8 Smart Ways to Collect Customer Feedback

customer-feedback

Customers are a business’s top priority. If you do not meet your customer’s needs or make them happy, they will likely buy from the competition, jeopardizing the success of your brand. For this reason, it is critical to determine whether or not your business is delivering what your target customers want, and the best way to do this is by collecting feedback. Customer feedback can help you improve your products and services, gauge satisfaction, make existing clients feel special, retain clients, and improve your brand image.

According to a recent report, 77% of consumers develop a positive view of a brand that asks for and accepts client feedback. If you are wondering how customers feel about your products and services or what they want, here are eight strategies to collect customer feedback to help you find out.

1. Social media listening

Customers no longer view social media platforms as a place for entertainment only. They will likely share their experiences and thoughts on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter, whether bad or good. Potential customers even ask their peers on social media about specific brands or products before deciding to buy. This makes social media an excellent place to determine what people say about your brand and even gain helpful insights about misunderstandings, concerns, and questions your target audience could have about your services and products.

Read comments on your social media pages and respond to customer concerns, join relevant discussions or even start one, pay more attention to threads on conversations your target customers often engage in or post polls and surveys to get feedback. Be sure to invest in tools like Social Mention, HootSuite, and Klout to determine what people are saying about your brand or products and services in real-time.

2. Provide email support

Although email is an old form of digital communication, most customers prefer emailing when doing business. According to a recent report, 29% of online users love emailing because they can write detailed messages and even incorporate pictures. To prompt your customers to provide feedback, you should:

  • Develop clear expectations: A customer may be hesitant to give feedback because they may assume that you do not care or they will not hear from you. For this reason, you should consider providing an exact timeline on when you intend to get back to them. For instance, you could add a “we will get back to you in X days” in your email.
  • Organize email feedback: Teach employees how to manage Gmail multiple inboxes if your team often monitors more than one Gmail inbox to reduce the chances of helpful input from clients going unnoticed.
  • Send personalized emails

3. Offer incentives to encourage survey participation

Customer surveys are an excellent strategy to gain critical insights into your products and services, customer service, and marketing. However, it can be challenging to get individuals to take the surveys. Consider offering incentives when distributing surveys in exchange for the effort and time required to complete a survey. This broadens the pool of participants and encourages them to provide honest feedback and opinion. Be sure to compare the survey results to previous feedback and current and future goals and make the necessary adjustments to improve your product, customer support services, and marketing.

4. Utilize the Net Promoter Score

customer-feedback

While surveys can give detailed feedback about your products and services, most clients find them too overwhelming and time-consuming and will likely bail out of them. A fast and effective way to determine how customers feel about your brand is using the Net Promoter Score (NPS).

NPS is a client satisfaction benchmark that gauges how likely an existing client is to recommend your products and services to family, friends, and acquaintances. The response scale ranges from zero to 10, with zero being not likely and 10 most likely. You could then average the responses across the clientele to develop a clear picture of how customers feel about your products. 

5. Provide live chat support for customer feedback

Offering live chat support does not only help you keep customers coming back and improve conversion rates. It also encourages buying customers to leave feedback. Customers often use the live chat feature to share complaints and grievances, find solutions to their queries, and seek assistance.

The questions or grievances shared are feedback, and you can exploit the information to improve your company’s products and services. Live chat support also enables you to provide solutions to client problems quickly. However, ensure you use live chat software that allows you to save transcripts for feedback review.

6. Text clients immediately after a purchase or service

Be sure to invest in feedback software to allow you to send text surveys immediately after a client purchases from you. This enables you to obtain feedback in real-time. It also allows you to respond to an unsatisfied client promptly and develop a strategy to remedy the problem, increasing the chances of the client purchasing from you again. According to a recent report, 70% of consumers will likely buy from you when their problems are resolved.

7. Call your customers

An effective way to obtain feedback, especially when your job mainly involves speaking to clients over the phone, is calling them. This enables you to get real-time personalized responses. Speaking to a client directly over the phone is also an excellent opportunity to invite them to participate in a satisfaction survey.

However, you need to be careful when contacting clients over the phone. Avoid calling clients during lunch breaks. Recent reports show that the best times to get clients are 8 am to 9 am and 4 pm to 5 pm. You should also have a perfect script when calling them. Be sure to show genuine concern and avoid marketing or trying to close a deal. Ensure your call is centered around gathering feedback while showing the customer that you care and value their opinion.

8. Use customer feedback buttons

Make capturing customer feedback simple and quick by placing clickable feedback buttons strategically on your website or at the end of service chats. For instance, you could use a smiley face emoji button to survey existing customers, prospects, and site visitors as they navigate through your website to get feedback on an experience you are creating. 

Endnote on Customer Feedback

Producing quality products and amping your marketing strategy to attract more customers is not enough. You should further determine whether your products meet your audience’s needs and where to make adjustments to achieve your bottom line through customer feedback. Use NPS and feedback buttons, provide email and live chat support, offer incentives for survey participation, and contact clients via phone to capture customer feedback.

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When is it Time for SMBs to Expand Their C-Suite?

c-suite

Growing small businesses face no shortage of hurdles as they seek to expand their footprint and capture market share. The bigger they become, the more challenges they face. Eventually, there comes a time when entrepreneurs and small teams need to look outside for help and consider bringing on executive leadership capable of putting them back on the path to prosperity. But how do you know when that time arrives? How can SMBs truly be certain that expanding their C-suite is the right move? Here’s a look at some of the clear-cut situations where hiring executive leadership will pay dividends for a growing business. 

1. When growth demands informed stewardship 

Companies operate within the world around them. Changes in the world often necessitate changes in a company’s C-suite, especially if it wants to remain competitive in the market. For instance, technological advances continue to revolutionize how businesses operate and interact with their customers. Growing businesses must stay at the forefront of digital technology, increasing the need for C-suite executives who specialize in data analysis and IT support. 

Unforeseen circumstances make it necessary to create new roles in a company’s C-suite. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, executive leaders are prioritizing public health and safety now more than ever before. Keeping employees and customers safe requires specialized knowledge that lies beyond the skill sets of traditional C-suite roles. Since the pandemic began, companies have started recruiting Risk Management Officers and Chief Health, Wellness and Safety Officers. Expanding their C-suites helps SMBs respond appropriately to what’s happening in the world. 

2. When challenges prevent you from growing 

Your team might have decided it’s time to grow, but expanding a small business is easier said than done. Taking your business to the next level often comes with challenges you’ve never encountered before. You and the team probably won’t know how to tackle them, especially if you’re new to business ownership or are trying to expand into an unfamiliar market. Addressing obstacles on your own uses up time and energy that’s better suited elsewhere, and you’ll end up focusing on problems rather than the company’s growth. 

When you’re ready to expand, consider adding a business expert to your C-suite. These long-tenured executives bring many years of experience to the table. No matter which obstacle you face, a business expert has most likely encountered and overcome that obstacle in the past. They draw upon previous experiences to help you plow through common SMB challenges and make your vision for the business a reality. 

3. When you need to refocus company culture 

c-suite

Growth brings new opportunities for your business, but it can also bring an unexpected shift in company culture. As your business gets bigger, it becomes harder to keep the culture consistent among employees, managers and team leaders. This is especially true if company growth involves hiring new personnel to run separate locations. There has to be someone at the top regulating behavior, expectations and core values up and down the hierarchy. 

Replicate company culture on a larger scale by adding leadership to your executive team. The people in charge define how others should act, from fellow executives all the way down to workers in manufacturing facilities. Company culture will change with growth, and it’s up to executive leaders to decide what the new culture will look like. When company culture takes on a life of its own, strong leadership can bring it back into focus. 

4. When the company expands its breadth 

A small business owner can’t be everywhere at once. The more offices you open and more business lines you prop up, the more difficult it gets to oversee the company’s entire operations. Owners who try to run everything themselves are spread too thin, and each branch can’t get the adequate leadership they need to run smoothly. Upon expanding your business, you’ll quickly realize operating multiple locations is a job for more than one person. 

Expand into new markets with confidence by hiring additional members for your executive team. These team members serve as an extension of the core C-suite by overseeing offices and business units across your various areas of exposure. Adding executives to the C-suite allows you to scale your business indefinitely. It can be hard to relinquish control over part of your business, but expanding the team is crucial for supporting company growth. 

5. When workforce growth demands leadership 

Business owners have to balance the worker-to-leader ratio. As your company gets bigger, you’ll need to hire more employees to meet growing demand for your products or services. Leaders can only manage a certain number of people, which means if you’re hiring more employees, you need to hire more leaders. Workers rely on their superiors for guidance, and managers can’t provide that support when they’re pulled in every direction. 

Expanding your C-suite makes it possible to manage a growing number of employees. By adding more executives to the team, each leader can better manage their respective sectors of the workforce, delegating to mid-level management and core business unit leaders. Bringing in more leaders will also reinforce the hierarchy of your business, which becomes even more important as you expand your operations. 

6. When new talent will help unlock opportunities 

Adding executives to your C-suite can only spell good news for your growing business. You need more people to operate more locations, but executives provide more than just extra manpower. High-level executives bring decades’ worth of experience to a small business owner who’s looking to play with the big competitors in their industry. They offer a range of expertise that will set you apart from other startups and spur growth well into the future.

If you’re looking to grow your business, expanding your C-suite is a step in the right direction. Executives offer guidance, overcome challenges and bring a wealth of knowledge to your team. They serve a multitude of different purposes, and you’re sure to find one that can help you tap into your company’s full potential.

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