Let’s face it: you need honest and insightful customer feedback to keep innovating. Your customers have a unique point of view with your products and services. They have the exact information you need to make iterations, improve, and evolve.
Most importantly, they know what works and what doesn’t.
You need to be collecting — and using — customer feedback. Here’s how to do just that.
When To Look For Customer Feedback
Repeat after me: “ALL. THE. TIME.”
There should be an ongoing dialogue with your customers. Being proactive with your customer care efforts also means you’ll be productive!
First, ongoing conversations save time (and mean the ball doesn’t get dropped).
Second, collecting ongoing customer feedback means you don’t have to guess about who or what is performing. YOU KNOW.
Lastly, ongoing customer conversations mean ongoing relationship building. It means being a company that puts humans first. And there’s hardly a chance anything bad will come from that!
How To Collect Customer Feedback [With Examples]
Talk The Talk: The easiest and perhaps most effective way to collect customer feedback is to TALK to your customers. If you’re unsure where to start the conversation, try asking about …
- The product/service: how has their experience been?
- Their account manager or rep: what’s the relationship like?
- Are there any friction points?
- Are there any opportunities?
It’s important to remember to listen more than talk on these calls. I know for me, listening not only helps me problem solve, but it also helps me hear where there are areas of opportunity or services I can offer that the client isn’t yet using.
Quality Assurance: Are you reaching out periodically to see how your company is doing? This could be a phone call or a quick email check-in.
For example, we send out a quarterly survey asking our clients how their Account Manager is performing. We make it super simple by giving two options (doing awesome or could do better). We record the answers to keep an eye on things throughout the year. And if we don’t get a response, we reach out by phone.
Post-Mortem Reviews: Churn happens. But do you know why it’s happening? The customer feedback you get from churn is the absolutely best place to find gaps with your service or product. Ideas for churn feedback include …
- A churn survey
- A phone call or 1:1 meeting
- For unsubscribers: a question on your unsubscribe page asking for feedback (Campain Monitor gives great examples of these — see one below!)
How your company collects customer feedback is entirely up to you and the way you are structured. But the ways in which you can collect insights are boundless!
Formal Feedback Ideas [With Example]
Some companies decide to make things a bit more formal and create dedicated communities or advisory boards.
Sprout Social, for instance, our SAAS partner for all things social media management, formed the Agency Partner Program. For Partners, Sprout promises the Program will, “Provide value to clients, minimize time and resource spend and increase revenue.”
And you can bet that for Sprout, it provides a continuous source of customer feedback and innovation. They’ve also included webinars, a Slack group, and a Facebook group for more conversation. And to ensure they’re providing value to their Partners, Sprout even offers a directory of their partners for those looking for digital service partners.
Remember, this type of formal feedback requires a fair amount of planning and preparation on your part. Don’t take this on if you’re a beginner … but keep it in mind for more adance customer conversation and relationship-building.
Who Should “Own” These Observations?
For us, it’s everyone. Or at least everyone who touches any client-facing tasks.
I don’t want to isolate such a mission-critical item to just me, or just the c-suite, or just the Account Managers. Our philosophy is that everyone on our team is responsible for building a better mousetrap, and that includes customer feedback.
If that isn’t your style, that’s fine. Just remember, your customer’s comfort level may be directly influenced by the person on the other side of the phone or email. Is this person in sales or marketing? A part of leadership?
If you don’t make collecting customer feedback everyone’s job, be sure you connect your customer segment with the right internal representative in the right situation. Sales may not be the best department for churn feedback, for instance.
Where To Keep Customer Feedback
As you’ve seen, there are multiple sources of collecting customer feedback. But housing it in one location for all teams to access is critically important. Where your feedback ends up can be as easy as an Excel spreadsheet or as complex as a CRM (we use and love Nimble — here’s a discount!).
Other ways to collect and store customer feedback:
And don’t forget about customers who leave online reviews on your social media sites!
At the end of the day, you’ll want to ensure you’re consistently housing your customer feedback in one place that’s easily accessible to those who need to view it.
Thinking Conversation With Customers
In sum, be sure you’re having continuous conversations to capture customer feedback. But don’t stop there!
Don’t forget to act on the customer feedback you work so hard to collect. No one likes to give advice and then have it not taken! Plus, it’s not business savvy to ignore the feedback customers have so graciously offered you.
Lastly, ensure your customers know what you did with their feedback … update them on new developments and say thanks to those who helped you innovate. You’ll be floored by how healthy and strong your relationships with customers become.
How are you using customer feedback at your company? Let us know in the comments section below!
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Brooke B. Sellas is the in-the-trenches Founder & CEO of @HelloBSquared, an award-winning social media, advertising, and customer care agency. She's also the Co-host of The Marketing Companion podcast with Mark Schaefer, where they discuss jaw-dropping marketing trends. Brooke's marketing mantra is “Think Conversation, Not Campaign” so be sure to give her a shout!
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