Collecting feedback from customers is crucial for understanding their opinions about your service. As a rule, customers tend to share their opinions only when they are really dissatisfied. And at that moment, they won’t go to you, but to an independent review platform where they will pour out all their negative experience to the delight of your competitors.
In this article, we’ll discuss how eCommerce companies can strategically initiate and collect reviews from customers to see the full picture of what’s going on, increase customer loyalty, and constantly keep abreast of customer relationships.
Why to collect feedback from customers for eCommerce sites
Collecting and analyzing feedback, and changing the way you treat customers based on the received information helps retain existing and attract new customers, ultimately affecting the profitability of the business. Below are some other advantages of collecting eCommerce customer feedback.
Acquiring a new customer costs money, and it gets more expensive the more competitive your market segment is.
A client brings profit if the income pays off the total costs including the expenses spent on the initial attraction.
Thus, old customers who make more and more new purchases (or renew contracts for subscription services) recoup expenses faster. They are loyal to your business. To increase that loyalty you need to pay attention to customer opinion. Clients have a positive attitude towards companies that are ready for dialogue and listen to their wishes.
Collecting feedback is the only way to understand why customers stay with you or, conversely, prefer competitors. Other methods are employee surveys within the company, mystery shopping, etc. – are more likely to allow falsification of facts, so with their help you will not be able to look at the company and business from the outside. Reviews can highlight the strengths of your business that are important to your target audience. Subsequently, these points can be emphasized in marketing, more effectively attracting new customers.
Way to be better
Obvious shortcomings play a role of anti-advertising. In case your customer has bad experience with your product or service, you loose not only that customer but also those who hear or read his or her review.
By the way, if a client has suffered from your shortcomings, an open attitude and a sincere willingness to help correcting the situation can return the client and those who you lost with a bad review.
Source of further development
Reviews do not always contain only criticism. Often they contain valuable ideas about the direction in which your business should evolve – what customer needs are not yet met, but can be integrated into the existing workflow. These thoughts are worth listening to.
Quality product/service helps to retain existing customers, and in some cases also attract new ones with less expenses.
Not only the client is pleased to be heard. It is important for your employees to see the results of their work. Positive feedback about their activities is great for motivation. In addition, understanding that the real people stand behind the company will help develop a culture of responsible attitude to work. In turn, this also affects the quality of services provided.
Is all feedback worth gathering?
When collecting feedback, do not grab the first information that comes across. You need those customers who have had experience with you or your competitors and are willing to pay for such experience again someday (those who will never order such a service/product again are not interesting to you).
Of course, you need to listen to the opinion of your current customers.
Do not respond to reviews written with someone’s words: “My colleagues heard that …”. The opinion of those who have really tried your service or product is important to you.
Opinion is also important if the client has stopped working with you. But if only you want to return such a client. If you do not plan to work with this type of client anymore (while, for example, focusing on another target audience), then the feedback will not give you the necessary information.
A valuable source of opinion is a customer who has not passed through the “sales funnel”, i.e. began to contact the company, but never made a purchase (did not sign the contract). It is important to find out from such a non-client what prevented him or her from continuing to deal with the company. Maybe the reason is a particular manager who was rude during communication?
Clients of your competitor
A separate category of potential leads to collect feedback on the website are those who receive similar services from your direct competitor. You should find out why they chose a different company. Be sure to contact customers who chose a competitor but were in your funnel to collect more objective feedback and try to return them in case of dissatisfaction. It is important to do this no earlier than 4-6 months after the rejection.
How to collect feedback from customers?
There are various methods for collecting feedback.
Let’s start with a case when the company initiates collecting feedback.
Online methods allow you to get a client’s opinion with a minimum of effort and without contacting the customer directly.
Run a poll
The easiest way to get feedback online is to conduct a survey. The channel for obtaining information is not important. In all cases, you will need a questionnaire with questions that clients can fill out.
Questions can be asked:
- by email (send emails individually or via mailing list);
- in your company’s messengers;
- in a group on social networks.
For each of these channels, depending on the wording of the questions, you can get both quantitative and qualitative assessments of the service (product).
You can ask the customer to leave a review in the order confirmation email. However, they obviously cannot leave meaningful feedback until they actually receive their order. So often they end up putting it off and eventually forget that you even asked them to write a review. Wait for one or two days after the product or service was provided, and then email.
By the way, you can take feedback in some instant messengers, for example, through a telegram bot, service automation tools, or help desk.
Send a thank you SMS with a verification request
If you have your customers’ phone numbers, you can send them an SMS or a text message through the messaging app.
There are various SMS marketing services available for businesses, but the easiest (and free) way to reach customers is through popular messaging services like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, or Telegram.
Add a QR code to every order
Customers can quickly scan the QR code with their smartphone and leave a review. Place the QR code on a business card or thank you letter that you add to orders. Or print the QR code on a sticker and stick it on the package of your order.
If you sell digital products, you can also add QR codes to them. For example, you can paste it at the end of a recipe or a tutorial video.
In this category, we have collected several methods for obtaining feedback that can only be implemented if customers visit your office at least occasionally. You can:
- place A1 or A0 drawing paper and markers in a public place so that customers can leave their opinion in a free form;
- at the time of waiting for service, offer to fill out mini-questionnaires with several questions;
- prepare a complaint book and post a feedback box in a conspicuous place;
- use multi-colored tokens or special devices with several buttons at service points for an instant assessment of the service (the so-called three-color survey).
In addition, you can conduct exit polls so popular during elections.
If online methods of collecting feedback require a one-time investment of resources during setup (preparing questionnaires, or posting them on the website) or subscribing to the helpdesk system, then offline methods need labor costs constantly – the same drawing paper and markers need to be changed over time. For exit-poll allocate employees who will interview customers at the exit. But in face-to-face communication, the client is more likely to respond in detail, so there is a chance to get more information here.
How to get feedback for a field engineer
Some businesses may involve a visit to the client’s office to perform certain work. In this case, the task of collecting feedback can be included in the responsibilities of a field engineer. This approach will differ from the usual procedure in that the questionnaire is filled in by a field engineer according to the client’s words.
You can call both regular (loyal) customers and those who ordered a one-time service, and then refused to continue cooperation. Calling will help you find out why this particular customer is no longer working with you. Calls require even more effort than a wall newspaper or a box for wishes.
As with online surveys, both quantitative and qualitative data can be collected over the phone. You can conduct a detailed interview with the most loyal customers by phone. But it is better to agree on such a conversation in advance.
When calling, it is worth preparing a script beforehand so that the data received from different clients can be compared with each other.
A classic way to collect feedback from customers when launching your own products or services is free testing by the target audience. One or more loyal customers can be invited to try the product at the start of sales or before the start.
This method can also be adapted to an existing business – invite a friendly company to try out the work of your service with a detailed review of their testing. The appropriateness of this step depends on the market segment in which the company operates.
Reviews from the most loyal customers – interviews, cases and a day at the client side
This category addresses the ways to collect feedback on a website that should only be applied individually. As noted above, the most loyal of them may be willing to take the time to do an in-depth study of your service or product. This interview can be done in person or over the phone. Some of the clients may opt to respond in writing.
If your company interacts closely with a client, it makes sense to spend a day “in his or her shoes” – to come to the customer’s office and observe exactly how they use your service or product, and what difficulties are encountered in the process. With such interaction, you can get even more useful information than in the course of a detailed interview.
The right moment matters.
When to request a review depends on the nature of the service. This should not be done too late – the client should not forget the details.
Questions for collecting feedback: what to ask?
When collecting feedback, regardless of the tool you use, ask only about what matters in terms of your goals.
Here are some examples of questions you could ask:
- Did you like the service/product?
You can request a free-form answer or a score (for example, from 0 to 10).
- Has your issue been fully resolved?
- Rate your interaction with the company on a three or five point scale?
This question is commonly used to assess customer satisfaction (or CSAT). The metric shows how the service meets the client’s expectations.
- How easy was it for you to interact with our company / customer service?
This question is used to evaluate another metric, Customer Effort Score (CES). The metric shows how many actions from the client’s side your service required.
- Would you recommend the service to your friends?
This question is used to evaluate the so-called Consumer Loyalty Index (NPS, Net Promoter Score). The index was first proposed by Frederick Reicheld in the early 2000s. He showed the relationship between customer loyalty and company revenue. Initially, NPS was used in large companies working with a large audience – airlines and telecom operators. But this index is also suitable for small businesses in B2B.
The client should not be forced to fill out a huge form. The survey should take no more than 1-2 minutes. Therefore, it is better if it is 2-5 questions with the most specific and easy-to-understand wording. A few more questions can be asked to the most loyal customers as part of a personal interview, but such an initiative should not be extended to everyone.
- Each question can be answered in a free form or in the feedback form of a score from 1 to 5 (maximum – up to 10). But the wider the choice of answer options (or the range of assessment), the more difficult it is for the client to answer unambiguously. This is why polls with two or three options are so popular.
- If you provide a free-form feedback field, do not make it mandatory. Open answers always provide more information, but not all clients are willing to spend time on this. Most likely, you will receive a detailed answer in less than half of the reviews (despite the fact that not every client agrees to leave a review). If the field is mandatory, you will not receive an answer at all – the client will refuse to fill it out.
- Don’t ask for extra information. You might want to figure out more details about your audience, but mind the purpose of getting feedback from clients.
- Don’t complicate the process with layout. It’s best to have all the questions fitting one page – don’t split them up into multiple consecutive loading screens.
How to encourage leaving feedback
- Emphasize why you need feedback across all of your channels.
- Offer a small reward for the review, such as a free half hour consultation.
- Respond to all comments that have been made to you. Let this reaction be “human”, and not similar to the robot’s stereotyped response.
- If possible, correct your mistakes publicly (especially if a dissatisfied client left a negative on a public review site). This way you “zero out” a negative review and show that the opinion of customers is really important to you.
When customer initiates a feedback
In certain situations, the clients don’t need to be asked to express an opinion, they are ready to express it themselves. Don’t hide from these reviews, even if they’re negative.
The desire of the client to give you some information lasts a very short time. In order not to miss it, support as many channels as possible for collecting incoming feedback:
- Prepare a form for sending a review about your service/product on the site and special sections in groups on social networks. The form should not be hidden. It is better if it is available from any page, wherever the client is.
- Set up a separate email box to receive feedback. Indicate this address on all pages of the site.
- You can even allocate a special phone number. Some recommend leaving the number of someone in senior management so that a dissatisfied customer can contact directly. This will show you maximum openness.
Open source reviews
A separate category of reviews is opinions in open sources. Unfortunately, resource owners do not always care about verifying the accuracy and veracity of the information posted in this way. And it is important to understand that some of the data published there (both about you and about your competitors) is far from reality.
Big companies are monitoring and responding to these reviews, even though they may be wasted resources. They need to “save face”. Small and medium businesses should weigh the need to deal with such reviews before rushing to respond to everything. On the one hand, working with the negative feedback is necessary. On the other hand, perhaps reviews can be written by people who will never be or were not your customers.
How to process the collected feedback?
As noted above, the collected feedback should be gathered just for show.
But before analyzing it, it is worth evaluating its content. Feedback is useless if it is:
- abstract estimates based on nothing;
- elements of aggression or trolling;
- criticism from those who criticize constantly.
The processing of received feedback is a workflow assigned to a responsible person. This person should understand what actions will follow as a result of the analysis.
Calculate the indicators
If you calculate the NPS index mentioned above, evaluate it using the classic formula:
NPS = share of promoters (customers with a score of 9-10) – share of dissatisfied (customers with a score of 0-6)
Similar to CSAT,
CES = sum of grades / number of grades.
The process of analyzing information should be as simple as possible. Choose 1-2 key metrics to track. Other metrics can be analyzed later.
Compare with previous data
If you measure some indicators based on the results of collecting feedback, track them in dynamics – do not compare yourself with other businesses or market averages from analysts. You will never see an objective picture of someone else’s business. And this comparison will in no way tell you what exactly needs to be corrected.
How to handle negative feedback
Negative customer experience should give impetus to some changes. Analyze the text part of the reviews, build hypotheses, what details of the service should be corrected and test them in real life – put them into practice and watch the changes in the monitored indicators. If over time the indicators change for the better, the hypothesis was correct.
By the way, negative cases can help in marketing. A dissatisfied customer converted into a satisfied one is a case to be proud of.
If you want to see the real examples and templates on how to respond to negative feedback, you can read our recent article on this topic.
At Simtech Development, we try to make every project that we conduct a successful case. While working with your customer’s satisfaction, we work for you to make your business fit the customer needs.Connect more convenient payment or shipping services, add a chat bot on your site, or a more elaborated form to leave a review. We will help turn any customization into a tool to please your audience.