7 Smart Ways to Gather Customer Feedback [+ 5 Free Tools You Can Use]

customer feedback

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Running a business is not just about selling your products or highlighting your services through well-put-together sales and marketing initiatives.

Work does not stop even once you’ve successfully closed a deal or your team hit revenue goals. It requires never-ending efforts as it is a continuous cycle to make your bottom line better.

Now, we all know business is a two-way street. When deals are all said and done, you have to let the other key player know it’s their turn to make a move. To keep the ball rolling, you have to reach out to your customers—you need to hear feedback.

Why Is Customer Feedback Important?

You want to make sure your strategies are working.

And although the number of new projects and higher profits can show you that, nothing is more critical and subjective than customer reviews. Here are the specific reasons why customer feedback is important:

It’s Your Roadmap

You simply cannot know when you’re on the right track or where there is room for improvement if you don’t hear an outsider’s perspective.

In a corporate context, feedback from your customers acts as a curated and detailed SWOT analysis you can leverage.

Take the time to study where you’re excelling to keep your performance steady, if not better, and find ways to stop the team’s bleeding if the responses come out negative or dissatisfactory. This way, you can prepare a more foolproof game plan for your next round of clients. 

It Builds (Or Destroys) Credibility

Word-of-mouth is an effortless, powerful form of marketing. From one person to the whole wide world, it could make or break your business in an instant.

Take a group of travelers exploring the city as an example. It is only natural for them to dine at restaurants recommended by family or friends. Or, a quick search and a few scrolls on the results page could help them come up with a conclusion if a hotel is livable or otherwise.

Now, more than ever, customer reviews are looked for and valued by leads and clients to make sure they will get what they signed up for.

It Helps Maintain Strong Customer Relationships

Let your clients know they matter. Building rapport is not just a pre-sale to-do—it’s a lifetime agenda. Be personal by asking how they liked or disliked your product or service. Open your lines for any friendly advice or violent reactions and take those into account.

By acknowledging and applying what they have to say and making them feel seen, heard, and, more importantly, valued, you can turn customers into loyal ones.

How Do You Get Customer Feedback?

There are multiple ways to approach your customer for feedback.

Here are some you may want to look into:

Hand Out Paper Surveys

You can take the classic route and collect feedback manually by handing out forms for your customers to fill out. Since you only need to prepare calculated questions, pieces of paper, and a pen, this is the easiest and cheapest way. Plus, with no Internet requirement, it can also cater to the technologically challenged—that just means more responses!

Tallying becomes a challenge, however, as all the answers are in print. Recording results must be done by hand as well. If you’ve got the time and resources to do it, this is a no-fail technique.

Connect via Email

With unlimited space and more customization options in tow compared to printed survey forms, emailing is also an excellent choice. You may opt for something casual and conversational like “We’d like to hear from you,” or straightforward and interactive as “Rate us from 1 to 5 stars!”

For instance, in a fast-paced environment like e-commerce, surveys are rolled out as soon as customers receive their orders. This real-time feedback allows for an immediate customer service response should the buyer encounter any issue upon delivery of items or a smooth segue for a brand-new sale.

Make emailing for feedback as interactive as possible by allowing image or video submissions, as engaging as possible by rewarding incentives to those who will participate in the survey, and as personal as possible by drafting well-written responses to comments or criticisms.

Reach Out Through SMS

SMS is not a dead medium. With 34.9% of consumers still preferring to talk business via SMS than a phone call, you may want to consider conducting your customer satisfaction surveys this way, too!

Much like communicating via email, SMS works best when trying to achieve a great response rate at the quickest possible time. After all, not everyone can be in front of their computer 24/7, but almost everyone has their phones within arm’s length at all times.

Open a Review or Suggestions Page

If you own a website or run a social media page for your business, be sure to make room for comments and suggestions. Have a section for rant and raves and hear your customers’ experience with your product or service.

This way, you can build an authentic wall of testimonials that your leads can easily refer to when checking your company’s quality of work. Keep both the good and the bad reviews, as these make for the perfect retelling of your business’ slow and steady progress, sharp rise, or fluctuating growth.

Listen to Social Media

Sometimes, you don’t have to ask for customer feedback—you just have to look for it!

Take a moment to review your buyer persona. Think beyond survey questions and scroll through where they are most active on the Internet. You might be surprised to find unaddressed issues and kudos that concern your business on social media platforms. Acknowledge these reviews and make your customers know they are heard.

Review Live Chats and Client Calls

Having consistent communication with your customers can benefit you in more ways than one. Not only can it build new relationships and strengthen current ones, but it can also naturally draw feedback.

Transcripts of business calls and live chats are good materials that highlight the pain points and satisfactory remarks for you from your market. Analyzing these may help you find patterns that can improve your business.

For example, if you get several inquiries about how to sign up for a service, it may be a sign for you to develop a how-to page for the process. Also, compile FAQs on your page to optimize your leads’ website or social media profile visits.

Study Heatmaps

Again, customer feedback does not always have to be direct. Identify which areas your business is hot and not with heatmaps.

Apart from monitoring site traffic, measuring customers’ clicks on your website can also pinpoint what they want to see more or less of. With this in mind, you can plot strategies to turn these visitors into potential clients.

Tools to Help You Get Started

Ready to collect customer feedback? Here are some free tools that can help you kickstart your data gathering:

Survicate

survicate

Photo Source: https://survicate.com/

With the ease-of-use and powerful functionality, Survicate is the perfect tool for beginners. This all-in-one customer experience platform lets you build and customize your surveys, distribute the forms, analyze the results, and act upon the feedback minus the hassle. There are over 125 templates available for users to create a survey that people would love to answer. 

Hotjar

hotjar

Photos Source: https://www.hotjar.com/

Discover what attracts attention and where user attention drops on your website when you review heatmaps through Hotjar. This application acts as a visual representation of your customer’s user behavior on your platform.

More than that, Hotjar also offers other services like live playbacks of user activity, survey creation, and real-time suggestion boxes to better gauge your lead’s feedback—all these made free, fast, and easy.

TweetDeck

tweetdeck

Photo Source: https://tweetdeck.twitter.com/

If you want to keep an eye on Twitter, which hosts 206 million users daily, you might want to level up your scrolling and monitoring experience.

TweetDeck lets you view your account’s activity in columns, allowing you to see your entire Twitter performance on a single screen. It also gives you the option to closely track a keyword, making social listening more organized and immediate.

ParseHub

parsehub

Photo Source: https://www.parsehub.com/

If you want to skip the manual labor of collating feedback from your website and your competitors’, opt for the web scraping method. With its highly scalable and easy-to-use features, ParseHub is a good pick for when you need to scrape data from any dynamic website that you can use to your advantage.

Intercom

intercom

Photo Source: https://www.intercom.com/

As aforementioned, you can gather customer feedback through meaningful and thoughtful messaging. Intercom is a platform that champions customer connection via conversational support, engagement, and marketing. It helps you bridge your business to your customers that can eventually lead to genuine comments and suggestions.

Intercom’s pricing varies depending on company size and the solution to avail. Whichever plan you choose, the company gifts a 14-day free trial to jumpstart your business messaging experience.

Let Your Customers Be Heard

While it is true that numbers don’t lie, leveraging on customer feedback can also provide you substantial qualitative insights into your business’ growth or downfall. Seeking constructive criticisms and acting upon them wheels the business cycle, fulfilling its ultimate goal: to grow.

Remember: work is a two-way process. You have to let others—your customers—play their part too. Only after they move can you plot your next great innovation.

Author Bio

Khia Cerezo is the Marketing Officer for Mobile360, an SMS gateway service provider in the Philippines. She is a strategic thinker and takes pride in providing the best marketing plans at work. Khia is a health and fitness enthusiast. She loves to travel and explores each destination to try their food and culture.

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