Why Customer Feedback Matters

We all know that customer satisfaction is the key to a successful business. But where does that satisfaction come from? What inspires your customers to continue doing business with you? Several studies have shown that the simple act of asking for customer feedback, whether or not customers actually respond, is enough to create a more lasting relationship between brand and customer.

 If showing your customers that they matter isn’t enough reason to collect feedback, here are a few more:

 Knowing what your customers like and don’t like, whether related to your product tangentially or directly, is extremely informative.

  • Hearing from customers helps you see your company objectively.
  • Candid feedback helps you learn market trends.
  • Using customer feedback can lead to actual change and improvements with your product.

 Now that you’re ready to collect customer feedback, it’s time to ask the important question: How? Here are some of the most effective ways to gather your customers’ thoughts.

 Long form survey. This is a classic form of research, but that’s because it works. Many experts recommend keeping surveys at 10 questions or less to maximize attention.

 Welcome email. Ask new customers for their opinions, or what they are hoping for, right as they join your service or purchase your product. Your customers will immediately feel appreciated.

 In-app (or website) live chat. Solicit feedback through any number of live-chat widgets.

 Phone calls. It’s old school, but having a real conversation with a customer can be priceless. This isn’t a great avenue to reach a massive group, but is effective for getting a smaller amount of pointed data.

 Open forums. Show customers that you are always listening: Create something akin to a suggestion board to encourage open-ended customer feedback.

 At a startup company looking for product-market fit, I had great success using chat as a form of customer feedback. I recruited 10 customers to participate in a Facebook group to learn whether groups would be a better format for our product than individual offerings. Having the ability to ask questions and see feedback instantly was satisfying for both the product and marketing teams, and provided us with a rich set of data.

 Once you know why customer feedback is important, and how to get it, you need to figure out what to do with this data.

 Identify areas of improvement. There is no doubt that your users will come up with some interesting ideas or changes you have not thought of; take these changes and incorporate them into your roadmap. You can also evaluate negative feedback and hold on to customers you might otherwise lose by implementing some of their suggested changes.

 Carve out your place in the market. Looking at feedback can cement which vertical your product or service really belongs in. You’ll begin to see where your happiest customers are and can work on continuing to strengthen those connections.

 Share feedback throughout your company. Share customer feedback with everyone from top to bottom. Customer feedback can energize your entire staff. You can even frame negative feedback in a way that is a learning experience and a tool for development.

 Discover brand ambassadors. Your happiest customers could double as brand advocates; get them even more excited about your product and have them start spreading the word to friends and colleagues through an ambassador program.

 After collecting data from our Facebook group, we learned that our product was stickier and more meaningful to people engaged in a group dynamic. So we pivoted the startup company from an individual offering into a class-based offering.

 There are endless insights to gain from collecting and analyzing customer feedback; to miss these opportunities is to miss a huge way to grow your business.

Rachel Krug

Rachel Krug

Rachel Krug has led product and marketing for technology startups, established technology companies and turnarounds. Her specialties include growth strategy, product innovation and advanced data analytics. Rachel is director of product marketing at Right Networks, a cloud-enabling accounting desktop and legacy software company in Hudson, NH. Want to chat more about the importance of customer feedback? Message Rachel on LinkedIn or Twitter.

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