Main illustration: Leonardo Santamaria
There are many reasons an organization seeks out customer feedback. A support team will want to know if they were helpful, while a product team might need help prioritizing what to build next.
Whether you’re measuring success, monitoring customer trends or gathering input for a product decision, customer feedback is an essential part of staying competitive and growing your business.
With so many use cases for customer feedback, having an organized approach to ensure you’re not asking too much of your customers is challenging. Creating the ideal customer experience, while trying to maximize survey response rates can feel like competing interests. And as your need for feedback increases, so does the complexity of coordinating and managing those requests. On top of that, different situations can require feedback in different formats at different times and from different people.
So what can you do to make sure you get the feedback you need while maintaining a cohesive customer experience?
Coordinate across the organization
Sending too many messages is a real risk. Coordinate requests for customer feedback across your organization to make sure you don’t unintentionally spam your customers. Define which teams are responsible for conducting feedback and set limits around how often you ask. Using a representative sample for feedback can also help you avoid over-messaging. By keeping everyone in the loop, you’ll avoid asking redundant questions.
Find the right time and cadence
There’s a lot to consider when it comes to the cadence of customer feedback requests. Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. It’s different for each business. However there are two types of feedback that are worth distinguishing here.
First, there’s event-based feedback that you want to collect after a user takes a specific action or reaches a significant moment in the customer lifecycle. Events could be regarded as customer support conversations, a first purchase or account churn.
In general, this sort of feedback is better when it’s collected sooner rather than later. Asking a customer to rate a support conversation a week after it happened is a recipe for a low-quality response. A simple survey immediately after an event is ideal as long as you’re not distracting the user from taking a more important action. For example, you probably shouldn’t ask for customer feedback halfway through an onboarding flow.
It’s also worth considering automating these sorts of customer feedback requests. This will help you capture feedback at regular intervals and in consistent formats so you can track trends with confidence. If you have a large customer base or are concerned about over-messaging, you should consider whether or not you need to collect feedback from every customer, every time this event occurs.
The other type of feedback requests are those that are not tied to a specific event, such as product research surveys. This feedback can be manual, automated, periodic or intermittent but because it isn’t tied to a specific event you have more flexibility over when you make the request. You should still optimize the timing so it doesn’t negatively impact the customer experience.
Find the right channel
Where’s the best place to ask for customer feedback? For a product that a customer spends a lot of time using, embedding the feedback collection in the product, aka an in-app message, will likely increase your response rate and create a smoother experience. Moreover, if you use a product like Intercom, you can respond in real-time to negative feedback via a messenger.
On the other hand, email might be better for a product that customers don’t spend as much time in. If it’s important to get a reply, you can send a survey via an in-app message and then follow up with an email if you don’t receive a response.
Make it easy for customers
Always be respectful of a customer’s time when asking for feedback. Unless you incentivize feedback, your customers are doing you a favor so you should aim to make the experience as hassle-free as possible. Ask straight-forward questions and select the right format for customers to answer.
When it comes to format, there are two main types: open-ended and closed-ended. Open-ended questions allow for more detail, but are tougher to measure. You might end up with too little information or even too much. They generally take more time to answer as well and are therefore a more significant ask of your customer. Closed-ended questions are better for quantitative measurements and are typically easier for a person to answer in a short amount of time.
All in all, don’t waste your customers’ time. Only ask for feedback you really need and make it as easy as possible to do so. If you need more detailed or qualitative responses, consider incentivizing responses with a product discount or a gift card.
You get what you give
The quality of the customer feedback you receive is tied to the experience of how you ask it. You should always aim to be organized and respectful. Good feedback brings your team closer to your customers so you can serve them better in all aspects. Every team benefits from strengthening this bond, whether they’re on sales, product, or support.
If you are looking for a way to collect customer feedback from your customers? Intercom allows you to embed customer feedback apps directly in your in-app and website messages. We have apps built by AskNicely, Wootric, and Typeform.