You’ve heard it before: Customer feedback is a gift. It’s given to you from your most-valuable business asset, your customers. As HubSpot advises, if you never ask for customer feedback, you’ll never understand what drives customer satisfaction. And, if you don’t know what drives satisfied customers, you can’t create customer loyalty.
Why is Customer Feedback So Invaluable?
If the HubSpot advice wasn’t enough to convince you, think of it this way: When you run a B2B company, you need feedback from customers to meet your business and marketing goals. (True for any company.) Social proof is the value in customer feedback, as potential customers, as well as current customers, want to see that you do what you say. Feedback goes far beyond just opinion.
It’s testimony that your products and company were there for customers—or not—however they perceive it. This is particularly true if you have an eCommerce site, as brick-and-mortar businesses still have the luxury of face-to-face communication and interaction with customers. eCommerce businesses must learn how best to gather and assess customer feelings about their experiences without that personal exchange. What’s at risk if you disregard customer feedback?
“Many companies take advantage of their audiences by ignoring their feedback and continuing their processes as usual. All this does is shows consumers how little [a company] cares about their concerns. As a result, they’ll turn to competitors to get what they want,” according to a Forbes article on customer feedback.
That’s it in a nutshell. Customers provide feedback to reinforce good things your business does and call attention to missteps. If your company fails to hear and assess customer feedback, that’s a guaranteed welcome mat for your competitors (unless you’re a monopoly).
Although feedback—good or bad—can be productive for improving business and marketing for a company, it’s better to categorize it and seek it.
What Types of Customer Feedback Should You Consider?
Let’s start with the feedback you’ll need to directly ask for from your customers. Demographic information isn’t usually what customers lead with when they praise a company, or challenge it, but demographic, including geo-demographics, can help provide insight into where and how you position your products. You must ask for it through post-purchase or post-service surveys, or via pop-up forms on your website.
Customer preference feedback asks for what products or services your customers prefer. Sometimes it’s your parallel products or services, sometimes it’s your competitors’. But you need to ask, as your customer responses can help you position or highlight your products and better message your customers.
HubSpot suggests you collect this feedback by “browsing online forums and monitoring purchase activity and trends,” as well as conducting focus groups (if you have the resources or support of a marketing group).
Customer satisfaction feedback is exactly what it sounds like. It monitors customer satisfaction and examines levels of satisfaction with your products, services and brand. You don’t always need to ask directly for this feedback, as this is the type most likely given freely (sometimes to your surprise). It can demonstrate what HubSpot calls “functional metrics,” which are how something was used and its success or failure within that function, or “emotional metrics,” which illustrates how your customers feel about an interaction or product. This feedback can come via comment boxes, social media comments (monitor them!) and post-purchase queries, such as brief surveys.
Customer satisfaction is closely connected to customer loyalty metrics, which tell you how loyal your customers are to your brand—how they feel about it—and whether they can get behind promoted or advocating for it. You can collect customer loyalty metrics through Net Promoter ScoreÒ (NPS) surveys and similar measures, according to HubSpot. A Net Promoter Score, or NPS®, just indicates if your customer is likely to recommend your company to someone else. It uses one Likert Scale question to start, such as “On a scale of one to 10, how likely are you to recommend this product or service?” Then you add an open-ended area below for participants to explain their responses and categorize them according to their scores. Detractors have 0-6 scores; Passives have 7-8 scores and Promoters are in the 9-10 group.
According to HubSpot, disregard the Passives, subtract the percentage of Detractor responses from the percentage of Promoter responses and determine your Net Promoter Score, which can range from -100 to 100.
“The benefit of an NPS is that it provides both quantitative and qualitative data about your customers. Not only does it ask participants to rate their experience on a numeric scale, but it also asks them to provide an explanation for their score. That way, your business can analyze feedback based on the scores, then examine the customer experiences if you come across abnormal or outlying results,” according to HubSpot.
Avoid relying totally on customer loyalty metrics, though. We all have customer satisfaction, NPS and churn in our brains and on our customer dashboard, but these numbers are made to be at-a-glance simple, reductionistic and summative. Yes, they can be tracked, but they don’t advise you what to do through time. Panic if the numbers go down? Rest easy if the numbers go up?
According to a Forbes article on customer loyalty, these three numbers are “deliberately simplified, aggregated, made comparable and tracked over time to provide an at-a-glance guide to how a brand is doing, enabling you to focus on other things. They don’t tell you what to do next, because you don’t really want to do anything next.”
Ugh. Have a plan on how to deal with any downtick in loyalty metrics.
Customer service or support feedback usually revolves around the experience with people (or automated systems). Whether positive or negative, users express their genuine opinions and concerns so other customers can make their own decisions. While it’s helpful to other customers, it’s also beneficial for you.
You can take what customers say and use it to improve how you deal with complaints, compliments or issues. Pay attention to recurring comments or grievances so you can get address them. Assess what didn’t work for customers and what suggestions they make. The more information you collect, the easier it’ll be to refine your products and give them what they want.
The 5 Tools We Like and Why
Useful tools for collecting customer feedback are everywhere, but each has at least one feature that makes it stand out for us. These are some top tools for collecting customer feedback, for different needs and price ranges.
This tool from Broadly makes it super easy to collect customer feedback and reviews, through various platforms of your customer’s choice. Whether it’s Google, Facebook, Yelp, TripAdvisor, or other review platforms, Broadly will send emails or text to your customers asking for their experience, and the customer’s review is automatically published.
Broadly also offers valuable services, such as real-time feedback, embedding 4 and 5-star reviews directly on your website, and a convenient dashboard to track your statistics. Other services from Broadly include putting live web chat on your website, so you can immediately correspond with customers, and customer leads generation. Broadly is a rather broad tool for marketing your business, as well as collecting customer feedback.
Qualaroo has some big brand name companies on its résumé, including Burger King, Hertz, Starbucks, and Groupon. But Qualaroo can also help small businesses improve their conversion rates with affordable pricing options.
Qualaroo is specifically a survey software that allows you to create forms and pose surveys to your website visitors. You have multiple survey formats to choose from, including 2-Minute Setup, Target Questions, or Skip Logic. You can ask highly specific questions that depend on the visitor’s behavior on your website, and even tailor the surveys to be so precise that a visitor won’t get the same survey twice. What makes Qualaroo one of the most in-depth survey tools for collecting customer feedback is its options. Pricing starts at $99 per month and there’s a 14-day free trial you can use to start.
This tool has a visually appealing user interface and some relevant customization options for your surveys. You can add images, custom fonts and text colors to spice up your survey pages and tailor them to your brand.
GetFeedback has been compared to having a conversation with customers, rather than just throwing a survey at them. The survey is sent in a “thank you” email, and you receive their feedback. You can also set up website surveys, or other customer service channels. GetFeedback has several built-in survey templates, for things such as collecting CSAT (customer satisfaction), Net Promoter score, employee engagement, product research, along with being able to customize your own surveys.
Pricing starts at $50 per month for the basic platform. The advanced package for larger teams with multiple users goes up to around $150 per month.
CustomerSure is an email-based survey tool and survey feedback is collected into an easily navigable dashboard. Beyond that, you can also embed a CustomerSure widget directly on your website for direct feedback, and there are additional features such as Reviews and HelpDesk, which make CustomerSure a nice all-around product with features beyond just customer surveys.
Pricing starts at $49 per month. As a free trial, you get one survey and unlimited responses.
Reevoo has a simple slogan – “Customers convincing customers. That’s not marketing. That’s life.”
Reevoo takes the approach of getting reviews from their clients’ customers and doing numerous things beforehand to verify the customers they approach. Basically, Reevoo is an effective product for leaving the survey and customer feedback collection to a third-party company, which specializes in doing exactly those things. Reevoo also promotes the credibility of third-party involvement on its website: “49% of people who saw customer opinions collected by a third party in an ad campaign would be more likely to buy.”
Reevoo will verify customer purchases and ask the customer questions about their purchase experience and service received and give you the results. As particularly notable feature is that Reevoo will quickly notify you when it receives negative reviews, giving you speedy response time to address the customer complaint.
There’s no standard pricing plan for Reevoo, i.e., a monthly subscription. Your payment to Reevoo depends on how much feedback the company can collect for you.
Several customer feedback tools are available on the market. Like anything, we’d recommend you do your own research and test-drive a few different tools before deciding on one that suits your distinct business needs. Customer feedback is an important part of your business development, but it’s time-consuming to manually collect feedback. You can automate the process using one of these tools.
Other information about customer feedback that you might find useful can be found on HubSpot’s Complete Guide to Customer Feedback.
Customer feedback is important because it helps you understand what drives customer satisfaction and create customer loyalty. It provides valuable insight into how your products and company perform for customers and can help you improve your business and marketing.
There are several types of customer feedback to consider, including demographic information, customer preference, customer satisfaction, and customer loyalty metrics. Each type of feedback can provide different insights into your customers and their experiences with your brand.
You can collect customer feedback through various methods, such as post-purchase or post-service surveys, pop-up forms on your website, online forums, monitoring purchase activity and trends, conducting focus groups, comment boxes, social media comments, and Net Promoter Score surveys.
Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a customer loyalty metric that measures how likely your customers are to recommend your company to someone else. It uses one Likert Scale question to start, such as “On a scale of one to 10, how likely are you to recommend this product or service?” Then you add an open-ended area below for participants to explain their responses and categorize them according to their scores. Detractors have 0-6 scores; Passives have 7-8 scores and Promoters are in the 9-10 group.
Some useful tools for collecting customer feedback include Broadly, Qualaroo, GetFeedback, CustomerSure, and Reevoo. Each tool has unique features and pricing options, so it’s important to do your research and test-drive different tools to find the one that suits your business needs.
You can use customer feedback to improve your business by analyzing the feedback you receive, identifying recurring comments or grievances, addressing issues, refining your products, and giving customers what they want. Customer feedback can provide valuable insights into how to better serve your customers and improve their overall experience with your brand.
Conclusion: The Importance of Customer Feedback for Business Success
In conclusion, customer feedback is a valuable tool that can provide crucial insights into what drives customer satisfaction and loyalty. By categorizing and seeking different types of feedback, businesses can better understand their customers and improve their products and services.
Tools like Broadly, Qualaroo, GetFeedback, CustomerSure, and Reevoo can help automate the process of collecting feedback and save time for businesses. By analyzing and utilizing customer feedback, businesses can improve their overall customer experience and position themselves for success in the marketplace.