Soliciting Online Customer Feedback

ChecklistWhen soliciting feedback from customers or potential customers online, use these handy tips to maximize your effectiveness.

 

Use Efficient Tools

Neither you nor your respondents have all day to figure out a complicated system or complex survey. Use easy-to-manage tools. Looking for online survey or polling tools try: Survey Monkey, FormVote, or MoboSurvey.

 

Know Your Goal(s)

The golden rule when starting any project is to know what you are trying to achieve. Before you write your first question, understand the type of feedback are you soliciting. Are you looking for:

  • Post-purchase product feedback
  • Pre-purchase feedback
  • Customer service feedback
  • General feedback
  • Ideation feedback
  • Other

 

K-I-S-S

Keep It Simple Silly! Now that you know your goals, don’t overwhelm your respondent with a questionnaire the size of a James Michener novel. Keep focused and only ask relevant questions. Of your relevant questions, think twice before requiring a question. Ask yourself, “Would I give up a respondent if they didn’t answer this question?” If the answer is, “No,” don’t make it required.

 

Ask Good Questions

There are hundreds, possibly thousands, of articles written on how to write a good questionnaire and what a bad questionnaire looks like. Google “how to write a good questionnaire” or similar terms. The bottom line is a good question doesn’t forget about the respondent AND it allows your respondent to have their own opinion.

 

Collect Good Data

Good questions are essential, but sometimes you have to use your head to determine if your question will produce reliable or misleading data. For example, let’s pretend I asked a group of school-age children to taste my candy products and had them fill out a survey. One of the survey questions reads:

Did you find the candy to be:

  • Not sweet enough
  • Just sweet enough
  • Too sweet

Now let’s say 75% of the children reported the candy was “too sweet.” Should I reduce the amount of sugar used in my candy? Maybe or maybe not. The definition of “too sweet” in this case is too subjective. It demands a follow-up question such as, “Why did you choose your answer?” When I ask “why” I might find, as a group of researchers actually did find in a similar test, the kids loved the candy because it was “too sweet.” Had I not asked “why,” I may have concluded that we should reduce the amount of sugar we were using in our candy.

 

2 Ears; 1 Mouth

We have two ears and one mouth to remind ourselves to listen twice as much as we talk. Nothing could be more true when it comes to collecting customer feedback. Silence that voice in your head that tends to criticize responses that differ from your own opinions or points out flaws. Remind yourself of your initial goals for conducting the survey. You want to know what your customer thinks. What is your respondent trying to say in their answer? Finally, don’t take any response personally. You can’t be everything to everyone, nor can you make everyone happy. Work on seeing the big picture.

 

Share It

If you work with a team, share the feedback. Remind everyone to look at the feedback with an open mind and ask for ideas on how to apply the feedback for better business practices, products, or services.

 

If great suggestions were made in the feedback, and you plan to make changes, find ways to tell your customers. Customers love to know their feedback was heard and made a difference.

 

Be Gracious

Put simply – thank your respondents.

 

Gathering customer feedback can be scary, exciting and revealing. The most important of all these tips is to ask often and listen more. Most customers want to help you succeed, by listening you’ll do just that.

 

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About Karin Khuhro

Karin Khuhro is a Digital Marketing Strategist, Speaker and Copywriter. As the owner of Strategy E-ssentials she works with other savvy marketers, digital specialists and business leaders to bring knowledge, know-how and solutions to small and medium sized businesses. Connect with Karin on Google+ or Linkedin.