By Jessica Holmes

Businesses often have issues regarding customer communication. Many businesses end up assuming that the customer just wants to buy a product/service. The interaction initiation is left up to the customer, which is a big mistake. Unless you actively solicit feedback, customers will just think that the business owners are not interested in their opinions. Customers only initiate interaction if they are at the extreme ends of the product satisfaction bell curve, either unhappy with the product or extremely satisfied. To understand what the customers are actually thinking about your services, you need to take the first step. Customer opinions can be a potential gold mine of data and insight.

Make customer feedback a part of your overall marketing strategy and you will end up improving your day-to-day business and achieve long-term business success.

Need for Implementing Good Customer Feedback Methods
Every business wants loyal, happy customers. This goal can only be achieved if the customer believes that the business really cares about their needs. It is necessary to allocate proper resources and develop a customer feedback strategy.

People will respond to marketing messages that are not product-focused. Your intent of communication is to connect with the customer. Focus on the needs and satisfaction of the customer, sales will come later. Honest and regular customer feedback will help you

  • fine tune your marketing messages
  • increase ecommerce sales
  • increase their lifetime customer value (LCV)
  • make your business a lot more profitable
  • find out what customers’ don’t like
  • pinpoint problems

Traditional Customer Feedback Methods
These tools of gathering customer feedback have been around for decades before the advent of the web, businesses would rely on customer comment cards, and customer service helplines to gauge customer satisfaction.

Problems with traditional methods

  • The response rate is very low for telephone surveys.
  • Feedback often comes very late.
  • Untimely feedback is low-duality and not useful.
  • Instant communication is not possible.
  • Most customers consider paper comment cards tedious.

Most Common and Effective Methods for Customer Feedback
1. Customer Feedback Questionnaire

Customer surveys are an important tool and will help you gather valuable data. Keep in mind that you follow best practices when you design the survey.  The questionnaire must be short and simple. Follow these five steps to create a better feedback survey.

  • Think of a clear title and purpose for your survey.
  • Determine your targeted demographic.
  • Decide the exact questions you want answered.
  • Make the respondent’s task easier by offering pre-selected answers.
  • Be sure to include a thank you page.

A Few Great Online Survey Tools to Use:

2. Online Feedback Form
This feedback form is a short form (usually a pop-up or in a separate tab) that presents a specific question or allows a way to rate the website.

Automated Tools that you can take Advantage of:

3. Personal Emails
Get quality feedback by reaching out to people via email. This does not cost anything. Customize the email templates according to your target markets. The design and text of the email must be carefully composed. Keep your target demographic and business goals when preparing the emails.

A few things that will help you design a better email campaign:

  • Stick to a simple design
  • Do not include unnecessary headings or images
  • Use the Inverted Pyramid model
  • Use a high level of personalization
  • Tell people why you are gathering their input
  • Add a clear call to action
  • Focus on the user experience as a whole

4. Live Chat Systems
Live chat software has been known to increase conversion rates. Used effectively, it can become an integral promotional method. These give customers instant access to a support agent. Live chat systems are one of the quickest feedback methods.

Most software that implement these chat systems come with analytics. The data on your website, such as number of page views, source of the page views, the time spent on your website, are all analyzed and aggregated. The reports generated by analytical tools help you make important business decisions.

There are some excellent live chat systems available online, explore the ones on the list and find one that match your needs.

Some of the famous chat software solutions available on the internet are:

  • LivePerson – Used by large enterprises; integrates with Salesforce and Facebook
  • Comm100 – Highly customizable and flexible; integrates with Salesforce
  • BoldChat – Has both free and paid options; more scalable option
  • LiveHelpNow – A powerful solution that integrates with Google Adsense, Google Analytics, and Salesforce

Jessica Holmes is a content crafter at Crawford and O’Brien, a dental SEO company that provides search marketing practices at a world class level. She has been in the internet marketing industry for several years and can be found online tweeting about her writing or at home, hiking sunny Arizona trails. Follow her at @Jeskahblogs.