’ feedback. We suggest starting with 1 of our suggestions and working your way through all of them as time goes on.
Customer Service Tips for Gathering Customer Feedback
1.) Email a Satisfaction Survey After a Transaction
Although this may not be the most creative way to gather customer feedback, we think it’s the most beneficial. Create a simple series of customer satisfaction survey questions to forward to your customers after a transaction has been made. By auto-sending this survey via email, you’ll be able to get “hot” customer feedback while you’re still fresh in your customers’ minds.
To help guide you in the right direction, we recently posted an article answering: How Do I Write a Telemarketing Survey Script? Even though it was written to help you with making outgoing customer satisfaction survey calls, the script questions are easily used for email surveys:
- • Make your introduction informative and intriguing to avoid being ignored
- • Let your respondent know their survey responses are anonymous
- • Use direct questions to allow “yes” or “no” answers
- • Don’t ask open-ended questions
- • Use universally known language to avoid confusion
- • Don’t overload your respondent with long-winded multiple choice questions
- • Use a number scale to gauge levels of satisfaction
- • Keep your survey script under five minutes when possible
- • Offer an incentive to your respondents to get more participants
- • Don’t make an offer to sell your product or service; just gather information
After you have the survey questions created, work with a website developer or designer to make your content fully responsive. Although you may initially be planning to email each customer the survey, this step will be incredibly helpful for future tasks.
Responsive surveys will allow your customers to participate on the platform and device that is most convenient for them; ensuring more responses.
2. Audit Your Company’s On-Line Reputation
When was the last time you Googled your business name? While a customer will post their feedback, testimonials and complaints on websites that you monitor; you can’t rely just on alerts sent to you.
We suggest placing your business name in quotation marks when typing it into Google’s search bar. Also try placing the owner’s name, all known aliases and/or dba’s in quotations with subsequent searches. Take note of what pops up.
Sometimes you’ll come across great testimonials from customers referencing your business on their site or blog. You can take those customer testimonials and reference them on your own website or other marketing collateral. Other times, you might find horrible complaints that you’ve never seen or responded to.
As Billionaire Bill Gates shares, “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” Take a moment to analyze all bad mouthing and poor customer experiences to see what went wrong. We also recommend responding to all of the negative feedback you find.
To help you respond to any negative feedback, we share our popular article here that gives you our 5-step process for responding:
- 1.) Acknowledge
- 2.) Investigate
- 3.) Strategize
- 4.) Implement
- 5.) Follow-Up
3. Organize and Analyze Past Customer Feedback
If you’ve been in business for more than 6 months, chances are, you already have customer feedback that you can review in detail. Our customer service tips involve going through those older emails, phone messages, comment cards, etc. and organizing them into a cohesive and editable spreadsheet or document.
When you revisit testimonials, comments and customers’ feedback, you’re able to analyze each one of them and look for certain reoccurring patterns. You’ll also have the opportunity to create policies and procedures to address the issues that frequently come up. By creating a living, breathing document that stores this information in an organized fashion, you can have your customer service support team keep amending it as needed.
Here are 3 options you can turn to in order to organize your customer feedback:
1.) A Free Excel Spreadsheet: This template will be just a table formatted to allow sorting, filtering, and display of important customer information. Create one from scratch, find one on Google that suits your needs or check out this free spreadsheet.
2.) Free CRM Software Solutions: A lot of fancy Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software and tools offer free trials to business owners. Search for a software provider that will allow you to try out their services to see how it works for you and your team. Website FreeCRM offers their software free for 1-year. Perform some research to find the best company for your needs that you can trust.
3.) Free CRM Apps: Zapier is a company that has a, “100% distributed team living and working all over the world to help automate the most tedious parts of your day to day job.” They share a great resource to look into for CRM apps, The 25 Best Free CRM Apps.
4. Create an On-Line Suggestion Box
Remember the old suggestion box that hugged the brick and mortar walls? Digitize this concept and smack a suggestion “box” everywhere and anywhere online. You can place widgets, apps, tabs and other calls to action on your branded sites and profiles.
To give you some ideas, here are just a few platforms that can benefit from a digitized suggestion box:
- • On Your Website
Include a comment or suggestion box at the bottom of all of your web pages. You may have seen other companies doing this. They end their page’s content with a helpful box asking, “Was this information helpful to you?” Or a floating box that asks, “Click here to share your experience with us.”
- • Dedicated Landing Page
You should have a landing page that is dedicated to acquiring customer feedback in the form of a suggestion box. When you have a future need to share the suggestion box with your audience, you’ll have a simple url to copy and reference. Having a designated website landing page will also allow you to track and analyze customer feedback traffic.
- • Live Chat Options
After a transaction is placed, you can opt to have a live chat option pop up on your customer’s screen. Give them immediate and simple access to your live chat operators to leave suggestions, comments, etc.
- • Social Sharing
Once a month, schedule an eye-catching photo post requesting customer feedback on your online suggestion box. Place your landing page url and wait for the feedback to flood in. Some social sites, like Facebook, also allow you to create a suggestion box in the form of a testimonial tab. You can customize this tab and place right on your business’s social profile.
5. Pick Up the Phone for a Personal Touch
To truly be unique and creative (it may seem trivial), but just picking up the telephone can give you invaluable feedback. During this day and age, businesses opt for less personal communication with their customers and inundate their customers with emails, texts and newsletters.
Make a splash with your customers and take the time to make personal contact with each of them (when possible). You don’t have to spend a lot of time talking their ear off about your business. In fact, don’t try to sell them or offer new products; just reach out.
Here is an example of a great script to start your conversation, “Hi, my name is Sara and I’m calling on behalf of A Courteous Communications. I just wanted to reach out to you today and let you know how happy we are that you’ve chosen our service. We’re constantly trying to improve our customer’s experience and wanted to know if you had 3 minutes to share your thoughts on how we can do better.”
With all survey scripts, keep it short and simple. If you have a small customer list, throw away the script and just be real with your customers.
Gathering Customer Feedback is Essential! We Hope These Customer Service Tips Help!
No matter how you choose to gather your customer feedback, we hope you’ve realized the importance of doing so. Your customers will give you all the information you need to continue to grow. The customer service tips we outline above are just the tip of the iceberg. Gather your customer service team on a regular basis to constantly address on-going customer feedback.
If you’re interested in outsourcing this essential business task, learn more about our customer care telemarketing services in our detailed article here. Or, to speak with an account specialist, give us a call today at 1-800-785-6161.