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How to ask for & actually get customer feedback

It’s one thing to implement a customer feedback programme in your business, and another thing entirely to successfully gather customer feedback regularly. One of the main barriers to the repeated and continuous success of getting customer feedback lies in the asking. Whether it’s doing so incorrectly, or trepidation around the act itself, it’s one of the first obstacles to overcome. In this article, we’ll cover whether the resistance to customer feedback (both internally and externally) is real, and what you can do about it.

Asking for customer feedback

Customers aren’t actually that resistant to giving feedback if asked. Data collected by SurveyMonkey highlighted that 85% of people say they’re likely to provide feedback when they’ve had a good experience and 81% provide it when they’ve had a bad experience. This does drop slightly when someone has a ‘normal’ experience, reducing to 48%. With customers being quite open to giving feedback the main barrier to receiving it, therefore, lies in businesses requesting it.

Asking for customer feedback can be done in several ways but is most commonly tackled either in-person (whether directly face-to-face or over the phone) or in writing. This is good because it means the same phrasing can be used in either. And while some communication tools will enable you to test different approaches everyone needs a starting point, which we’re going to go over next.

One approach to asking for customer feedback is the ‘give and get’ technique. This technique is frequently used in sales but is a common negotiation tactic that is more common than many people realise. Have you ever heard a parent say something along the lines of “If you clean your room you can have an hour of gaming.” or “You can have an ice lolly but only if you eat your vegetables.”? These are very common examples of the ‘give and get’ technique. The premise of which is that the other party will get something in return for giving you what you seek.

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When it comes to customer feedback surveys some people get a sense of satisfaction from giving feedback, while others might need a small push. We’ll discuss incentivising feedback later but there are daily opportunities to get feedback after you’ve given a customer something. For example, the customer might ask for something out of the ordinary, whether it’s a priority service, a return, or to have the solution tailored to their needs. Any time you give a customer something out of the norm you have an opportunity to trade that ‘favour’ for feedback.

Asking for customer feedback is actually very simple. All you need to do is ask. Wayne Gretzky is famous for saying that you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take, and the same can be said of asking for feedback from customers. Try any of the following phrases if you don’t know where to begin:

  • “We’re trying to get feedback from customers exactly like you, could you spare 5 minutes to complete this survey?”
  • “I feel like a pain for asking but would you be open to sharing your thoughts with us by taking this 5-minute survey?”
  • “If you have a few minutes to spare we’d really value your feedback, would you mind taking this short 5-minute survey?”

It’s good to set expectations, like how long the survey will take as well as outline why it’s important to you.

Methods for gathering customer feedback

There are dozens of ways to ask for customer feedback but when it comes to picking the right method there’s no single ‘correct’ answer. The best method for gathering customer feedback will depend on your customer, their buying habits, and their preferred communication method. Typical methods of gathering customer feedback include:

  • Phone
  • Online survey
  • QR code
  • Text
  • Face-to-face

To find the option(s) that work best for you it’s best to apply them all. If that’s not feasible then using the most viable options works best. To streamline your testing process try and align the method of asking with the main method they’ve used to interact with your business up to that stage. If it’s been mostly online, then an online feedback system may work the best. If it’s mostly been face-to-face, then try that. Pick two or three different methods and roll them out at once. This is made easier by using a feedback system like Review Tui as it makes it easy to measure the different sources and see which yields the best results.

Should I incentivise customer feedback?

We’ve covered this in great detail in a special blog article but it bears mentioning here too. There’s fundamentally nothing wrong with encouraging internal customer feedback with an incentive but it’s important to not skew the results. Research by the University of Otago concluded that different incentives have a greater or lesser impact on the number of submissions received but, interestingly, giving a cash incentive performed worse than no incentive at all. You can read more about the specifics and results in the article linked above but it can be beneficial to offer some form of reward for feedback.

Expanding this out to public reviews on platforms such as Google and Yelp, it’s not OK to offer an incentive for positive reviews. This can fall foul of several countries’ laws on misleading marketing and paid-for advertising. You can, again, find more specific detail on this in our article discussing the incentivisation of customer feedback.

Culture of feedback

Finally, one of the best ways to ask for and actually get customer feedback is to create a business culture where asking is encouraged. It may sound simple but this comes from giving people responsibility for it, encouraging it, and holding people to account if it’s not done. This means:

  • Prioritising systems and processes to include feedback opportunities.
  • Encouraging team members that champion this approach.
  • Sharing results to include different business divisions.
  • Investing in technology that makes this easy to adopt.

Customer feedback is a flywheel business activity, which means it’s hard to get started but gains its own momentum when results begin to show. Once this happens it requires less effort to keep going. For example, if you successfully gather feedback you can share it in weekly or monthly meetings (while acknowledging team members that gathered the feedback) which puts the capture of more feedback at the front of the team’s minds.

Many businesses are good at rewarding and celebrating those people mentioned in feedback as having provided an exceptional service but businesses also need to showcase individuals that gather feedback. You can track this in Review Tui by creating a campaign link that’s unique to each team member and then filtering the dashboard to see who acquired the highest volume of responses.

By making asking for feedback a priority and making it easy for customers to give their feedback you’re creating an environment where gathering customer feedback is achievable. Make it part of your company culture and you can accelerate its acquisition and use it to fuel your business’s growth.

If you’re interested in gathering more customer feedback then using a customer feedback platform like Review Tui could be the best first step on that journey. We’re launching later in 2022 and will grant early access to those that have pre-registered. Let us know that you want to be the first to try the platform by clicking the link below.

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