In 2018, the best way to serve your customer base is to find out what their needs are and do your best to provide a valuable solution to those problems. At its core, this is what customer retention marketing is all about. However, without the right tools and tactics for collecting customer feedback, it can be difficult to know what those needs are and the best way of fulfilling them.

Back in January, we put together a post on customer feedback and how to reach your audience in order to gather insight. With this article, we are going to examine 5 more tips for skillfully collecting customer feedback to further round out this incredible important part of the marketing process. Before we begin, let’s first quickly review why customer feedback is so important in the first place.

If you haven’t already read 7 Best Practices for Collecting Customer Feedback, read it here.

Why customer feedback matters

As we mentioned, collecting customer feedback is one of the best ways to understand your audience, but what you might not realize is that there is more to it than that. For a long time in the world of marketing and advertising, brands have tried to build trust with customers through promotions and other gimmicks. However, what we are realizing now is that customers want to be asked about how their experience can be improved.

By simply asking customers their opinions and collecting customer feedback when they provide it, you are establishing a relationship that is beneficial to both parties. The customers are able to receive a better experience from you, the brand, while you are able to better serve your ideal customers. If you can begin collecting customer feedback with this mindset, you will be putting your best foot forward when it comes to both customer experience and service.

Tips and best practices

Now that you have the right mindset for gathering customer insights, let’s go over a few different ways of collecting customer feedback with actionable goals in mind. Although you are attempting to establish a sound relationship, it’s also important to remember why you are requesting feedback in the first place. With this in mind, let’s look at tip #1 that deals with this exact concept.

1. Create surveys with detailed goals in mind

Our first tip for collecting customer feedback is to create your surveys and feedback exercises with specific, detailed goals in mind. Although these are tools that you are using to learn about your audience, you should have a certain level of knowledge going in that can guide your efforts to make sure you are receiving insight that is relevant.

For instance, if your customers are getting stopped up at a particular point in the customer journey, you can tailor the questions around that. This way, instead of being too general or even too specific, you can ask customers how your team is doing on guiding them through the process. This will give far more valuable and actionable items for you to add to your to-do list than a general survey.

2. Make it easy to provide feedback

Another way to collect customer feedback efficiently and with optimal results is to make it easy to provide feedback. While surveys are good, the average response rate for email surveys is roughly 24%, meaning you will need more than just email to get the job done well. Thankfully, there are a few different ways you can do about this.

SMS

While email has a notoriously low engagement rate, SMS Marketing boasts a 98% open rate, leading more marketers than ever to use SMS for customer feedback. In fact, you can use marketing automation to set up short surveys with your customers that feel like a conversation rather than a formal interview. Consider using SMS to make this process simpler and faster for your audience.

Comments and reviews

According to Zendesk, 30% of customers share positive reviews via social media, while 63% of consumers read negative reviews via social media. Not only does this show how important it is to stay on top of the comments and reviews you receive, but that you monitor these comments to make sure potential customers aren’t getting bad information on your brand. Customers will use these avenues whether you monitor them or not, so make sure you are on top of it.

3. Offer incentives

Despite your best efforts to reach your customers through mobile marketing and other feedback avenues, sometimes it can be difficult finding the engagement you are looking for. This is where offering incentives to collect the customer feedback you need can be the difference between good data and great data.

However, keep in mind that you don’t want to skew the information you are collecting, so make sure that you aren’t just paying random people to take your survey. Incentives like reward points toward your customer loyalty program are the best way to ensure you are getting helpful feedback from actual customers.

4. Track all customer interactions

Now, so far we have mainly spoken about collecting customer feedback through traditional means, but there is often an untapped way of gathering data on your customers you may not have tried yet: user engagement metrics. By tracking customer behavior, you can actually learn far more than a survey where someone knows they are being asked about your business. Customers may say one thing, but the data will often tell a different story.

The way to get ahead of this is to begin tracking all customer interactions. Everything from session time on your website to abandon cart rates can have open your eyes to areas of improvement for your customers. Don’t forget about these unique ways of collecting customer feedback when starting your campaign.

5. Ask consistently

Finally, our last piece of advice for collecting customer feedback, especially with surveys, is to ask consistently. We mean this in two ways: first, ask repeatedly for customer feedback. Like we mentioned earlier, surveys often have very low response rates, so it may take multiple asks to even reach your customers. But secondly, keep your questions and tone consistent when collecting feedback to get the best possible results.

Which brings us to our final thoughts: Remember why you are collecting feedback in the first place. As a marketer in 2018, it is your job to understand the needs of customers and then find ways to meet those needs with your product or service. Collecting customer feedback is one of the most effective ways to do this, so remember these tips and you will have a much better experience moving forward!