Creating highly satisfied and loyal customers is the biggest growth engine you can have for your business. Loyal and happy customers buy from you more often and stay with your business over the years, plus they refer their friends and family to your business as well. But how can you create more of these kinds of customers? The key is knowing what makes the customers of your unique business satisfied and loyal—and you can only get those answers through seeking, analyzing, and using customer feedback.
What is customer feedback, and why is it important? Customer feedback is information that your customers provide to you about your products and services or your company as a whole. Customers can provide this feedback through comments and reviews on your site or others, surveys you send to them directly, or through other interactions with your business.
And this feedback is incredibly valuable because it allows you to create a customer experience that is exactly what your customers need and desire, and that creates high levels of loyalty and satisfaction. Just ask companies like Yeti—they used integrated customer feedback to enhance their customer journey across every touchpoint, and their customers couldn’t be more loyal advocates for their brand.
How can you reap the rewards of customer feedback for your own business? We’ll cover all you need to know about asking for, tracking, and using customer feedback in this guide.
How to ask for feedback from customers
Asking your customers for their feedback is the first step in creating an excellent customer experience—but it can be challenging to do it the right way. You need to find a balance between asking for all the information you want to improve your business and how much you can realistically ask customers to give of their time.
That’s why many businesses that are CX leaders use a mixture of several different customer feedback mechanisms to gather as much information as possible while keeping the burden on customers themselves low. Here are just a few of the most effective customer feedback examples and ways to ask for those valuable insights.
Customer feedback surveys
Requesting feedback directly from your customers through surveys gives you access to a treasure trove of valuable information about your current customer experience. One of the many benefits of customer feedback surveys is that you can gather both quantitative and qualitative feedback at the same time. And by taking a proactive approach to feedback instead of waiting for complaints to surface online, you have a better chance of getting insights from your satisfied customers as well as your unhappy ones.
Since customer experience is such a wide field, there are several different types of surveys you can use to measure various parts of your brand’s reputation and customer satisfaction and loyalty levels. You should send these surveys regularly to track trends in your customer experience over time.
Voice of the Customer (VoC) surveys
Voice of the Customer surveys are a flexible and adaptable way to gather feedback from your customers about a variety of areas of the customer experience.
You can use VoC surveys to ask customers about how often they use your products, challenges they’ve encountered while using your services, their favorite aspects of your products or services, or how you can improve their experience, just to name a few possibilities.
Net Promoter Score® (NPS) surveys
The NPS system is a highly effective way of measuring customer loyalty. By asking your customers one simple question—“how likely are you to recommend our company to your friends and colleagues?”—you can assess current levels of loyalty among your customers, and identify who fits into three different loyalty categories.
Promoters, who rate their likelihood to recommend as a 9 or 10 on a ten-point scale, are highly loyal to your business. They return again and again to make purchases and are strong brand advocates to everyone they know as well.
Passives, who respond with a 7 or 8, are moderately satisfied but are not happy enough to be truly loyal. They’ll switch to a competitor quickly if another option appears.
Detractors respond with a 6 or down to a 0, and they’re actively unhappy customers. They’re likely to talk about your company and products negatively, both in-person and online.
NPS is an excellent predictor of long-term customer loyalty and satisfaction, and should definitely be included in your customer survey program.
Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) surveys
If you’re looking to measure how satisfied customers are with your products, services, or company as a whole, CSAT surveys are very effective. Your CSAT score is assessed by asking customers how they would rate their overall satisfaction with a specific product or service, or an interaction with your company such as making a purchase or contacting your customer service team.
While satisfaction isn’t enough to keep customers around on its own (you can be satisfied but still depart for a competitor when a better choice comes along), it’s still a valuable metric to gather. It measures short-term customer satisfaction with a specific event or interaction with your business.
Customer Effort Score (CES) surveys
Doing business with your company should be easy for your customers—and you can measure how easy you’re currently making it with a CES survey. CES surveys ask customers how easy your company made it for them to handle their recent issue, on a scale from 1-7.
Customers don’t want to stick around with a company that makes it difficult to handle issues when they arise, and that is the basis of the CES survey. While ease on its own isn’t enough to drive high levels of loyalty, making it hard to do business with you can be a significant driver of customer churn. You want to know where you stand and what you can improve.
Customer feedback forms
While surveys can be sent to customers on a schedule determined by your business, sometimes customers want to give feedback at other times that aren’t on your survey schedule. That’s why adding a customer feedback form to your website, app, or mailer is a great idea—customers know they’re always able to provide feedback on urgent or important issues on their own timetable.
There are several ways you can incorporate customer feedback forms into your business—you can use one or more of them to allow your customers to share their thoughts as they visit your site or view your marketing materials.
Email customer feedback forms
Every business website should have a way for customers to contact you when an issue or problem comes up, or when they have an idea for your company. Email customer feedback forms are an easy and effective way to include this feature on your website. Customers simply fill in a few pieces of information and add their comments, and your website sends the completed form to your company’s customer service email address.
Mail-in customer feedback forms
If you use more traditional forms of marketing, such as mailing catalogues or other materials, you can still offer an easy way for customers to send you their feedback. You can include a mail-in feedback form along with your marketing materials to solicit customer feedback and make it easy for customers to offer you their opinions on your products or services.
In-app feedback forms
If your business has a mobile app, you can include a feedback form directly in the app itself. This allows customers to leave immediate feedback if they encounter an issue in the app so you can address problems right away. Customers may also offer suggestions for improvements in the app, which can give you ideas for how to improve the in-app experience.
While feedback forms and customer surveys are very valuable, they’re also both one-way feedback mechanisms most of the time. Customers send their feedback in and it’s difficult to follow up with targeted questions or requests for more information. Adding customer interviews into your customer feedback system is a great way to bridge this gap.
In customer interviews, you can have a dialogue with your customers that allows you to go deeper into their likes and dislikes, and preferences. You can also narrow in on specific issues or products to get in-depth feedback or solicit their opinion on your brand and company as a whole.
Customer interviews are also a great way to follow up on feedback that you have received from customers through surveys or forms. For example, you can talk to:
a group of customers who sent in negative feedback to find out what you can improve
a group of highly satisfied customers to learn what makes them so happy with your business so you can build on your existing strengths
a specific age group or income level that you want to attract more of to find out what it would take to make them customers
a random sampling of customers to get feedback from across the board
Many of your customers and potential customers probably follow your business on one or more social media channels—especially your most loyal fans. They’re already engaging with you regularly on those platforms, so why not make it easy for them to send you feedback right there?
And social media channels have evolved over the past few years to include a variety of ways to offer more and more ways to collect feedback directly from your customers. Some of these are even engaging and fun, creating a great experience while also giving your business valuable insights.
Many social media channels, including Instagram, Twitter, and Linkedin, offer polling features you can use to gauge customer opinions on relevant issues or new products. You can also ask for feedback through Instagram Stories or Facebook Messenger to allow customers to share their thoughts with your business. Need more ideas? We’ve got seven of the best ways to gather feedback on social media for you!
How to track customer feedback
Once you’ve mastered how to collect insights and opinions from your customers, it’s time to move to the next step: customer feedback management. This step is absolutely vital, but it’s where many companies stop. They gather feedback but aren’t sure how to effectively use it and their data just sits in a file somewhere. This method doesn’t do much to improve the customer experience, which is the whole point of collecting feedback.
Instead, try creating a holistic customer feedback management program. That means putting a customer feedback system and loop into place so you can measure, track, and follow up on customer feedback quickly and effectively.
Customer feedback system
What is a customer feedback system? It helps you use tools and dashboards to store and analyze customer feedback data. Since there are so many ways you can gather customer feedback, sometimes the data from all those sources becomes fragmented and siloed as it’s stored in many different places.
Instead, it’s a best practice to use one comprehensive system to store and analyze your customer feedback data. And ideally, that system should also tie into other sources of customer data so you have a holistic view of the customer experience. GetFeedback’s integration with Salesforce means your teams across every part of the customer experience have access to the customer feedback data they need, all in one place and complete with sophisticated analytics.
Customer feedback loop
Once you’ve spent a significant amount of time and money gathering customer feedback, don’t let those insights fall through the cracks. Closing the loop on feedback is essential to creating an exceptional customer experience. Here’s what closing the feedback loop looks like in brief:
Create a customer journey map. In today’s world, customers have a vast number of potential places where they will encounter and interact with your business. Creating a customer journey map ensures none of these experiences fall off your CX radar.
Collect feedback on each touchpoint. Before you put a customer feedback plan into place, you might not know which customer touchpoints are dragging your customer experience down. You may need to gather information about several specific touchpoints to clarify what’s working well and what needs improvement and do further investigating about the best way to make those improvements.
Create a customer feedback system for data. As we discussed above, it’s essential to have one system where you can store and analyze the data you’ve collected by soliciting customer feedback so nothing falls through the cracks.
Take action on feedback. Now the most critical part comes—use that data analysis to take real action to improve the customer experience! Your customers have given you the gift of feedback, so be sure to use it to deliver a better customer experience.
Continuously improve. Once you’ve taken action on this first round of feedback, your job isn’t over. Customer expectations shift all the time, so ensure you return to the first part of the loop to continuously collect feedback and make improvements. Your CX will get better and better, and your pool of happy, loyal customers will continue growing.
Customer feedback questions
Asking the right questions is essential for getting insightful, actionable customer feedback. This is true no matter where you’re collecting that feedback—on social media, in customer feedback surveys, in interviews, or anywhere else. Here are a few of our favorite questions to ask:
What can we do to better serve your needs?
How likely are you to recommend our products/services?
How did you hear about our company or products?
How often do you use our product or service?
How responsive has our company been to your questions or concerns?
What’s the single biggest challenge you’ve experienced with this product or service?
Does our product or service help you achieve your goals?
If you could change just one thing about our product or service, what would it be?
How to use customer feedback
Using your customer feedback can come in many forms. But the biggest advantage it gives you is that you can drive significant business improvements through data-driven decisions—you’ll know you’re taking the right actions because your customer data tells you so.
Improve customer service
You won’t know where any gaps are in your customer service until you ask your customers. Perhaps you need to improve the training of your customer service reps, or provide more self-service resources, or reduce wait times or transfers when customers call for help.
Influence product development
Developing new products can seem like a bit of a gamble, but it doesn’t need to be—just ask your customers about what they would most like to see, and then act on that feedback. Then you’ll know that your product team is on the right path before you launch anything new.
Include in marketing and ads
Customer feedback isn’t only about collecting suggestions for improvement—it can also point out what you’re doing well. And you can use those testimonials and positive comments in your marketing and advertising to bring in new customers who will love what you do. Just be sure to ask or at least inform customers what you’ll use their comments for before you do so.
Increase customer retention
Customer feedback has a strong impact on customer retention—as long as you use it properly (one or more of these three ways is a good place to start). Since it’s much cheaper to retain existing customers than to gain new ones, using customer feedback to increase loyalty and retention is great for your business and the people who support it as well.
Listening to your customers is the best way to create an exceptional customer experience—and that’s what customer feedback is all about. GetFeedback can help you improve your business results and drive customer loyalty and retention with actionable insights on our CX platform. Great CX is all about customer feedback—get started on the road to enhance and refine yours today.