Customer FeedbackCustomer feedback is crucial towards your business’ success, but getting it can often be a challenge. It’s clear why this is the case – customers innately don’t want to review your product. For this reason, you need to incentivize customer feedback.

There are a number of reasons why customers are not eager to review businesses. For one, many feel that their opinion does not hold any weight. Others may not like complimenting or complaining, or they may think that it requires too much work. However, these are ways to elicit feedback and reviews from your customers.

Ask!

The best way to elicit feedback is to simply ask your customers for it. We often see this at restaurants, but it works just as well in other industries. Showing that you’re open to feedback immediately shows customers that you are committed to ensuring their satisfaction, and it hints at the fact that you are looking to constantly improve.

Email

Be sure to collect customer email addresses whenever possible. 57% of small businesses are actively trying to grow their email contact list “at all times”, as a thorough email list is a great way to source customer feedback. Maintaining your email list will allow you to gather candid feedback from your customers (as they may be willing to be more honest via a less direct medium).

Ensure a Response

Regardless of what medium customers use to submit feedback (online or in person), make sure they know you will reply quickly. A study done by a consumer experience research group noted that 43% of consumers don’t leave feedback because they don’t think the business cares. However, of this 43%, 81% said they would leave feedback if they were guaranteed a fast response. Customers want to know that their feedback led directly to a tangible result, and a fast response signals just that.

Customer Surveys

Especially if you’ve been collecting customer email addresses, surveys are a great way to efficiently gather a wide range of feedback. A survey will yield quick analyzable results that give you a holistic view of where you can improve. Google Docs or SurveyMonkey are great options for small businesses on a budget.

Become a Customer

It’s easy to focus on your business from an exclusively managerial standpoint and lose touch with a customer’s perspective. Interact with your business in the same way that a customer would to see first-hand how the customer journey can be improved. With an objective approach, this method can allow you to simply remedy problem areas.

Monitor Online Reviews

Online review websites such as G+ and Yelp are crucial to how your business is perceived. Positive and negative online reviews offer valuable windows for improvement – they can even be used to ask for more feedback. For instance, if you see a negative online review, directly reach out to that customer for further suggestions.

When to Ask

With these strategies in mind, execution is the next step, so knowing when to ask for feedback is a valuable skill. There are proper times to ask for feedback. For instance, ask for feedback within 24-48 hours of customers interacting with your business so they still best remember their interaction. Depending on their feedback, it may also make sense to ask for an online review. Ultimately, properly managing and collecting customer feedback will improve operations and show customers that you are committed to them.