How to Encourage Your Customers to Provide Real Feedback
“Tell us what you think.” In almost every transaction that you complete, you are asked in some way to give your feedback. This is because smart business owners know that gathering feedback from customers, analyzing it, and using that information to make improvements is the best way to ensure that customers are continually receiving the products and services that they want.
Likewise, you also know that the better feedback that you receive, the better you can serve your B2B customers. The challenge is finding ways to get them to provide you with the feedback that you need, and to make sure that feedback is actually useful to you. Here are a few tricks for accomplishing that.
Be Open And Responsive To The Feedback That You do Receive
How do you respond to the feedback that you currently receive? Don’t just focus on the formal types of feedback like reviews or surveys either. How do you handle the day to day feedback that you receive via email, over the phone, and on your social media channels? If you were looking from the outside in, would it appear as though you were responsive, friendly, and that you made an effort to deal with any issues or questions that arose?
If your customers have reason to believe that their feedback won’t be “heard”, they aren’t going to take the time to provide it. Instead, if they are unhappy, they will likely just move on. If they are happy, they’ll stick with you until something goes wrong. Give customers a reason to believe that their thoughts matter to you by responding to questions, comments and concerns, no matter how or where you receive them.
Create a Presence on Social Media Where Your Customers Are
For many customers, the most convenient place for them to provide feedback to you is simply through your social media pages. To facilitate this, make sure that you have an active presence on the social media pages where they are already participating. If you are receptive and responsive to their comments, suggestions and complaints, they will be open to continuing to give you feedback in the future. In fact, social media feedback is so useful that many brands are adopting social media as a type of customer service platform.
Ask And Then Make it Easy
Sometimes, the best approach is the simplest and most direct one. After a customer has made a purchase or used your services, reach out to them via email and simply ask them to provide feedback. Let them know that you are always looking for ways to improve and that you would like their insights on their experiences with your company. Then, make it easy for them to provide that feedback. Provide them with a link to a landing page to provide feedback, link to a website where they can leave their reviews, or simply invite them to respond to your email with your thoughts. Whatever works best for you, as long as you don’t make them go through too many steps to do this favor for you.l
Create Short And Simple Surveys
Surveys are wonderful. They are easily created. You can distribute them via email or message, post them on your social media pages, and add them to your company website. Better yet, because you control the questions that are asked, you can make sure that you receive feedback that you can truly use to improve your policies and procedures.
On the other hand, you also have to take care that filling out your surveys doesn’t become some laborious task for your customers. Have you ever paid a visit to a website and been asked to fill out a survey? It’s fine if you only have to answer a handful of relevant questions. Unfortunately, there are too many cases when surveys are so long and so full of off topic questions that people either drop out before completing the survey or they rush through the process. Keep your surveys as short as you can, and only ask for information that you will use in the short term. For example, if you aren’t planning on addressing changes to your website for another year, don’t bother asking questions about it in a survey you publish today.
Provide an Incentive For Providing Feedback
Let’s face it, a small reward can be a great motivator. That’s why nearly every grocery and fast food receipt that you get has a link to a survey website along with some promise of a reward if you leave your feedback. Sometimes you get an entry into a drawing, and other times you receive free merchandise or a discount on a future offering. These techniques are just as effective in B2B as they are in B2C. In fact, you may have already participated yourself as a B2B consumer. Many IT vendors offer rewards or prize drawings ranging from Starbucks gift cards to iPads for filling out their surveys.
Link to a Feedback Form on Your Contact Information Page
Some people simply don’t do social media, they don’t want to deal with the complexity of filling out a survey, and they may not want to identify themselves or interact. They just want to leave their feedback. You can facilitate this by providing a brief feedback form that visitors can fill out if they visit your contact us page. This gives people who want an easy way to pass their thoughts along to you.
Don’t Forget Mail
Sometimes, if you want to hear directly from a principle of another company, your best bet is to contact them with a simple postcard asking them for their thoughts. It’s obviously slower and a bit more expensive than other methods, but it stands out enough that you really might get some good results.
Good feedback helps you to measure customer satisfaction, and it lets you know which products and services are on the track and which need work. Hopefully, by using some of the techniques outlined above, you will be able to motivate your customers to provide you with useful information, and provide them with the assurance that their thoughts and opinions really do matter to your company.
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