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1 5 STEPS TO COLLECTING AMAZING CUSTOMER FEEDBACK a publication of

2 Contents INTRODUCTION....1 STEP 1: SET GOALS...2 STEP 2: CHOOSE A SOLUTION...3 STEP 3: PUT IT EVERYWHERE...5 STEP 4: RESPOND IN A TIMELY MANNER...6 STEP 5: MEASURE, MEASURE, MEASURE...8 CONCLUSION: RINSE AND REPEAT...9 SOURCES

3 INTRODUCTION: You re probably reading this because you want customer feedback. But hold your horses! You need to ask yourself a few questions first. customer feedback, where that feedback will go, what should be done about the feedback collected, and how to respond to feedback in a way that lets customers know that you are listening. Most people would say that you should start getting customer feedback by simply listening to your customers. Most people would be wrong. Customer feedback is not an end in itself. Sure, it will make your customers feel warm and fuzzy inside when you ask them if there is anything you can do to improve their experience with your brand. But warm and fuzzy feelings are impossible to measure and don t provide concrete business value. Before you solicit customer feedback, step back and think about why you want to collect customer feedback in the first place. Do you want to improve your customer experience? Build better products? Identify bugs in your code? Drive more sales? All of the above? Once you have a single, focused goal in mind, you will be able to begin the process of determining how your company will collect Customize Your Getsatisfaction Feedback Widget 5 STEPS TO COLLECTING AMAZING CUSTOMER FEEDBACK 1

4 STEP 1: SET GOALS You know you want to solicit customer feedback, but what type of feedback? Perhaps you re launching a new product and want your existing customers to tell you how it can be improved before launch. Maybe you have a lot of visitors coming to your website but none of them are converting into customers and you want to know why. Or maybe you have a loyal customer base and want some testimonials to spruce up your marketing materials. Before you start chatting it up with your customers, you need to know what type of information you want to collect from the conversation. Not every word needs to be pre-determined and you will definitely learn about things you would never even think to ask about along the way, but you need to start out with an end goal in mind or you re setting yourself up for disaster. Think about it this way: does your company use social media just for the sake of using social media? Or because everybody else is? Or because it s the hot new thing? Of course not! You might use your corporate Twitter handle to tweet out the latest and greatest cat video here and there, but, for the most part, you use social media as a business tool. Oftentimes, the marketing team owns social media and so the goal is to raise brand awareness and educate consumers about your product. Other times, social media is driven by the support staff and used to answer customer questions and increase customer satisfaction. What and how you tweet is driven by why you tweet. Collecting customer feedback is no different. Once you establish your feedback goals, you can determine how to integrate customer feedback into your daily workflow. If you want feedback from existing customers, you need a solution that opens up communication channels with existing customers. If you want to measure and increase customer satisfaction, you need to integrate a feedback mechanism that lets customer report problems or annoyances they encounter with your product. We will get to how to do these things later. For now, just make sure you have an explicit goal in mind. Got it? Good. It should be focused enough that you can write it on a single line. My customer feedback goal is: 5 STEPS TO COLLECTING AMAZING CUSTOMER FEEDBACK 2

5 STEP 2: CHOOSE A SOLUTION Traditionally, customer feedback was collected through tools such as surveys, polls, or expensive, time-consuming focus groups. These can be distributed in a variety of ways, including , your website, or on social media sites. Surveys and polls are based on pre-set questions and allow a statistical review of answers. If you are want customer feedback on a few specific areas of interest, a survey might be the right tool for you. The drawback of surveys and polls is that they are private and therefore, for reasons of scalability, force customers to give feedback in a quantitative manner. Let s say you run a chair company and want to survey all your customers who have bought you latest model, the Purple Pedestal. With a survey, you can reach out to all of these customers by ing them a survey. You let them know that it is just 5 questions, you re asking them to rate their experience on a scale of 1-4, and it will take no more than 3 minutes to complete, so you get an impressive 20 percent response rate. You now have 300 responses. Lucky you! Wait but what do these responses mean??? Oh yes, your company has a snazzy data analyst who will dice up the replies and let you know that your customers are a 3. Wait, what does that mean? This example illustrates the limits of numerical customer feedback. It can be great for tracking improvement in customer satisfaction, but in and of itself it tells you very little. If you re not convinced, consider the following from Kampyle s cofounder and CEO, Ariel Finkelstein: You can use surveys and polls to ask site-level questions such as: Where did you hear about our site? What are you looking for? Who are you? The answers to these questions can help you to know your users better, but they will not provide quantitative information on why your customers behave they way they do on your Web site. In addition, your survey and polling data is ultimately reviewed from a statistical analysis view, which may cause the solution to be relevant mainly to large Web sites with a lot of traffic or to a specific group of your customers. This means that not all types of businesses can benefit equally from these tools. What Finkelstein is saying is that surveys and polls are great for certain types of feedback, but not for all types of feedback. The first shortcoming of a feedback mechanism where you determine the questions is that it is a feedback mechanism where you determine the questions. Oftentimes, your customers are facing hurdles that you can t even imagine exist, like not understanding basic features of your service or having problems with something that you take for granted. Choosing a feedback tool that lets your customers give open-ended feedback is essential to getting a 360 degree view of your customer experience. How can you gather feedback that gives you the deepest insights into all aspects of your customers experience? Here are some criteria to think about: 5 STEPS TO COLLECTING AMAZING CUSTOMER FEEDBACK 3

6 1. Is it scalable? Let s face it: you want customer feedback, but how much time do you have to read and respond to each piece of feedback? At the same time, customers shouldn t feel like their feedback disappears into a black hole. Before you choose a customer feedback solution, make sure it will allow you to communicate with your customers on a one-to-many basis. 2. Does it enable conversations? Open conversations allow customers to give more nuanced information on what they are looking for. At times, they might even find that you already offer what they are asking for didn t even know it. If it s publicly available, future customers with the same feedback will find the conversation and the company s answer without requiring a direct interaction with your company. 3. Is it where your customers are? If your company only sells products to people in Argentina, should you advertise in The Washington Post? Probably not. Buenos Aires Herald? Definitely. Likewise, you need to know where your customers are and then go there to get their feedback. For gaming companies, this might be on Facebook. For most people, Google is the default channel for finding information about, well, anything. Finding a solution that can reach your customers through the channels where your customers already are is crucial. 5 STEPS TO COLLECTING AMAZING CUSTOMER FEEDBACK 4

7 STEP 3: PUT IT EVERYWHERE Going along with the theme of being everywhere your customers are, once you start collecting customer feedback, you need to make it easy for customers to give you feedback anytime, anywhere. Here are some suggestions for places you can ask for feedback: 1. Your website s homepage (feedback from first time visitors) 2. Your shopping cart (feedback from potential buyers) 3. Facebook (feedback from your most social customers) 4. Your Help page (feedback from people how are encountering problems) 5. In your company s signature (feedback from everyone you communicate with) 6. Within the customer interface (feedback from current customers) If course, there are many more places you could include a feedback widget or link, but these are some suggestions to get you started. Providing an online feedback channel in many different areas of your site greatly increases the chances a user will give you his or her opinion and ensures and you are getting feedback from current customers, potential customers, and everything in between. Providing feedback widgets with product-specific feedback (such as feedback on your stroller on the stroller product page) is another great way to encourage communication. Asking for general feedback can overwhelm a person, but asking for feedback on something very specific is easier and thus will increase your response rate. Time to get interactive again. Now that you have our six suggestions of where you can include a feedback channel, name three places you want to ask for feedback and why: STEPS TO COLLECTING AMAZING CUSTOMER FEEDBACK 5

8 STEP 4: RESPOND IN A TIMELY MANNER We know what you want from your customers, but what do they want from you? Surprisingly, it s often much simpler than actually creating that leopard print iphone case they requested. They want to feel heard. Consider the following from Inc. magazine: When you have made a change that is customer-driven and meaningful, close the loop with the customers (personally or via other channels) who were part of the feedback process, Wood advises. This step is critical, because customers will be encouraged to give input if they know they are being heard and know they may be driving change. You might set up your customer feedback mailbox to generate an automatic response initially thanking customers for their feedback, but you still need to follow up after the problem is corrected and get back to that customer with a more detailed response. One of the most important things to remember is that these are human beings and if you don t have that kind of communication and close the feedback loop, you don t have the human touch between yourself and the customer, Finkelstein says. That s a very big loss for any company. Part of the benefit of customer feedback is getting honest, actionable feedback from your customers. Obvious, right? A less obvious benefit is making a personal connection with your customers, which is simple as long as you get back to your customers in a timely fashion. Different types of feedback require different levels and feedback. A problem should take first priority, followed by a question, ideas, and finally, praise. Don t misunderstand: all types of feedback should be replied to by a company employee. Prioritizing your workflow around topic types, however, will help you keep customer satisfaction high. The Get Satisfaction platform includes topic statuses, which allow you to set a status such as under consideration or not planned on a piece of feedback to let customers know that the company has viewed it. The guide below gives useful information on when to set a particular status on a topic. To get started with planning your own feedback response strategy, determine the response times that are appropriate for your company by filling in the blanks below: Problems Response 5 STEPS TO COLLECTING AMAZING CUSTOMER FEEDBACK 6

9 Actual hours to 1 st response Status: Not a problem: Obviously not caused by our product Acknowledged: We can reproduce the problem and have filed a bug. Make sure a corresponding bug number has been filed within product development system, and that tracking number is added as a tag or UDC In Progress: Problem is currently being addressed Solved: The fix has been implemented. Use re-direct (when applicable) to point to Company Update announcing the fix. Questions Actual hours to 1st response Goal: hours to 1st response Status: Answered: Questions related to your company or service should be answered Doesn t need an answer: Anything unrelated to your company or service, or topics that are created to be responded to by other members. Ideas Actual: Post a reply and, if possible, an opinion w/in hours Goal: Post a reply and, if possible, an opinion w/in hours (Development and Product team highly encouraged to join these conversations) 5 STEPS TO COLLECTING AMAZING CUSTOMER FEEDBACK 7

10 Status: No Status: Keep all new ideas without a status. Status is determined in cooperation with the development or product team. Under consideration: When the development or product team determines that the idea is worth pursuing, but a project plan hasn t been created. Planned: When a product plan has been created and the idea is slated for release Not Planned: When it s either clear that an idea won t be developed, or the development or product team rejects it. Goal: hours to 1 st response Implemented: Once implemented, update topic and use the Redirect tool to point to the company update/blog post announcing the new feature. Praise Actual: Acknowledgment within hours of post Goal: Acknowledgment within hours of post Status: Mark as Complete in Management View so these don t come up under Needs attention filter. Archive: Only if Praise refers to a change that is no longer relevant to the service, thus causing confusion for other community members. 5 STEPS TO COLLECTING AMAZING CUSTOMER FEEDBACK 8

11 STEP 5: MEASURE, MEASURE, MEASURE Data collection is not the goal of customer feedback; interpretation of the data is. You ve done an incredible job of setting a goal, choosing a tool, putting it everywhere, and responding to customer feedback. To get any value out of this feedback, aside from those warm and fuzzy feelings from your customers, you need to take the information you ve gathered and put it to good use. While every customer feedback goal requires a different set of measurement criteria, here are some suggested metrics to get you started: 1. Total number of feedback submissions collected 4. Total visitors to feedback site or widget (note: only applies to publicly available feedback tools). 5. Most active feedback topics (by number of replies and/or up votes) 6. Most visited feedback topics 7. Overall customer sentiment (note: this is easily measured with Get Satisfaction s self-reported sentiment but may be possible to measure with other platforms as well) 8. Number of employee responses Measuring and reporting on metrics is essential, not just to knowing if you are fixing individual customers problems, but because putting an efficient process in place for dealing with customer feedback helps you cultivate a loyal customer base. Consider the following from The Wall Street Journal: Learning from failures is more important than simply fixing problems for individual customers, because process improvements increase overall customer satisfaction and thus have a direct impact on the bottom line. But companies generally obtain and study only a fraction of the servicefailure data that could be gathered from customers, employees and managers. Even when managers agree that customer feedback is essential, there is often poor information flow between the division that collects and deals with customer problems and the rest of the organization. In some cases, one study revealed, the more negative feedback a customer-service department collects, the more isolated that department becomes, because it doesn t want to be seen by the company at large as a source of friction. Which is why the final step of measuring feedback is sharing your findings with your team and, when possible, your entire company, on a regular basis. A weekly update with customer feedback stats and commentary is an excellent way of keeping everyone up to date. This also keeps every department accountable for improvement with regards to customer satisfaction. 5 STEPS TO COLLECTING AMAZING CUSTOMER FEEDBACK 9

12 CONCLUSION: RINSE AND REPEAT The difference between a good company and a great company is not a difference in technology, money, or supergenius brainpower. The difference lies in how well you know your customers and how well, through knowing them, you cultivate a loyal customer base. Continuously iterating on these five steps will bring you further and further along the process of building excellent products that your customers truly want. There are an infinite number of reasons you might be interested in customer feedback, but all of these reasons require connecting to your customers and having open, productive conversations. Building a community of customers can t be done over night and is a continuous process, but its value cannot be overstated. After you ve gone through the five steps in this e book, it s time to go through your own feedback process to evaluate: Have your goals changed? Are you happy with the tools that you ve chosen? Is there anywhere else you should be providing feedback channels? Are you responding in a timely, friendly manner? Are you measuring the right things? Engage Your Customers with the Get Satisfaction Feedback Widget Click here to set up your own Feedback Community powered by Get Satisfaction. 5 STEPS TO COLLECTING AMAZING CUSTOMER FEEDBACK 10

13 SOURCES: Step 2: Step 4: Step 5: ttp://www.inc.com/guides/2010/07/how-to-make-most-ofcustomer-feedback_pagen_2.html Conclusion: 5 STEPS TO COLLECTING AMAZING CUSTOMER FEEDBACK 11

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