The thought of customer feedback, especially if it’s negative, may fill you with dread. You may not want to hear about all of the little details that customers don’t like about your online business.
However, instead of taking feedback as personal criticism, use it as an opportunity to improve your services or products, grow your business, and reach out to customers.
Research shows that reaching out to your current customers can significantly improve your business’s finances. According to Harvard Business Review, finding a single new customer can cost up to 25 times more than it would cost to keep an existing customer.
In addition, research from Bain & Company shows that improving customer retention by even 5% can create up to 95% higher profits.
By keeping your current customers engaged in your business and by regularly reaching out to them for feedback, they’ll feel as if they’re an integral part of your business. Gallup Business Journal notes that they may even start spending more with each transaction.
In this article, I’ll explain what you can improve in your online business through simple customer feedback. I’ll also give you a few methods for reaching out to current customers to obtain assessments of your products and store.
What can you improve in your business using customer feedback?
Examining regular customer feedback represents one of the simplest ways that you can improve and scale your ecommerce business.
Of course, gathering the initial feedback is just the first step. You must also put this new information to work for you by applying it to the correct area of your business for immediate implementation.
Remember that any type of feedback is good!
While positive feedback may give your day a boost, even negative feedback can help you make positive changes that can improve your products or business operations. Not only can feedback direct or change the evolution of your business, but it can also help you increase your sales.
Furthermore, it can strengthen your credibility as a business and show that you care about what your customers think, which is also an excellent strategy to boost ecommerce customer retention.
Below are four of the key areas that customer feedback can help you improve. No matter how you collect this feedback, you’ll find that you can use the customer experiences and emotions you gather to boost these vital areas of your business.
1. User experience
The experience customers have on your website will significantly affect how they view you as a company. Common criticisms include having a website that lacks information, is disorganized, or wasn’t checked thoroughly for bugs before it went live.
User experience often begins with the first impression someone forms of your website. According to a study by Sheng and Dahal from Missouri University of Science and Technology in 2011, users form a first impression of a site in under a second.
However, overall ecommerce customer experience is about much more than this. Other considerations you must make include how easy the site is to navigate and what your site speed is.
In addition, you should examine how much white space is on each page and whether your site is optimized for mobile devices.
Even if you test your website extensively before going live, it’s possible that your customers will find a glitch that you didn’t notice. By providing them with a way to report this quickly and easily, you can decrease some of their frustration and let them know that you’re responsive to their needs.
2. Influence on social media
People have always been influenced by what their friends and acquaintances are buying. Word-of-mouth recommendations, testimonials, and pictures are strong motivators to bring in future customers as well as keep the customers you already have.
While a testimonial page on your website is great, you can put customer feedback to even better use by integrating it into your social media.
Whether you have a presence on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or all three major social media accounts, you can use customer feedback to make these pages stronger, more attractive, and more positive.
Request that customers share their opinions on your page or link back to your business with a specific hashtag. You can also post customer testimonials from your website on these pages.
It can be easy to become discouraged by negative feedback on social media. However, keep in mind that it’s better for customers to leave feedback on your page where you can swiftly address it.
Regardless of if feedback on social media is exclusively positive or a mixture of the two, it’s important that you acknowledge and respond to these opinions quickly.
They represent the emotions that your online products or services evoke and can help you better understand your typical customer’s needs and motives.
3. Product line
One of the biggest reasons you’ll want to know what your customers think is to help you evolve your current product lines, creating new and innovative products.
Current customers may be happy with what you offer on your website now. However, they might reach out to learn when you will be carrying specific new products.
Keep track of which comments come back the most frequently. Perhaps they’re requests for a completely new product line. They may also be for a new color or a small change in a current product to make it function more effectively.
In addition to learning requests for new products or services, you can use this customer feedback to determine what’s already working well for your business. This will help you focus on the fan favorites to create an even more dedicated customer base.
4. Customer service
Besides improving and expanding on your product lines and service offerings, regular customer feedback can help you bolster the customer service experience for your customers.
Today, there are many ways to contact an online business for help. The feedback you get can help you determine where your service team should focus.
For example, live online chat bots are featured heavily on all types of websites these days and can be a great option if you’re looking to automate your ecommerce customer service. These bots may start by using automated answers to help customers quickly obtain answers or solutions.
However, feedback may show that customers are frustrated by answers that aren’t specific to them. You may find that investing in a live customer support chat team can help you retain customers.
Although customer service provided via telephone or email can also be used, it may not provide the fast service that your customers want.
Most customers today desire instantaneous support. If they don’t feel that they can receive quick answers to their questions, they may go elsewhere.
How to collect customer feedback
Now that you understand why obtaining customer feedback is important for your business, it’s time to work on gathering this crucial data!
Of course, the oldest forms of customer feedback relied on the spoken word as customers chatted with owners behind the counter. As an online business, you’ll mainly need to use the written word or long-distance methods of communication.
1. Provide form-based surveys
Form-based surveys rely on a similar method for gleaning customer feedback as the old paper customer survey cards previously used. These online surveys can be provided at the completion of a purchase or placed on the sidebar of your website as a pop-up.
These surveys are often the easiest options for online business owners to read and analyze. They make use of short, standard questions. If the survey is done directly on your site, you’ll want to keep it quite short by including only one to three questions.
However, if you’re creating a post-purchase survey, you could make it longer and include some open-ended questions at the end. Try to keep your survey to no more than 10 questions, and focus on questions that hold the most meaning for your business’s success.
2. Offer in-app surveys
If your business has an app from which customers can shop, you may want to try out an in-app survey. Because your customers will be using mobile devices, you’ll want to keep questions short and simple to avoid confusion and frustration.
These surveys are incredibly flexible and work quite well because they reach customers as they’re using your app.
Keep in mind, though, that many people tend to skip over these surveys because they don’t want to waste time. Promising them two-question surveys could make them more likely to respond.
3. Use Net Promoter Score surveys
A Net Promoter Score (NPS) shows you how likely your current customer will give positive feedback to someone else about your goods or services.
This score can show you how happy your customers are in general with your products. However, its drawback is that it won’t tell you what customers dislike if they provide a low score.
Because the NPS uses a single question, most customers are highly likely to answer it, giving you ready access to some important data.
Nevertheless, if you plan on reaching out to everyone who gives a low score, you may find it difficult to get in touch with all your unhappy customers.
4. Make telephone calls
If you find through a survey or your NPS that you have unhappy customers, you’ll want to reach out to them quickly to follow up and answer questions. You can also send them replacement products if necessary or learn how you can make the situation right for them.
What’s often the quickest way to do this? Simply by reaching out with a telephone call.
The best part of a telephone call is that you’ll be able to listen to everything that your customer has to say. Not all of it may be comfortable to hear, and it may take some extra time out of your day.
However, you’ll be able to ask more open-ended questions and focus on the real problem. This is much better than sitting at home and guessing what changes you need to make to improve customer retention.
It may take some time to contact all of your customers who have left you feedback. In fact, you may never hear from some of them. Talking to a small percentage of them, though, will give you a better place to start as you hone your business model and product catalog.
5. Send transactional emails
Besides requesting that your customers complete surveys on your website at the end of a purchase, you may also want to consider surveys attached to transactional emails.
These follow-up emails will give you a chance to see how happy customers were with your website and products or services.
A similar option is to send a follow-up email a day or two after a product arrives. This will allow your customer to look at the product, test it out, and make any suggestions for improvement.
6. Create suggestion boards
If you think that a suggestion board is only limited to in-person locations, think again. Some online businesses create customer feedback or suggestion boards that they post directly on their websites or shop apps.
You may be surprised by just how many responses you get on this board if you place it in an easy-to-find location of your site.
Customers love this feature because they feel as if they’re a vital part of something important. They can also submit feedback on their own time, which gives them more freedom.
Furthermore, they can feel connected to others on your site who are giving similar forms of feedback. However, keep in mind that only your most dedicated customers or clients are likely to tell you what they think here.
While nearly anyone can start an online business, it takes constant dedication to improvement to stay in business and to build a strong customer base.
Listening to customer feedback and gathering survey data from clients is critical to determining how you need to change as a brand. Whether you receive positive or negative feedback, you can respond in a constructive way that produces positive results.
Already have an online store? What has your experience been with customer feedback? Let us know in the comments below!