Experts

How to solicit customer feedback for your small business

Customer feedback can be a game-changer for businesses. It allows you to foster long-term relationships with your clients and boost customer experiences. So, as a small business, how do you effectively collect customer feedback to, ultimately, ensure business success? This article will help you explore successful ways to do it.

Martin Gessner
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Martin Gessner is the Founder of Focus on Force. He has spent over 10 years working in various Salesforce roles including business analyst, project manager, consultant, and solutions architect. Through his acclaimed book “The Salesforce Career Playbook”, in-depth workshops, and personalized coaching programs, Martin has helped Salesforce professionals land dream jobs, earn top certifications, and unlock their full potential.

What is customer feedback and its significance?

Customer feedback is information customers provide about their interactions with a product or service. According to studies, firms that actively solicit and respond to consumer feedback are more likely to retain customers and grow their sales. Customers who get excellent customer service are 93% more likely to make future purchases from companies. In addition, exceptional customer service experience transforms one-time consumers into brand defenders for 86% of organizations.

Businesses that collect and analyze customer feedback can easily find areas for product improvement, solve consumer pain points, and reinvent their marketing strategy to meet their target audience’s demands. This ensures customer happiness and loyalty. As a result, they attract even more customers via positive reviews and word-of-mouth.

Furthermore, client input may help organizations stay ahead of industry trends and compete in the market.

“According to studies, firms that actively solicit and respond to consumer feedback are more likely to retain customers and grow their sales.”

3 strategies for effectively collecting feedback from customers

That said, here are three effective methods to collect customer feedback for your small business.

1. Customer interviews and focus groups

Interviews and focus groups can provide actionable insights for your business. They allow you to gauge your customer sentiment and preferences in realtime. 

When conducting customer interviews, ensure you prepare your questions and establish a welcoming atmosphere for transparent communication. Try to make it last between 30 minutes and an hour. Be mindful of your customer’s time limits while collecting relevant feedback. 

Also, when choosing interviewees, consider reaching out to a diverse group of customers to ensure a range of perspectives. This can include loyal customers, new customers, and even those who have provided negative feedback in the past.

Throughout the interview, attentively listen to responses from customers and inquire further to explore actionable feedback in more detail. 

Analysis is just as important. Analyze the data collected to identify patterns and trends in your customer perceptions. You can use a CRM system to save and organize comments for future reference and decision-making. The significance of CRM in ultimately tailoring marketing efforts and product development to match consumer preferences should not be ignored.

“When choosing interviewees, consider reaching out to a diverse group of customers to ensure a range of perspectives. This can include loyal customers, new customers, and even those who have provided negative feedback in the past.”

What about focus groups? 

Focus groups entail bringing together a selected group of six to ten customers to talk about their experiences with a product. The most effective time frame for a focus group is between 45 and 90 minutes. This format encourages lively interaction among participants, where everyone can contribute and respond to each other’s comments. 

With focus groups, you can delve into complex subjects, collect customer opinions on new offerings, and grasp the mindsets and actions of a particular group of people. Focus groups are also great for trying out ideas, concepts, or prototypes before committing to bigger-scale development.

However, ensure you also select participants with different backgrounds, experiences, and demographics to ensure richer discussions. Additionally, when selecting moderators for focus groups, look for individuals who are skilled in facilitating discussions, remaining neutral, and guiding the conversation toward valuable feedback.

Finally, ask no more than 10 questions. However, this may change based on topic complexity and group dynamics.

2. Surveys

Structured methods like customer feedback surveys enable easy identification of trends and preferences based on the responses of a diverse group of customers. Additionally, with them, companies may quantify customer satisfaction levels and track changes over time. This ensures valuable data for decision-making and strategic planning.

“Structured methods like customer feedback surveys enable easy identification of trends and preferences based on the responses of a diverse group of customers.”

There are different survey types you can take advantage of. These include:

  • Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) survey: Assesses consumers’ satisfaction with a company’s goods or services. It’s usually done after a client has completed a purchase or spoken with customer support. 
  • Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey: This direct feedback collection tool gauges client loyalty and advocacy.
  • Customer Effort Score (CES) survey: Measures customers’ experiences with your company.

Keep surveys concise and easy to understand. Also, a mix of closed-ended and open-ended questions can provide both quantitative feedback and qualitative data for a more comprehensive analysis. Take note, though, that the ideal survey duration is 10–14 minutes, with clients prepared to answer 7–10 questions at a time.

With your customer surveys, target specific segments or demographics to ensure the feedback received is relevant and actionable. For instance, this is the email survey Taylor Stitch sends out to buyers of only a specific product.

Also, offer incentives, such as discounts or prizes, to encourage your customer base to participate in the survey. Besides, use multiple channels to reach a wider audience, such as email, social media channels and online forums.

Finally, follow up with customers after they’ve completed the survey to thank them for their feedback.

3. Feedback forms on website/app

Forms on sites and apps are essential tools for businesses seeking to collect customer feedback. They’re typically shorter than surveys and can enable anonymous feedback, which may improve consumer honesty. 

To effectively collect customer feedback using them, you need to follow key steps. First, ensure the form is straightforward and easy to understand. Use simple, direct language. Also, leverage answer formats that boost the customer response rate (rating scales, open-ended, and multiple-choice questions, for example). With the site feedback forms below, for instance, individual customers only need to either write a few words or choose from a range of options available to respond:

Online tools like WPForms and Fluent Forms can help you build feedback forms that are user-friendly and easy to fill out. These tools come with drag-and-drop functionality and ready-made templates. They also come with analytics capabilities to help you assess your data following the feedback collection process.

“Forms on sites and apps are essential tools for businesses seeking to collect customer feedback.”

In closing

Small businesses must listen to their customers if they want to grow their client base and ensure customer retention and loyalty. So, implementing a customer feedback strategy can significantly impact the success and longevity of your small business.

Use the customer feedback methods above to collect valuable insights for your small business. Interviewing customers and organizing focus groups can ensure deep discussions and valuable insights. Surveys, meanwhile, can offer both quantitative and qualitative data. With feedback forms on your website or app, customers can easily and conveniently share their thoughts.

As a final tip, note that consistent feedback collection isn’t enough. Feedback analysis and implementation are just as important. Only when you combine these can you improve the user experience, ensure happy customers, and, ultimately, achieve overall business growth. Good luck!

*The purpose of this page is solely to provide information and should not be considered as financial advice.
**Melio does not provide legal, tax or accounting advice; you should consult a professional advisor before making any financial decisions.