“Who cares what customers think about us? They’re buying from us, aren’t they?”
That’s the refrain of the lazy branding expert. They’re happy to have customers—but not exactly too eager to find out what they might have to say.
But what customers think of you isn’t just important for marketing. It’s important for understanding how your entire brand is coming across.
It’s tempting to think you can launch one simple customer survey and be done with it. But if you want true insights into what you’re doing wrong—and what you’re doing right—you need to go a few levels deeper. You need to incentivize customers to not only respond to your surveys and calls for feedback, but incentivize them to be as honest and direct about that feedback as possible.
It can be a painful process, but when it comes to identifying your blind spots: no pain, no gain.
Why does it matter? Understanding your customers’ pain points is essential in preventing your brand from gaining a poor reputation. According to Optimonk, customers with an unsatisfactory experience with your brand are likely to share that experience with as many as 8 to 10 people. The only way to cure this veritable multiplier effect: learn what problems your customers are having and fix them. Here are a few strategies and tools you can use to ensure that your blind spots aren’t larger than you’d like:
Get Your Customers To Be Honest: Survey Incentives
Have you ever seen a company send out a survey with promises of a $1,000 gift card for one lucky winner? It’s not a coincidence; these brands are actively looking to incentivize honest, broad surveys to ensure that they improve their results.
Why is honesty so important?
From the executive-level perspective, you’ll find no shortage of customer complaints. You may even have entire departments that address these complaints. You might employ AI software to deal with these complaints online. But you’d be surprised how few of these complaints are getting through.
According to Forbes, a comprehensive study by the Technical Assistant Research Program found that only 4% of customers with a complaint will express that complaint directly to the company. That leaves 96% of customers with complaints to tell other people.
That’s not what you want.
Survey incentives accomplish more than just getting more accurate data:
Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Surveys
“Use multiple choice questions when possible. It takes much less cognitive effort than answering open-ended questions.”
-Shep Hyken, Forbes
Is it enough to have a survey incentive? That will help attract people to the survey in the first place. But getting the most out of the surveys themselves is another proposition entirely. Here are some tips to keep in mind when you do launch customer survey campaigns:
Beyond Surveys: Strategies and Tools for Gathering Customer Feedback
There are a few great tools you can use to send out surveys, including:
If you’re new to surveys, don’t worry about implementation—these tools make it possible to incorporate your surveys into a broad range of Ecommerce and customer service platforms.
But once you have these surveys in place and you implement the strategies listed above, is there more you can do to get valuable feedback from your customers? Are there other avenues that might work just as well? Email surveys are powerful, but you’ll find that there are a number of ways for you to get high-quality feedback, including:
Monitor Your Social Media
Social media isn’t just there so you can broadcast to your customers with a megaphone. It’s there to be a two-way street. And as such, social media should be one of your first go-to tools for understanding what your customers are saying about you.
The problem: it can be difficult to find the nuggets of genuine insight into the broad sweep of social media platforms. That’s why you’ll want to incorporate some tools designed to separate the wheat from the chaff:
To keep things simple, try to stick to one tool for your social media needs. If you already have one tool in place, you’ll want to check to see if there is already a customer feedback feature you can access.
Incorporate Customer Feedback into Your Existing Chat Structure
If you already incorporate chat support on your site that employs the use of AI, you’ll want to ensure that your preexisting structure ends with a feedback rating.
Think of this feedback not as a unique campaign, but as a piece of your overall customer relationship puzzle. You’ll find all sorts of customer relationship management tools that can offer you the infrastructure you need to incorporate these features—the only question is whether you’ll incorporate them.
If you don’t have that structure in place, you might want to consider adding a customer relationship management tool to your strategies. Tools like Zoho CRM and HubSpot CRM are highly versatile relationship management programs that will give you the infrastructure necessary to gather feedback in the first place.
Making Customer Feedback Work for You
If you incorporate the ideas you’ve learned here, what’s left? What should you do with the mountains of data? It’s one thing to identify a blind spot; taking care of it is another thing entirely. But as you go through, make sure to ask yourself the following questions:
Customer feedback can be one of two things: a curse or a blessing, depending on how you use it. If you gather the best data and understand what your customers think of you, you’ll be one step closer to achieving the brand you’ve always intended for your company.