As a business owner, you're invested in making your customers happy. You understand that growing your business has everything to do with rewarding your customers for choosing to shop at your store, as opposed to your competitors' businesses. You've even launched a loyalty rewards program to convert regular customers into loyal ones.
But do you know for sure that your shoppers are satisfied with your products, services, sales staff, and customer service?
Are they experiencing valuable benefits every time they purchase from your business? Or are you customers lukewarm towards your brand? Would they recommend your store to their friends and family, or do they really think your products and services are mediocre at best?
Have you asked them for feedback about your brand?
In 2020, the customer experience management market worldwide was worth $76 billion, according to Grand View Research.
Customer experience is everything in 2021. It's the defining factor that determines whether a business thrives or merely survives. Offer positive experiences to your customers repeatedly, and word-of-mouth marketing will take off. Accidentally inflict negative experiences on your shoppers, and they won't be your shoppers for very long.
The one and only way to truly know where you stand in the minds of your customers is to carefully consider their feedback and implement the necessary improvements they want.
WHY CUSTOMER FEEDBACK IMPROVES BUSINESSES
As shoppers buy from your store and interact with your brand, your POS system and loyalty rewards program compiles nodes of data. Each node of data provides valuable insights about customer behaviors, favored products, top sellers vs. unpopular items, and the data categories go on and on. What the data doesn't provide are the "whys" behind each result. What do we mean by this?
Analytics and data will show you, for example, that 43% of shoppers who purchase a quick-pitch tent from your camping goods store return it within the first 30 days. You know that something must be critically wrong with the product, but you don't know what because you never asked your customers why they're returning it. Are they returning the model because they discovered your competitor is selling the same tent for less money? Or are they returning it because the stakes constantly pop out of the ground whenever the wind picks up? Unless you find out for sure, you won't know whether to lower the price of the quick-pitch tent or stop carrying it altogether.
77% of surveyed customers believe it takes too long to reach a live agent, and 26% have not received an adequate resolution after being transferred from agent to agent, according to
Customer service plays a huge role in collecting honest feedback. In the case of the camping goods store, a disgruntled customer could be far less likely to take the time to offer their feedback if they feel their time has already been wasted simply trying to return the quick-pitch tent. And if the same customer experiences "the runaround" while they're seeking a resolution to their problem, the likelihood of them returning to the camping goods store--or yours--greatly diminishes.
On the other hand, if you implement methods to collect customer feedback, you'll be able to understand all the "whys" that explain the results of your data, and can make changes and improvements to your business accordingly, as well as make beneficial adjustments to your rewards program, its associated swag shop, and your in-store promos.
Does the data show that virtually no one reaches the top tier of your customer loyalty rewards program? Send out a short survey to your members to find out why. When nine out of ten loyalty members tell you it seems impossible to accrue enough points within the stipulated time frame to reach the top tier, you can lower the minimum points for that tier, stir engagement, and make more sales in the long run.
METHODS TO COLLECT CUSTOMER FEEDBACK
Collecting customer feedback, which can then be leveraged to make business improvements, has become the most reliable strategy for nurturing long-term growth. In fact, businesses spend millions of dollars annually to set up feedback channels that consumers will be attracted to and use. What methods can you, as a retailer, use to start collecting insightful customer feedback?
Only 10% of customers will leave a review without being asked, compared to 50% of customers who are asked to leave a review will do so, according to HowToGeek.com.
The easiest way to begin soliciting your customers for their feedback is through your customer loyalty rewards program platform. But how exactly? There are four surefire methods you can use to motivate your customers to offer their honest feedback. If you're feeling ambitious, you can absolutely implement all four methods. Most companies, however, begin by implementing only one or two, which yields great results they can leverage as they make specific improvements to their products, services, and customer service protocols. Let's take a look.
Customer surveys never fail to amass detailed answers to all those "whys" that may have been mysterious to you. Surveys are easy to set up, fast to send out, interesting to analyze, and best of all, they scale very well. There are two kinds of surveys--long and short. You could use both, such as using a short form survey that appears post-purchase on your eCommerce site, for example; and a long form survey that's emailed out to loyalty members twice a year. Use a site like SurveyMonkey to generate your survey questions. The site will provide a link that you can then send out to your loyal customers.
Did you know that your customers, especially your loyalty members, actually know exactly how your business could be better? Every time your loyal customers interact with your brand, whether in-store or online at your eCommerce site, they are forming opinions about where your store stands in terms of meeting their needs and expectations. And they definitely have opinions about your rewards program! Unlike surveys that require carefully constructed questions, feedback boxes are entirely open ended. These boxes, also known as "feedback forms", can appear at the bottom of each product page of your website with a straightforward question like "How can we make this product better for you?" Similarly, you can use feedback boxes within your digital loyalty rewards program and its associated mobile app that asks "How can we make you feel rewarded?" Once the feedback starts rolling in, look for trends and make changes accordingly.
This method of collecting customer feedback is the opposite of automated. Yup, you guessed it, directly reaching out to your customers will involve talking to them. Direct outreach will look different if you're running a B2C or B2B company, but both will see huge benefits when this method is used. The trick is to speak in person in a way that feels natural to the customer. For example, a B2B business, such as a wholesaler that sells to retailers, might invite their valued customers to lunch, one at a time of course. Have your questions prepared in advance--questions that are based on the "whys" your data can't answer. The main areas you'll also want honest feedback about are your pricing, your customer service, the quality of your products, and how you compare to your competitors. For a B2C business, you could host an in-store event, for instance, and approach your loyal customers with questions. Though implementing direct face-to-face outreach to gain feedback might seem like a major production, it will be worth its weight in gold in the long run.
If you think that consumers don't read as many customer reviews as possible before determining whether or not to shop at your store, think again. Online reviews are integral to boosting positive word-of-mouth marketing. These reviews also contain a wealth of feedback that you can use to improve your business. The most popular online review boards are hosted by Google, Yelp, Amazon, and even Angie's List. Neck-and-neck with these review boards in terms of popularity are social media sites like Facebook where consumers love to go to find the best businesses. Mining your reviews for critical feedback to analyze is our last method of collecting customer feedback.
OFFER INCENTIVES TO MOTIVATE CUSTOMER FEEDBACK
What if you're highly ambitious and send out surveys, add feedback boxes, organize direct outreach lunches, and carefully mine your online reviews for nuggets of feedback… and you only get a trickle of customer feedback? This is where incentives come in very handy.
A whopping 72% of loyalty customers will fill out a survey, respond to a poll, or answer customer satisfaction questions when offered an incentive for participating, according to SurveyTown.com.
Incentivizing your loyal customers to provide feedback doesn't necessarily have to turn into a big expense for your company. To give you some ideas, here are the most successful types of incentives you can offer your loyalty program members--and non-loyalty customers, too, for that matter--in exchange for filling out a survey or participating in another form of customer feedback:
● Offer participants a chance to enter an upcoming sweepstakes that has attractive first, second, and third place prizes
● Offer loyalty members a predetermined amount of rewards points for filling out a customer satisfaction survey
● Offer participants free shipping on their next order in exchange for leaving an honest review on Google My Business or your website
ADDITIONAL WAYS TO SURVEY CUSTOMERS
There are even more ways to collect quality customer feedback. Those methods include:
● Ask for feedback after live chat sessions
● Use customer feedback forms on your website
● Send out email surveys to new customers
● Ask for feedback on order confirmation pages
● Ask for feedback when web visitors abandon their online shopping carts
● Display positive customer feedback with a link to leave a review
● Offer a prize or gift in exchange for filling out a survey
● Create in-app feedback forms and polls
● Ask for feedback right after purchase
95% of survey respondents agreed that the customer service they receive influences their loyalty to a brand, according to Microsoft Dynamics 365.
When you collect customer feedback through your loyalty rewards program, you make your loyalty members feel appreciated. You'll be surprised to find out how helpful your customers are and how easily they'll offer constructive criticism. They might even suggest solutions that work!
Loyal~n~Save helps business owners convert shoppers into loyal customers and achieve long-lasting success with our customer loyalty rewards program. If you would like to discover what our loyalty strategists can do for your store, no matter what industry you serve, contact us today.
This article was written by Loyal-n-Save, an omni-channel customer loyalty solution for retailers looking to increase customer retention and new customer acquisition.