Five Useful Ways to Gather Customer Feedback

We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve.” – Bill Gates

5 WAYS TO GET USEFUL CUSTOMER FEEDBACK YBKBS MAGAZINE
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By Jess Dixon

Most of us understand the value of customer feedback to our businesses. Without it, we don’t get those valuable insights into how we’re doing that allow us to grow, adapt, and improve.

But if you’ve never proactively done it before, you might be wondering the best ways to gather customer feedback.

Here are five practical and easy methods that small business owners can use.

Create a Feedback Form

This is the main way that I do it. Because the main way I utilise my clients’ feedback is in the form of testimonials on my website, receiving the feedback in easily digestible written form is really useful. It also gives me a record of their consent to be quoted, either by name or anonymously.

You can create a simple form using Google Forms and then share it by email and social media. It’s free and it takes less than 10 minutes. Here’s mine for inspiration:

A simple Google Form for a freelancer to gather customer feedback
Google Reviews

If you haven’t claimed your Google My Business page yet, go and check out my handy guide and get that set up before we go any further.

Once you’ve got your Google My Business page, create a short business name and URL to request reviews from customers. You can then share this link on your social media, add it to your email signature, make sure it is prominently displayed on your website, and even print it on your business cards.

Google Reviews are one of the most trusted sources for consumers and potential clients. 84% of consumers trust online reviews as much as recommendations from friends, according to Inc., and Google Reviews is often the first place those prospective customers will look.

There’s another added bonus, too: gathering just a few positive Google Reviews positively impacts your SEO, helping you to rank higher in search results. Marketer and author Brodie Tyler reported that a business appearing in the top 3 results for a local search had on average 7.62 reviews.

Just Ask!

This is probably the most under-utilised method of gathering feedback, but it’s so, so useful! Want to know what someone thinks? Just ask them.

When you’ve been working with a client for a while (or a customer has had your product for a while,) reach out to them directly using whatever method you normally use to communicate.

Just say something like this: “I’m seeking some feedback on [my work/the product/our customer experience/delete as appropriate]. I wonder if you had any thoughts you’d be willing to share on anything that is working well and anything I could improve?”

If you have this conversation verbally rather than in writing, make notes so you remember what they said.

Social Media

Social media is a goldmine of potential candid customer feedback, and there are a number of ways to use it.

The easiest way is just to put up a post asking for customer feedback. You could link to your testimonials form or Google Reviews page, or ask people to drop their feedback directly into the comments. Another option is to use polls. For example, on Twitter you can run a poll with up to 4 multiple-choice options. Here’s how tech giant IBM used a Twitter poll to ascertain what type of content their audience values:

And on Instagram Stories, you can run a this-or-that poll with 2 options, or a sliding poll where respondents move the slider to a particular point to indicate their response. Here are a couple of ways companies have used these tricks to gather customer feedback:

Be aware, though, that anything said on social media is by definition public. So you might only want to poll your customer base publicly if you’re reasonably sure you’ll get a positive response!

Run a Survey with an Incentive

If you want to get more in-depth and hear what your customers think on a number of different points related to your business, it might be time to use a more in-depth survey to gather customer feedback. You can create your survey using a tool like SurveyMonkey or TypeForm, and then disseminate it to your customers using your email marketing list and social media.

Since filling in a lengthy survey takes time, I recommend offering an incentive to those who take the time. You could offer a generous discount code on their next purchase, a freebie such as access to premium content, or enter everyone who completes the survey into a prize draw (the prize should be something anyone can use – an Amazon gift card is a popular choice.)

Here’s how cafe and restaurant The Stage did it:

A survey with incentive to gather customer feedback from restaurant The Stage

Different businesses will find that different techniques of gathering feedback work for them. Don’t be afraid to try a few different things and see what yields the most useful responses.

What useful methods of collecting feedback have worked for your business?

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