Every business wants to succeed, there’s no doubt about that. There are, however, various factors that contribute to their success or failure. We could distinguish elements such as motivation, perseverance, talent, hard work, and variables concerning a business’ sales volume, Return On Investment rate (ROI), and even customer satisfaction. All of these are undoubtedly important when it comes to succeeding as a business.
The last one, customer satisfaction, is especially important because customers are usually considered to be the heart of every business. Happy and satisfied customers mean a happy and profitable business. What more could you want?
Therefore it is important to continually measure your customers’ satisfaction with your products and/or services, as well as other factors like customer service quality, delivery time and charges, communication, and more. To track all of this, you need customer reviews.
This article is all about how to collect customer reviews effectively. Let’s get right to it!
But first, what is customer feedback?
Customer feedback is simply the information your customers provide you with about their experience with your brand: products, services, communication, shipping, and so on. People can give you feedback regarding any aspect of their encounters with your brand.
Customer reviews are ratings of your company (services and products, etc.) made by clients in various forms. They could be written or spoken and given by email or during a phone call with your brand.
No matter the form, every time a customer wants to give you feedback and review your company, you should be happy and thankful. Why? Let’s find out.
Why is customer feedback important?
Without customer feedback, businesses are not able to test whether or not they meet their customers’ needs and demands. In addition to guiding and informing the decision-making skills in your company, customer feedback has a large impact on product development and any other changes you make.
Your customers are huge repositories of valuable information, given in the form of suggestions and recommendations that you can often collect for free or at a very low cost.
A lot of positive customer feedback also drives customer acquisition as it attracts potential customers to try your brand. A study found that about 70% of consumers read product reviews before making purchases, and nearly 63% say they are more likely to buy from a site that features product ratings and reviews.
Positive reviews can also work as a form of social proof and may be used in your marketing agenda as great lead magnets. When people see companies achieving great results, getting amazing reviews, and having happy customers, others are more likely to try that brand’s services and/or products. Such reviews add to your company’s authenticity and contribute to building positive PR around it.
So, what are you waiting for?
PRO TIP: If you struggle as a business to collect enough customer feedback, look at your competitors! Check out their Google reviews, various forums, social media profiles, and more. Keeping your eye on them will allow you to see what attracts customers to your competitors as well as what puts them off so that you can either improve upon or avoid certain mistakes in the future.
Customer feedback collection methods
Before we tell you our secrets for collecting customer reviews effectively, we want you to know what possible solutions are out there. Nowadays, you can collect feedback from your customers in various ways.
Always choose the one that suits your business model best. Here are some of them:
Surveys are probably the most common method of collecting information from your customers. They usually consist of a set of questions of your choice. You can send them to your customers by email, mail, or even text message.
PRO TIP: Keep your surveys short – on average, the longer they are, the fewer time customers spend on completing them.
PRO TIP: Think about the most important aspects of your business when designing your questionnaire. You do not want to ask irrelevant questions.
Email forms are another great way to collect customer feedback. Unlike surveys, email forms can usually be completed in the messages you send. This means your customers do not have to click on any external links.
Not only is this more reassuring for customers, but it also gives your business more chance of actually getting feedback from customers because it is much quicker.
Exploratory customer interviews
Exploratory interviews with your customers are rather informal and are often conducted like regular conversations during which a company representative asks certain questions but at the same time allows the customer to talk about their whole experience freely.
That way, customers often reveal a lot of information about their experience. In interviews like this, there are no wrong answers and every piece of information is highly valuable.
PRO TIP: For exploratory interviews, pick repeat-purchase and loyal customers who know your brand well so that they will be able to accurately provide the necessary information.
PRO TIP: Exploratory customer interviews usually take longer than other feedback collection methods. Offer your customers valuable incentives in exchange for their generosity and time.
Social media is an extremely powerful tool today when it comes to customer feedback. After in-person interactions, it is the second place that unsatisfied customers go to to make complaints. Why not take advantage of this, improve your customer experience, and allow customers to spread the good word about your brand on social media?
You can do so by asking your customers to share their opinions on your Facebook and/or Instagram profiles, in comment sections, using emojis or gifs, or even just plain text – the possibilities are endless.
A positive image on social media will give your company more credibility and add to your professionalism.
If your business runs or is operated by a call center, you can take advantage of it and allow your customers to provide feedback straight after interacting with your company while still on a call.
Provided that the experience is positive, this is the best moment to ask for feedback, since customers are usually full of positive emotions and are therefore more likely to review your company.
PRO TIP: Ask your customers if they want to provide feedback before or after a phone call ends. Alternatively, you can judge their satisfaction levels by the tone of their voice and mood using emotion analytics tools – analyze what, when, and why customers say certain things about your brand with reliable tools.
6 ways to collect customer reviews effectively
Now that you know in what ways customer feedback can be collected, let’s find out what contributes to the effectiveness of gathering feedback so that you can make the most of it and collect as many reviews as possible.
#1 Be creative
Being creative is important when you want to stand out from your competitors.
Creativity will also allow you to stay in your customers’ minds for longer. Focus on finding something that will fit your business model and will encourage your customers to leave their reviews.
Whether it’s an element of personalization, some emojis, a light-hearted joke, or just a simple and catchy slogan, like Zalando’s ‘care to share?’ – the key is to make it original and unique.
#2 Choose the right time
How you ask your customers for reviews is just as important as when you ask for them. Make sure you think about the right time to send your feedback forms and surveys. As it turns out, the perfect time is far from random and whether or not you can collect reviews effectively depends on when you ask for them.
According to research, the best times to ask for reviews are between 2-3 PM and 6-7 PM. During these times, consumers are most likely to rate a business on Google. You may be wondering why. Actually, it makes a lot more sense than it may seem. People often visit and use businesses during their lunch breaks or after work, which are exactly the times stated above.
People do not have time to rate companies early in the morning. They also lack the energy to do it at the end of often challenging and tiring days full of work and home life matters.
Moreover, you should try to ask for reviews straight after purchases are made or products are delivered (if applicable). Such a strategy guarantees you the highest probability of receiving numerous positive reviews.
PRO TIP: If you run an international business, keep in mind different time zones when you adjust the moment at which to ask for customer reviews.
#3 Do not forget to follow up
Everyone can be forgetful sometimes, especially your one-time customers. Be aware of that fact when you ask for their feedback. After asking once, wait for their response and then if none is given, remind them about yourself!
Do this in a non-invasive way, since you do not want to annoy your customers.
Spamming them could cause an increase in your unsubscriptions rate, and you surely do not want that. A simple and polite reminder will do the job. Allow your customers some time to process your message, and if they do not react for a second time then just leave it and move on to more engaged customers!
#4 Ask the right questions
It is also important that you think about the right questions to ask your customers. They should be relevant to your business and the services and/or products you offer.
Here are some example questions you could ask your customers:
- Where did you first hear about us?
- What could our company do to serve your needs better?
- What convinced you to buy our products?
- How satisfied are you with our services/products?
- Why did you choose us over our competitors?
- How would you rate our communication skills?
- Would you like us to add any features to make your experience better?
- How would you describe your buying experience?
- Is there anything you would like us to change?
- Would you recommend our brand to your family and friends?
#5 Choose the right software
To effectively collect reviews, you need dedicated software. Look for solutions with many integrations and frequent updates. Check for a user-friendly interface and affordable pricing if you do not want to overpay for tools that will not meet your standards and will be difficult to use. Research is key!
You may collect reviews in different places (like Google, website, or social media reviews, and so on), but they all are important. Choose software that will allow you to showcase reviews from all sources on your website. This will add extra credibility and make your company appear more professional.
#6 Offer attractive incentives to drive interest
Last but not least, try to remember that by asking your customers for reviews, you are asking for their time – something that is especially precious these days. Why not further encourage customers to rate your company by rewarding them with attractive incentives? You could choose between cash, discount codes, product giveaways, free samples, and more.
Step up your game and offer a better experience than your competitors do. Your customers will love you for it!
When receiving reviews is not a problem but the quality of them is, what should you do?
Obtaining reviews and mentions from customers is one thing, but there is a whole lot more to do when those reviews are not exactly what you would like to receive. In situations like this, you need to do something about it. Instead of panicking about damaged PR, look for solutions.
We have dedicated an entire blog to demonstrating the 10 steps you need to do when managing online reviews. The first step is to find a tool that allows you to use media monitoring and social listening features with powerful analytics designed to help you discover the reason for and meaning behind every mention of your business, especially negative ones.
Mediatoolkit is one that provides the perfect opportunity for you to better understand your customers’ needs and improve your overall image and performance. If this is not enough, you can also track mentions of your competitors, employees, business news, and industry trends all in real-time.
Grow your business in no time with customer reviews!
Now you know how important customer feedback is and how to collect it effectively. There are many aspects to look out for and we hope this article makes it slightly easier for you to really master your feedback collection skills.
Let’s look at our recommendations one last time:
- Be creative, thoughtful, and generous – your customers will love you for it
- Think strategically and invest in the right tools
- Pick the right collection methods that suit your needs best
Customer feedback is very important and significantly contributes to the success of your business. Do not ignore its value when you plan out the roadmap for your company’s success. For more valuable content, subscribe to our newsletter below.