Discovery. Engagement. Support. Education. These four words describe the bane of every product manager’s and marketer’s existence. We strive to discover who our ideal customer is, what she needs, how she interacts with our product. We want to engage users with our product, increase that engagement and know why it fluctuates when it does. Feedback from customers is often relegated to a comment box (a physical one, or a pesky pop-up on the page).
But in the modern world of interactive customer engagement, feedback takes on a new face: a dynamic, two-way conversation to prime, inform, encourage, and promote prospects and clients. Many businesses lose customers because they simply don’t know their customers are unhappy. Knowing your customer is unhappy in advance is vital to sustaining your business. One way to gauge customer satisfaction is through feedback.
There are clear advantages to customer feedback:
It helps you improve your service. As a business, you have clients for whom you do projects. You need to be able to take their pulse both during and after a project or experience ends. It will help you do your job better and make the client happy. Listening to your clients is the only way to keep them happy; this will also ensure both their repeat business and their referrals to others.
It is the best metric for customer satisfaction. By listening to clients’ feedback, you can determine whether your services are meeting their expectations. Ask ratings-based questions in order to track and monitor how happy your customers are over time.
It helps improve customer retention. Feedback will offer you a direct line of communication with your clients. It will help you determine whether or not they are happy with your services, ideally before the end of a project. A happy customer is one who stays. By asking for feedback regularly, you will ensure you know how your clients feel at all times. This way, if there is a problem you can fix it. Listen to clients who are unhappy in order to provide a better experience for all of your clients, both current and future.
It provides you with tangible data. Getting valuable, factual insight into how your clients feel about your services will help you make better decisions moving forward.
So how can feedback help to make your great product even better?
1. It ensures usability. Developers can often miss usability issues and even the most hawk-eyed testers can let a few bugs slip through. Real-time customer feedback helps you catch errors ASAP. With surveys embedded on the page, it also makes problems much easier to isolate. Additionally, customers can give you some ideas about how to improve usability from their unique perspectives.
Many users want to give developers their insights but aren’t sure how. Some may even take the initiative to look for contact information, but that’s often fruitless and frustrating. Integrated feedback lets these users contact you instantly.
2. It gets at the details. Sales figures and ratings won’t let you know what you’re doing right and wrong specifically. For example, someone who rated your app one star may have really liked it in general, but one little thing made it unusable. Or maybe that five-star reviewer also had some problems but was able to look past them. You wouldn’t know if either scenario was the case without more detailed feedback. Since it’s significantly more expensive to gain a new customer than it is to keep an existing one, finding specific ways of improving current customer experiences is a must.
3. It makes your product interactive. Timing is everything. Don’t send a survey two weeks after the customer interacted with your software. Ask for feedback right as he is using the product. Embedded real-time poll results are one way to help customers know that they’ve been heard. Not only do such results show users their opinions are being counted, but they add another layer of interactivity to your product.
4. It provides actionable steps to align your product with customer need. Survey data helps you know which changes should be made to your app or website by answering a few key questions:
- Why did customers choose your product?
- Why are customers continuing to use your product?
- What do customers like/dislike about your product?
- What new features would customers like to see added to your product?
5. It makes future iterations better. User feedback is not only helpful for an app or website now—feedback can also inform future projects. By taking customer opinions into account in the early stages of development, you’ll be better able to efficiently build new products. As an example, finding out which features users want and focusing on those ensures you won’t waste time updating ones nobody uses.
Whether it’s for discovery, engagement, support, or education, full-cycle feedback can do wonders for your products. It allows you to go beyond just collecting simplistic data (e.g., clicks) through one-way communication. Asking through an engaging mechanism will not only produce more valuable data, it will allow you to analyze it in order to take proper actions. Don’t think of feedback as just collecting data. In our evolving 21st-century world, feedback should be the full circle of activities, from asking, to analyzing, to ultimately acting upon the results for an exponentially better product.
Minoo Razavi is marketing communication strategist at Qrvey, which helps businesses improve the customer experience and make more informed decisions with the only full-cycle feedback platform covering data collection, data analysis, and automating actions.