Collecting customer feedback is critical to the growth of any business, especially retailers. You want to provide your customers with the products and level of service they are looking for. But, the only way to know for certain what your customers want is by collecting and analyzing their feedback.
Here are the top 25 customer feedback tips from the pros:
1. Encourage Customers to Share
Nicole Reyhle, Founder, Retail Minded; Co-founder, Independent Retailer Conference; Author “Retail 101: The Guide to Managing & Marketing Your Business”
Encourage customers to share online reviews via Yelp, Facebook and Google. In exchange for their time to do this, invite them to visit your business for a promotional incentive on their next purchase. You can limit one review incentive per purchase to help encourage future sales and more customer feedback. Since online reviews help drive attention to businesses, this is both an opportunity to gain customer feedback while also capturing customer attention.
2. Empower Your Employees
Anne Howe, Principal, Anne Howe Associates
Train your best in-store associates to have face-to-face conversations about areas of improvement, and then listen to the feedback with a nondefensive attitude. Be willing to make changes. A big plus will be associates who now feel empowered to serve shoppers with more passion.
3. Systematize Your Curiosity
Joanna Rutter, Marketing Specialist, Dor
Getting quality feedback requires processes in place to take action. That can look as simple as taking time each quarter to review a slideshow of public customer reviews and support emails with your team, as technical as using a tool like Yotpo, as social as hosting a private happy hour for your most loyal customers or as personal as a thank you call after an online order following up on the experience.
4. Create a Custom Quiz
Michelle Lam, Founder, True&Co
Did you know 66 percent of adults feel that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide them with good online customer experience? At True&Co, our company thrives on customer feedback. We created a custom fit quiz that allows each customer to answer a series of questions to ensure they are receiving a product designed for them.
5. Make the Most of Free Features
Krista Fabregas, eCommerce Writer, Fit Small Business
If you use Square POS, you should make the most of its free, built-in Square Feedback feature. When turned on, every time you email a receipt to a customer via Square, they have an opportunity to provide feedback. Comments and ratings are collected in the Feedback portal on your Square dashboard, where you can see overall trends and review customer comments and purchase history in one convenient screen. From there, you can respond directly to customers to say thanks, solve issues or even smooth over problems by providing refunds or emailing coupons, and all interactions are tracked.
6. Allow for Unstructured Feedback
Brennan Wilkie, Senior Vice President of Customer Experience Strategy & Country Manager – Canada, InMoment
Organizations that listen to customers in terms of understanding their story get a much deeper and richer understanding of consumers’ expectations and behavioral patterns, and that’s where the secret to success lies. Just because someone bought something once doesn’t mean they’ll buy it again.
7. Ask for Reviews Right After the Sale
Malcolm Stone, Founder, ReviewIgnite
The best time to ask for reviews is immediately after the sale. To make this process easier for your customers, send them an email or text message inviting them to review your business and include a direct link to a review website.
8. Aggregate Your Reviews
Allison Potts, Editor, Fit Small Business
Using customer feedback software that aggregates all of your online reviews into one dashboard, such as Podium, eliminates the hassle of having to check multiple sites, which can cause you to miss vital customer feedback. Plus, it’s easier to spot trends when you can see it all at a glance.
9. Evangelize Your Audience
Gabriela Baiter, Founder, Whereabout Studio
To ensure that your public reviews are top-notch, retailers might want to consider launching a beta program to a small group of loyal customers or influencers as a way to gather feedback on new products. For the retailer, feedback from a beta program can be used to perfect a product, refine product positioning and gather quotes for media, social media posts and your website. For beta participants, they get first access to new product releases while feeling more connected to the brand than ever before. When done right, this can be a win-win for everyone.
10. Utilize Your Receipts
Jasmine Glasheen, Content Lead, Retail Minded; Contributing Editor, RetailWire
When done right, gathering customer feedback is a great way to boost engagement. Incentivize customers to provide online feedback by offering them a small discount on their next purchase on your receipts or follow-up emails. This will boost positive reviews and encourage happy customers to interact with your brand online.
11. Guide Your Business with Feedback
David Smith, CEO & Co-founder, Buy Any Part
My advice on getting customer feedback is to be upfront and ask for it. This sounds obvious but surprising how many people don’t do this. People like to be asked for their opinions if it is done in a genuine way. We ask for customer feedback at every opportunity. It helps to steer our business and make sure we are delivering to the customer what they actually want.
12. Target Abandoned Carts
Gianluca Boncompagni, Co-founder, Off Road Tents
We target abandoned carts, where instead of selling them through discounts or reminding them about their cart, we send them emails offering help and asking for feedback as to why they didn’t go through with the purchase. We had awesome replies, from people suggesting us to have more payment options like PayPal, Apple Pay and so on to others asking for financing and others asking for clearer checkout pages where the shipping costs, taxes, and ETAs [estimated times of arrival] where present. Needless to say, we followed their advice, and the conversion rate increased.
13. Build a Relationship
Becca Koplowitz, Marketing Director, Murse World
There’s a step before getting positive customer feedback, and that’s the customer connection. The best way to get customer engagement is to build a solid relationship first. Once a great company or client relationship is in place, trust helps the feedback flow more easily.
14. Use Negative Feedback as Opportunity
Deborah Sweeney, CEO, MyCorporation
Receiving great reviews are wonderful and help build our brand and overall company reliability, but we also encourage occasional miss reviews too. If a customer has had a negative experience with our company, we respond quickly and resolve it to the satisfaction of the customer. We see reviews as an opportunity to learn and grow, so we can become a better business and provide greater customer experiences.
15. Position Reviews as a Contest
Steve Pritchard, Business Consultant, ASPLI
You could spend a lot of money on a grand prize and give those who provide feedback the chance to be entered into a prize draw to win it. Be sure to emphasize the point that the feedback they give will help you to improve your services, ensuring their next shopping experience with you is the best it could possibly be. This shows that you genuinely care about their opinions and needs, adding a personal reason to make them want to give feedback.
16. Entice with a Discount
Harrison Doan, Director of Analytic, Saatva Dreams
Offer an incentive for a customer leaving a review. It doesn’t have to be big, and it also doesn’t have to be monetary. You want to entice customers to come back and shop while also letting them know that you value their business and their feedback. A 5 to 20 percent discount coupon, a free item on a new purchase after feedback or the chance to be profiled in an upcoming blog post are some great ways to entice customers to give feedback.
17. Get Listed on Google
Steve James, Marketing, Opus Consulting Group Ltd.
If you have a business that relies on local traffic, get listed on Google My Business (GMB). Not only does this help with your ranking on Google Search, but you will also be able to ask customers to review you on Google. People love rating their experiences, and they can also leave a couple of words in your praise. These ratings not only add to the strength of your GMB profile but, it also helps your overall ranking.
18. Ask One Simple Question
Nancy Parra, Content Manager, Ask Nicely
Make it easy for customers. Ask only one question. For example, “Would you recommend us to a friend?” Then, leave room for them to tell you why. Then, follow up on every response. Don’t just collect — respond. It’s actioning the feedback that will continue the conversation.
19. Display Reviews on Your Website
Jay Perkins, Co-founder, Kettlebell Kings
The best advice would be feature reviews on your website. When prospects see the reviews from customers, they pick up on the language others are using and then reiterate that in their reviews. This is how you can become known for certain things like fast shipping or good customer service. When people see it all the time on your website, it is what they share about you as well.
20. Ask the Right Questions
Justyna Polaczyk, Content Writer, LiveChat
Gathering customer feedback isn’t difficult and time-consuming. However, the trick here is to ask the right questions. End your survey with: “What else would you like us to know?” It’s simple but, at the same time, it’s powerful. It gives your customers a chance to speak up and share their thoughts. Give them the opportunity to tell you whatever they want. You won’t believe how many genuine, intelligent responses you can get.
21. Ask for Feedback from a Variety of Sources
Marco Castelán, Co-founder, The Navio Group
When interacting with customers, remember, they’re not all the same. Customers shop differently and, as a result, will provide feedback matching their habits. From a strategic perspective, a retailer may be attempting to expand their customer base. However, if they only hear from one or two existing customers, it will skew their perspective. By speaking with dozens of customers and better understanding who shops the store and what are their needs, a retailer can obtain more practical and impactful information.
22. Limit Survey Questions to One Line
Andrei Vasilescu, CEO & Digital Marketing Expert, DontPayFull
We all are familiar with the online survey forms while surfing through any online retail store. In these short forms, only one relevant question is asked with three to five answer options. These one-line questions provide valuable customer feedback for the respective business. Answers from 100 different customers give a clear idea of how a particular product or process is doing.
23. Host Live Q&As
Tim Absalikov, Co-founder & CEO, Lasting Trend
Go live on Facebook and Instagram for some Q&A sessions or general conversations with your audience. You can also call some of them personally to see how their experience with your store was. See if their experience there was favorable and to ask for their opinion on what you should improve on.
24. Collaborate on Instagram
Brandon Rael, Retail Digital Strategist
Instagram is a landmine of valuable customer insights. There is an opportunity for brands to not only engage with existing customers but also gain new ones. Customers are also very willing to share, collaborate on this platform, which could ultimately lead them to become your brand’s micro-influencers.
25. Entice with Exclusivity
Jason Will, CEO, Zipkick
We have successfully received feedback on a regular basis. Our strategy has been to use an incentive-based system that rewards customers with additional services or discounts towards future services. Retailers can use a similar model easily by offering $20 off $50 purchase or a free style consultation. Also, special event invites are popular with consumers because there’s an exclusivity angle.
The Bottom Line
Collecting feedback from your customers isn’t always easy, especially if that feedback isn’t positive. However, there is always room for improvement. Listening to your customers and implementing their suggestions can lead to stronger customer relationships and increased sales. Comment below your top way of collecting customer feedback.