Still, in 2021, the Covid-19 pandemic continues to shape the way the retail world and businesses operate, as buying behavior the way we knew it changed drastically. New consumer sentiment emerged globally - customers took a different perspective and values changed, triggered by lockdowns, job losses, and different purchasing needs.
Consumer research by EY on post-Covid strategy revealed that consumers are continuously cautious - 63% are still prioritizing affordability, 69% find company and brand purpose as the most important factor, and 62% embrace data sharing in exchange for a better customer experience.
And not only customers but also businesses, have had to adapt. In a recent consumer survey, 24% of the business leaders said that due to sudden changes, they are now focused on enhancing the customer experience, especially online. Businesses around the world will have to keep adapting, fitting their strategies around the new consumer behaviors.
And the best way to catch the new consumer sentiment is through customer feedback collection. Monitoring and analyzing changing preferences through direct user feedback can be a key to success to build strong customer trust and loyalty. In the below article, we will go through what customer feedback collection is, why businesses should know how to collect feedback and how to use feedback for business growth.
It’s when any information regarding a service or product is collected from the customer, for example through surveys, emails or phone calls, and is then shared within the company to make changes that can positively affect the bottom line.
Using customer feedback effectively can trigger new ideas and lead to business growth. And both positive, as well as negative user feedback, can be utilized to make improvements.
Let’s assume you recently bought a new laptop and have used that laptop for just over six months. The battery has been excellent, however, one day, your battery is done – you need to charge it after every 2 hours.
If you own the electronics business that sold the laptop to that customer, wouldn't it be useful to know this fact about your product? To make sure this won't happen again in the future, based on this feedback, you can implement changes in the product. But, in order to get this information, you need to collect this feedback first.
There are several ways to get feedback and depending on the business and industry you operate, it can be adjusted accordingly. Below are some suggestions of how to collect feedback.
In terms of communication strategies, good old SMS messages are still a great option. It is also a great idea to gather feedback in combination with an SMS campaign. In terms of reach, SMS has an excellent reach in terms of customers - there are 5.27 billion unique mobile phone users globally, 5 billion people send and receive SMS messages - about 65% of the world’s population.
Furthermore, SMS have higher open rates than emails, making it the perfect alternative or to be used in combination with emails. So, looking at this recent data, SMS marketing is still a useful way to market and gather information and feedback on your products and services, here are some excellent SMS campaign ideas to combine your feedback collection with.
Through SMS messages, you can either circulate a link to your long-form surveys, you can send transaction-based messages, ask for feedback in combination with an SMS campaign, or use SMS for sending periodic surveys such as NPS or CSAT surveys.
The most traditional way to get feedback is through surveys, usually circulated to the customers through emails. There are several different types varying in length and purpose. For example, long surveys are necessary for in-depth insights and analysis, as one-question NPS surveys are essential for collecting ongoing customer feedback to get the feeling of how well perceived the company is amongst its audience.
These are very common but could have a downside, as the longer the survey, the lower the response rates. If the survey has either too many questions or if these questions lose relevance, the response rate can decrease drastically. It can also affect the quality of the data collected, as people get bored and might not pay as much attention to the questions at the end of the survey.
Research has shown that the average number of questions asked in a survey was 12, with 50% of the surveys having more than 12 questions. And an astonishing 95% of them had over 40 questions. It is proven that very long surveys aren’t doing any good for response rates and data quality. At the end of the day, there is no optimal number and each survey should be customized to its audience and purpose. However, in general, it's best to cap it at 10min total completion time - usually around 10 questions.
Measures how willingly your customers will promote your company's products and services to others, to their friends and family. It is presented as a one-question survey - evaluating the customers' perception of a company over time.
NPS or Net Promoter Score is a metric that measures customer loyalty on a scale of 1-10, with results clustered to detractors (0-6), passives (7-8), and promoters (9-10). It is calculated by subtracting the % of detractors (score 0-6) from % of promoters (score 9-10), to get a final number as a percentage. For example, 70% are promoters, 20% are detractors - 70% - 20% = 50% NPS score.
NPS Benchmark 2020 study found that “good” is anything between 27 to 71, over 0 is being considered also ok, as there are more promoters than detractors.
CSAT surveys or customer satisfaction surveys are most commonly used to understand the satisfaction levels of your customers with your products or services. Compared to the NPS score, this is for measuring feedback and satisfaction development over time for a specific product, rather than overall satisfaction with the company.
This survey is also presented on a rating scale between 1-5, with 1 representing “highly unsatisfied” and 5 “highly satisfied”. The score is calculated by dividing the number of survey responses by the number of satisfied customers (scales 4-5).
The best tools include, for example, Qualaroo, ProProfs Survey Maker, Surveymonkey, Qualtix, and SurveySparrow. There are many tools available for a variety of budgets that can also be customized for enterprise-level pricing.
Monthly memberships are made available for personal use, start-ups, business use, enterprise-level and niche-based - e.g. specifically for NPS or SCAT surveys. They are also available as apps for user feedback collection, ease of use, and data collection.
Collecting feedback that has been recorded through customer service teams - either through calls with customer service agents, through live-chat conversations, social media chat, post-purchase feedback, reviews or FAQ’s.
All of these channels provide excellent, genuine feedback regarding the challenges or problems with the company products or services your audience might be struggling with. Listening and recording this kind of feedback will help you directly improve your product or service.
In this case, training your customer service team is crucial, to make sure they know to record the most important and useful information.
Social media as a communication channel is excellent due to its vast customer reach - there are 4.33 billion people who use social media every day. That is more than 55% of the total population. Social media channels are great for circulating customer feedback collection. For example, Facebook had 2.7 billion active users in the 1st quarter of 2021 and Instagram 1 billion users.
Using social media has got its advantages. Firstly, in contrast to emails, users of social media check their phones and accounts constantly, several times a day. It is therefore a great platform to use for informed decision-making and feedback gathering.
And there are several ways to do it, from circulating a link to the survey on your page, direct messages, or auto-messages. There are also tools to use that are specifically built for user feedback collection, for example, the new Instagram Stories feedback collection feature.
A drawback with this could be that your customers on social media tend to be your loyal customers already, who have either followed, liked or engaged in any way with the social media account or posts. Therefore, try and make sure the survey also reaches the wider audience and not just the already loyal circle.
Using A/B testing for customer feedback collection is a different approach to traditional survey-based methods. There is an increasing need for companies to know the full customer journey and to collect detailed insights, in order to realize what is really driving the customer behavior - in real-time.
To gather immediate, instant feedback, with a positive result on ROI, this is where traditional surveys are lagging. User testing can reveal how customers interact on your site or shop - by analyzing the data regarding which products have been viewed, clicked or converted the most. This way you can leverage indirect customer feedback in your future strategy.
There are plenty of reasons to gather customer feedback and many ways to use these insights. They are helpful for customer retention, satisfaction, loyalty, and for improving products and services.
Customer feedback is not only beneficial for understanding what triggers your customers’ behaviors and loyalty but also to understand how to turn these specific behaviors into actions. Businesses tend to spend a great deal of time and budget on customer insights, but it is crucial to also leverage these insights in order to remain competitive and increase profitability.
A great example, especially in eCommerce, are product returns. At Zalando, each time the customer receives their order, they get a return label with the parcel. On this return label, the customer can already tick boxes for the reason they were returning a certain item - if it was either too small, too big, damaged, etc.
This way it is easy to track the reasons for returns for each item. In case of unusually high return rates, one could then go back on this gathered feedback on item level to check whether any reasons were dominant. For example, 60% of customers who had sent back a pair of jeans, wrote down “too small” as the main reason. Then, taking that feedback, product teams can implement improvements - change the fitting of these jeans.
Positive customer experience is one of the key aspects to a success of a business. Asking your customers for feedback on an ongoing basis and using these insights can help to provide a seamless customer experience. Knowing what they like and dislike, you can adjust your business operations accordingly.
For example, if they are frustrated by the categorization of your products on your website, because they can’t find the items they are looking for. You can take this information on board and change the layout to make the products easier to find. The fact that they can find the products will contribute to the growth of your sales. Or if they find customer service too slow, you can make sure to optimize the operations in this area to provide the best customer experience you possibly can.
You can also implement customer feedback insights into your marketing strategy. For example, how Activia launched its “It Starts Inside” campaign in 2017 to rebrand their business.
It was driven by insights from a study that revealed 80% of women between 25 - 55 said they were their own worst critic. Following these facts, the campaign was designed to encourage women to be above being their own biggest critic.
This was a major success, appealing on an emotional level and showing empathy to the viewers, talking about self-doubt that we all experience from time to time. It really shows the power of customer insights and proves that leveraging these details can really help to win over new customers and increase loyalty.
Operating in an online environment can be tricky due to increased competition, your customers are the ones who have a major effect on the growth. As said above, there are many ways to collect and use customer data and insights. Actively listening and knowing what drives them, with this knowledge you can improve products, services, and operations for the better.
Customer feedback is a useful source of information for brands to better understand their audience and build their strategy and brand story based on that information. In order to continue making your customers happy, it is crucial to listen to them and meet their needs and expectations and provide them with unique experiences.
By using customer feedback, you create the opportunity for your business to be a customer-first company. You can turn your customers into decision-makers. After all, they are the ones using your products or services and know best, where the quality is lacking and where improvements should be made. This will in turn help you to increase your sales and profitability and stand out from the competition.
Rukham is the Content Lead at Mailmunch. He believes trust should be the basis for all marketing communications.