While customer feedback systems are commonplace for e-commerce companies, some are still not fully utilising it to their benefit.
Besides letting customer feedback collect dust on your company’s testimonials page (Psst, here’s how you can make your testimonials page work for you), you could use it to enhance customer satisfaction, gain incredible business insights, identify your customer advocates and in the process gain more customers!
Read on to find out how.
“Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves”
– Steve Jobs
While Jobs’ approach is ideal, it is perhaps a stride too wide to begin with. Take your first steps towards your customers by giving them an active voice, listening to them, responding and acting upon their recommendations. By injecting the voice of the customer into your business, you are making them a part of something bigger. The dialogue you share with your customers will ultimately become your driving force.
Here are 4 actionable ways to kickstart your customer feedback strategy.
1. Enhance your customer satisfaction level with customer feedback
At the end of the day, if you don’t have anyone using your product/service, you have no reason to operate. It is one thing to know your sales are skyrocketing, but it is another to understand why your customers are buying from you.
How do you find out? By asking and listening.
Asking your customers for feedback lets them know their opinion matters. By actively listening, you can uncover customer pain points you had no idea about!
Consider Buttercups, a luxury lingerie boutique that recently received a fresh round of funding from Snapdeal’s ex-CPO. Using the TrustedCompany review collection tool, Buttercups actively requests for feedback via customer reviews. By doing so, they were able to identify the poor customer service one of their branches was providing.
By obtaining more details from the customer, Buttercups were able to fix the situation and ensure no other customer experienced the same, increasing customer satisfaction in the process!
Not convinced? Boloco, an American chain of restaurants, covered by Forbes for their amazing customer feedback service, is always on the lookout for less-than-completely-satisfied feedback so they can step in and make things right for their customers.
What did they do when they received terrible feedback on their Twitter page? They turned that frown upside down!
If Boloco wasn’t actively listening to their customers, they might never have had the opportunity to turn the situation around.
“When a customer says they are dissatisfied, the company gets a chance to fix it and turn them into a more loyal customer.”
– Barry Moltz for American Express Open Forum
At the end of the day, if your customer leaves negative feedback, it is because they want you to do something about it. That’s an opportunity to step in, improve processes and turn unhappy customers into your happy promoters.
And we all know the value of customer loyalty – it increases customer retention and decreases costs as returning customers are 6 to 7 times cheaper than new ones!
You get the picture. Customer feedback helps enhance customer satisfaction. But how do you measure that? For starters, by using a feedback rating system that turns satisfaction into a measurable value you can monitor.
Take Lenskart, an online eyewear and eye accessories store that grew more than 200% year-on-year in the last two years, is keeping track of their customer satisfaction levels by using TrustedCompany’s feedback rating tool.
Having a score of 4 out of 5 from the 24,000 plus customer reviews collected gives Lenskart the assurance that they are definitely doing something right and keeping their customers happy.
What can you do now?
- Put your customers first. Actively engage with and listen to your customers. It gives you the chance to find out what’s on their mind, solving their problems and yours in the process.
- Automate customer feedback collection. Invest in collecting customer feedback on a timely and regular basis. The more automated the process, the better as you’ll be receiving fresh feedback on a regular basis. Our TrustedCompany tool provides many features and options for doing just that.
- Monitor and reply. Next, listen to your customers and let them know you hear them. Whether your customers are leaving feedback on a dedicated third party review website, your social media pages or even replying to your emails, always acknowledge and appreciate the time and effort they’ve undertaken. This lets them know you’re there and listening with both ears.
- Address pain points and introduce small (or big) delights. And lastly, act upon the feedback you receive. You may not be able to implement all the suggestions coming your way but the ones that make business sense to you should be taken into account immediately. It helps if you include a small token gift in there for your customers too.
2. Gain incredible insights with customer feedback
Which feature should you roll out next? How can you make sure that feature is needed and used by your customers? How should you communicate your product/service to your customer? How should you remodel your delivery service? Or your business processes entirely?
These questions and many more keep us awake at night. What should you do?
Instead of taking a shot in the dark, make smart decisions with real insights based off real data. And it doesn’t get more real than hearing directly from your customers.
Insights gained through customer feedback help you uncover customer trends, likes, dislikes and improvements they are looking for.
Before rolling out ‘Canva for Work’, Canva, the Sydney-based online graphic design platform which recently raised a new $15 million round of funding, asked its Facebook followers for feedback on features they would like to see in their yet to be released product to increase their own productivity.
This customer centric approach not only solidified Canva’s image as putting their customers first but also helped the company gain insights in the form of over 3000 comments! And we aren’t even counting the 750 likes and 30 shares – who would have thought a simple feedback request on Facebook could get such crazy engagement? Canva’s definitely got their customer feedback culture in the right place.
“It is important that we are focused on winning our own race and making sure that we are delivering a product that makes our customers happy,”
– Melanie Perkins, Canva Co-Founder
Let’s take another example. Everyone knows Instagram. But did you know we wouldn’t have Instagram now if it wasn’t for customer feedback? The hugely popular photo-sharing app started off as something entirely different, an app called Burbn. Users used Burbn to check into locations, tag friends and upload photos.
Burbn wasn’t getting much traction among users. By studying user feedback, Burbn was able to identify the one feature users were using the most: photo-sharing. And that is how Instagram was born.
“Over time what you do is you simply take in data about what your users are doing and you focus on the stuff that people love the most. The second we focused on the photos with the filters, it became a phenomenon.”
– Kevin Systrom, Instagram Co-Founder
Apart from helping you understand what new features to roll out, customer feedback also helps with identifying how to communicate those new features by letting you discover high-impact relevant keywords that resonate with your customers.
For example, when hoodies first became popular clothing, manufacturers and retailers used to call them ‘hooded sweatshirts’. Shoppers on the other hand were calling them ‘hoodies’ whenever they wrote customer reviews or searched online.
As time went by, retailers woke up to the keyword mismatch and switched to ‘hoodies’ in their product descriptions, sales copy, ads and the rest of their marketing content. Here’s where the importance of collecting feedback comes in: if these retailers hadn’t bothered spending as little as 5 minutes actually listening to their customers, today we would have no ‘hoodies’ to look for on a rainy day!
What can you do now?
- Cultivate a customer feedback culture. If you’re rolling out a new feature, proactively include your customers in the process! You don’t need to invest in a tool for this, start by making use of the current platforms available to you, just like Canva did.
- Track data. Once customers begin using your features, take a leaf out of Instagram’s book and actively monitor their behaviour. Engage with them by learning which feature resonates with their needs more and then improve on that.
- Learn their language. Listen to your customers and pay extra attention to the keywords used. This can help you understand how to better communicate with them and more importantly, how to attract their searches to your site.
- Maximize learnings. Thoroughly study the feedback you receive. Your aim is to look for insights and trends that help you improve your processes, product/service or marketing content.
3. Identify customer advocates with customer feedback
When your potential customers are validating your marketing claims by looking at what your other customers are saying about you, your customer advocates help tip the scale in your favour.
“Customer advocacy is a marketing term for a customer-focused strategy that encompasses all aspects of contact a company has with its customers, including experiences with products, services, sales, support and complaints.”
– Ross Beard for Client Heartbeat
Customers that love you are your best salespeople. These are the gems proclaiming their love on various platforms or giving you consistently high scores whenever you collect customer feedback.
What makes a customer advocate? It all starts with the experience.
“Customers are no longer buying products & services – they are buying experiences delivered via the products & services”.
– Gregory Yankelovich, CEO of CX-IQ
You may have a great product that users love but what makes a customer advocate is an experience that so exuberantly delights, they’ll want to tell everyone about it.
iTokri is an angel-funded and mentored start-up; it is an online store that brings together Indian design, arts & crafts brands. They go the extra mile with their customer experience by enclosing a special handwritten letter in their deliveries like this:
Doesn’t sound like much work, does it? Going that extra mile delights their consumers so, they want to tell the whole world about it using our TrustedCompany customer review platform.
Now imagine your potential customers coming across all of that celebratory feedback. And to think it all happened just because iTokri took the extra initiative in adding a personal touch to their deliveries!
Some take this extra mile to a different level just like Zappos, a company whose marketing strategy is customer experience and word-of-mouth. In 2009, Zappos was acquired by Amazon for US$928 million. Their success is largely attributed towards their reputation as a company with excellent customer service and staff doing whatever it takes to make customers happy.
“We take most of the money that we could have spent on paid advertising and instead put it back into the customer experience. Then we let the customers be our marketing.”
– Tony Hsieh, Founder and CEO of Zappos
Let’s take another example. Chick-fil-A is an American fast food restaurant that grows its revenue by 13% annually. Part of their success is attributed to a specific portion of their customers they term as “raving fans” which are essentially Chick-fil-A ambassadors. They make up 10-15% of Chick-fil-A’s entire customer base and are not afraid to take their reviews social.
These customer comments are absolute gold and a fantastic opportunity for Chick-fil-A to reach out to their advocates and start building relationships. With this particular post getting 5000 plus shares on Facebook alone, imagine all the marketing these advocates are already doing!
Keep in mind, customer advocates don’t just refer new customers, they are also valuable repeat customers.
What can you do now?
- Go that extra mile. Provide your customers with an exceptional customer experience. There’s no one size fits all approach here. Actively request for feedback and monitor that feedback to understand and enhance customer experiences. And then identify your advocates.
- Build relationships. Once you have your advocates identified, build relationships that will amplify their voice and get you that much closer to others just like them. For example, give your advocates early access to a new feature update, personally ask for their opinion on your product and ways to improve, or request for innovative inputs before you even put pen to paper.
By reaching out to and engaging with them on a consistent basis, you have a chance to build strong mutually-beneficial relationships.
4. And lastly, get more customers using customer feedback!
By increasing customer satisfaction, improving your product & processes, and getting that extra lift from your customer advocates, you’re on your way to the next big thing: getting more customers!
Displaying customer feedback at strategic points in the customer purchase journey helps you convert your potential customers by instilling trust and transparency of your business processes.
When other customers visit your website, featuring customer reviews is social proof that you engage with and truly care about your customers’ experience of your product/service. This experience is exactly what your potential customers are looking for. It is what differentiates you from your competitors.
Incorporating customer reviews on your website influences purchasing behaviour while your customers are right there at your doorstep. In fact site visitors who interact with both reviews and customer Q&As are 105% more likely to purchase while visiting, and spend 11% more than visitors who don’t interact with your user generated content. Once they are converted into a happy customer, you can be expecting 9 more coming your way!
What can you do now?
- Display your customer feedback. Put your customer feedback out there for all of your potential customers to see! Whether that’s on your website, social media pages or any of your communication materials. Let everyone know that your customers matter to you and you’re willing to go that extra mile for them.
- Get your reviews verified. 89% of consumers search online before purchasing a product. Create a trusted and transparent source of information for them by investing in a third party review platform.
Keep in mind, when you’re acting upon what your customer want you to do, you are fulfilling theirs and potentially many other customers’ needs.
Wrapping things up…
Customers want to know that you not only care about their opinion but that it can make a difference to your business.
“By responding to customers’ feedback and feature requests, we show that we are listening to them and that we value them as our customers. This helps strengthen customer loyalty.”
– Alfred Lua for Kayako
Push your business forward by having a fierce commitment to collecting, listening, responding to, and implementing upon your customer feedback. By acting on the feedback you receive, you are essentially acting upon your customers’ needs. You can’t go wrong with that.
After all, Apple did not invent the laptop or portable music devices. They listened to their customers, acted upon their needs, made the same products simpler and easier to use. And that made all the difference.
Start listening to your customers by filling out the form below and making your difference.