How to use customer feedback to grow your business

We always ask what we can do for our customers but do we ever think what our customers can do for us? Turn the tables with our top tips on collecting and using feedback to grow your business!

It is a truth universally acknowledged that customers are the essential ingredient for any business’ success. They’re the ones buying products and purchasing services, they’re the faces behind follower counts and the names behind sales targets. When we spend big on marking, advertising and PR, we’re really spending big on customers; trying to win them, keep them and tell them why our brand is right for them. But with so much focus on what we can do for our customers, we often forget to question what they can do for us.

Every single customer’s experience can help us grow our presence and expand our market. The way they see our brand, think of our brand and interact with our brand can help us learn what improvements we can make and how we can attract new customers to our business. By using feedback and analysing experiences, we can use our customers to grow our business!

 

THE SECRET ABOUT COMPLAINTS

Chances are you’ve already been using customer responses to help make your business more appealing. Like any business, you’ve probably received your fair share of complaints and dealt with the odd difficult client or two (two hundred if we’re being brutally honest!). You know that these people force you to take notice, they tell you exactly what went wrong, and can even give you a break down on how they want you to fix it. While you have to take some complaints with a grain of salt, others bring up valid points and allow you to make your business more user-friendly.

HOWEVER, for every customer that complains, 26 others remain silent and this is where the difficulty lies. These people won’t speak up, they won’t clog your inbox or shout at your staff. But they will take their business elsewhere, building up your competitors while you sit thinking what went wrong. If you’re committed to growing your business, it’s time to get serious about the silent majority and crack the code to find out what they’re really thinking!

Ok… tell me how!

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The magic word here is feedback. You want to know the nitty gritty of what’s going on in your customer’s mind – the good, the bad and the ugly! But how can you go about it if the majority keep quiet? Here are our top 3 tips:

1.  CALLING  While cold calling is enough to strike fear into the best of us, phone conversations remain one of the best ways to get on your customer’s wavelength. For starters, it puts them in contact with a real person, and considering that 67% of customers hang up if they’re talking to a robot, this already gets you off on the right foot. Beyond this, phone conversations invite open dialogue; you can ask questions and hear complaints, resolving issues and working on solutions in real time.

2.  LIVE CHAT – Live chats are our favourite new thing in e-commerce. If you haven’t come across them, they’re little toolbars at the bottom of any given screen that let customers chat with a customer service rep. In a world where we want answers quickly, getting instant responses is nothing short of a godsend. You can find out product dimensions, ask sizing advice, receive technical support and solve pretty much any content-related problem under the sun. Having this function is quickly becoming the norm for e-commerce, it solidifies the connection between customer and business, encourages the silent majority to get involved and helps stop issues spiralling out of control.

3.  ABANDON CART POP-UP – Although this won’t apply for every business out there, it is a must-have for e-commerce sites. The “abandon cart pop-up” is basically a message that appears when a customer empties their cart or attempts to leave the page mid-checkout. The pop-up will simply ask why they made the decision to empty their cart. Give your customer a few options to select from: are they leaving because of the price, a lack of product information, difficulty navigating the website or a different reason altogether? This will give you an insight into the customer experience that you’d otherwise never know!

 

ARE THERE THINGS PEOPLE WON’T TELL ME?

The short answer here is “yes”. Unless you want feedback that’s comprehensive enough to rival War and Peace, there’ll always be bits that are left out. To fill in these gaps, you need to learn how to read between the lines, to interpret data and make inferences…

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MONITOR ENGAGEMENT RATES – We can’t tell you the number of times an EDM has popped into our inboxes only to be instantly deleted. For most of these occurrences, we’ve quickly read the subject line and made a split second decision on whether or not we’re interested. It happens so fast and with so little conscious thought that most of us would never think to give that feedback to the brands in question. Same goes for “liking” Instagram posts and clicking-through to related content on a webpage. Because of this, brands need to become experts at recording and interpreting engagement data. You want to know how many people are responding to your posts and opening your EDMs. What are your CTRs and how long are people spending on your pages. If you’re experiencing declines in any of these areas, look at shaking things up with new approaches to headlines, copy and images.

CUSTOMER TESTING – Customer testing refers to the process of testing a website to ensure it is user-friendly. This can be done using actual customers or by looking at your site from the perspective of a customer. You’re essentially looking at how your website looks and how it is used. You want to ask questions about what the load times are, how the site appears on different browsers and how easy (or difficult) it is to navigate, find information and ask for help. Customer testing helps you explore if there is something your website is missing, or if there are things that can be improved, added or taken away. Having a beautiful, functioning website isn’t just important for customer experience, but it also impacts your SEO – which is a contributing factor to customers finding your brand in the first place!

FAQ – It is now relatively common for websites to feature FAQs (frequently asked questions) on their page. These will generally answer common queries including shipping costs, time and returns process. Having a comprehensive FAQ section allows customers to quickly find the answers to their questions and get on with their experience. If you are receiving a high volume of direct queries, this could be a sign that your FAQ needs work or your page the information required to make a purchase. Look for patterns in what people are asking and consider what you can add to your FAQ so that their questions are answered and their experience isn’t put on hold while they wait for a response from your team.

 

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Looking for more on how to improve customer experience and grow your business? Check out our article on nailing customer service!

Images: Mansur Garviel (Banner); Telling secrets by Michal Pudelka; Chanel runway via Pinterest.