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How to Collect Customer Feedback

September 24, 2018

Customer feedback benefits online businesses because it helps effectively manage customer satisfaction. This article describes 3 ways to ask questions and gather valuable customer feedback.

The more information a business collects from its target audience, the better it learns how to appeal to customers.

When you match customer feedback to data you receive in your analytics, you can get a clear picture of reasons why your customers behave in a certain way and answer many other critical questions.

However, people don’t want to spend a lot of time completing customer surveys, and often, they ignore most companies’ attempts to collect insights from them.

In this article, I provide 3 proven ways of collecting customer feedback online. They are:

  • Surveys
  • Feedback boxes
  • Direct email correspondence

1. Surveys Help Businesses Improve

Customer surveys provide the information a company needs to improve.

For example, surveys can help a business determine whether its customer experience is good enough for its target audience or whether customers are willing to pay more for premium features.

A survey is a valuable tool, but you should follow certain rules to increase the chance of a high response rate:

  • Keep your survey as short as possible. According to SurveyGizmo, there’s no magic number for every online survey and every customer group, but in general, surveys that have fewer than 5 questions and can be completed in under 5 minutes perform better. In fact, 52% of customers spend 3 minutes or less to complete an online survey.
  • Don’t ask unnecessary or irrelevant questions. Customers are highly likely to abandon an online survey if they perceive the questions to be irrelevant. Only ask the questions you really need customers to answer.
  • Use the fewest, shortest words possible in your questions. People won’t appreciate it if it feels like doing work. Make the survey easy for customers to read and understand.
  • Write your questions in a simple, natural language. The reason is the same: to prevent readers from feeling like the survey is some kind of a work project.
  • Allow customers to skip open-ended questions. This is a good way to speed up the process for respondents, as 80% of them tend to abandon a survey halfway through. To minimize the time they spend answering questions, respondents prefer to click on answers already provided than to write responses. If they can’t skip open-ended questions, chances are they’ll abandon the survey.

How to Implement Surveys on Your Site

One of the best ways of collecting customer feedback using surveys is to place them on your site. This way, you ensure the person who sees the survey has at least some interest in your business, product, or service and has an experience with your business.

For example, eBay offers a survey with one open-ended and one multiple-choice, closed-ended question.

eBay survey

Advantages:

  • Respondents can quickly complete this survey
  • Respondents have only two questions to answer
  • The survey collects both quantitative and qualitative data

To sum up, surveys are critical for businesses because they produce results that can be used for the improvement of products, services, customer service, and so on. Your website is the first place to start surveying your customers to get their feedback, but following these best practices is required to get maximum information.

2. Feedback Boxes Collect Website Feedback

A feedback box is a small box that contains questions related to the customer experience on a website or specific webpage.

Many businesses use these boxes to collect information about customers’ perception of new designs or possible issues the business should know about, such as website bugs and broken links.

For example, if you visit American Express’s website, you’ll see a little green button on the right side. That’s a feedback box!

American Express feedback

Click on the feedback box, and a small window pops up requesting you to answer questions about your experience on the website.

American Express feedback

The list of questions may seem a bit intimidating, but all of them are closed-ended questions that require just one or two clicks.

Another example is TNT. Its website uses the same feedback box as American Express, but when you click on it, it gives you three options for feedback:

  • Specific feedback: “I’d like to give feedback on a specific part of this page.”
  • Generic feedback: “I’d like to give general feedback on the entire website.”
  • Get in touch: “See FAQs and contact details”

TNT feedback

TNT’s feedback box allows customers to give their feedback in multiple ways.

Whatever design you choose, make sure that the box doesn’t interfere with the user experience on the website.

Feedback boxes are another effective way to collect customer feedback without being too pushy. By using them, you can ask both open-ended and closed-ended questions and get rich information on the things that interest you. Just don’t ask too many questions, and remember not to interfere with the user experience.

3. Ask for Feedback Directly

If your feedback collection effort doesn’t produce appreciable results, you can always ask your customers directly.

For example, you can design a feedback email form, dig into your customer base, locate their emails, and send them the form.

Here are tips for getting the most out of feedback emails:

  • Choose a simple design. The email should contain only your message and a call-to-action and no unnecessary images, links to your site, or headings, which can easily distract the viewer from the main point of the letter.
  • Personalize. Use the name of the recipient in the subject line and/or in the opening line instead of “Dear customer.” This simple personalization further encourages customers to provide feedback.
  • Explain why you need their feedback. In other words, tell your customers why this feedback is important to you and what you plan to do with it.
  • Include a call-to-action. Clearly explain what the next step is so customers won’t have problems understanding what they’re supposed to do.

Here’s an example of an email that follows these tips:

Hi John,

Thank you for registering on our site! We’re currently in the process of adding new features to our product, and we’re reaching out to our customers to know what they think about them. This allows us to understand what’s important to them.

Could you help us, too? The survey takes less than 5 minutes, but it means the world to us!

Give Feedback [CTA button]

Thank you again for your business!

In addition, one version of the feedback email may perform better than the other, so instead of sending one version to everyone in the email list, create two versions and send them to equal shares of customers. That way, you can create the most effective email possible.

Trying to reach your customers directly for feedback is a good way to collect some helpful information. Just like with the tools described above, following proven practices is a must to get maximum results, so pay attention to the design of the email you’re sending as well as its content.

Feedback Betters Businesses

  • Don’t ask too many questions. No one wants to spend a lot of time answering them, so go for no more than 5 questions in your first survey.
  • Do ask what’s important to customers. Ask how they would like you to improve because meeting their needs is the ultimate purpose of your business.
  • Don’t survey too often. Asking too frequently leads to survey fatigue.
  • Do have a plan or purpose. Surveying without a clear plan or purpose is just a waste of your customers’ time. And yours.
  • Do include calls-to-action in feedback emails. They show your customers what they need to do.
  • Do try to improve survey format. Analyze the results of your surveys with tools such as Typeform and SurveyMonkey and see what you can do better next time.

One thing is clear: Customer feedback is critically important for growing your business.

When you’re creating a customer survey to get some feedback, especially for the first time, it’s certainly helpful to know how to do it properly.

Feedback is essential, whether you receive it from surveys, feedback forms, or emails.


About the Author

Headshot of Lucy BentonLucy Benton is a marketing specialist and business consultant and helps people turn their dreams into the profitable business and currently works at A-writer. Now, she is writing for marketing and business resources. Lucy also has her own blog, ProWriting, where you can check her latest publications.