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How To Get Your Small Business Customers To Give You Feedback

Every business can benefit from listening to what their customers say.  Whether it’s a positive or negative comment, your customers’ feedback is the best business intelligence you’ll ever be able to get your hands on and it’s therefore imperative you get as much of it as you can.

Unfortunately, most customers don’t feel compelled enough to simply tell you what they’re thinking and you very often need to be active in your approach to gaining feedback.

Ask them

And one of the easiest ways to do this is to simply ask.

It might be the most obvious way and you may even feel a little silly doing so, but imagine you had short customer feedback surveys printed and left near to the cash register. If you made no effort to promote them, chances are you’d get the occasional customer filling one in.  They’d notice them when they were paying for their items, have enjoyed – or been frustrated by – the service they received and will complete and return the survey as soon as they can.

Should you actively promote your surveys, however, it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll see a huge increase in the amount of feedback you receive.  It doesn’t have to be anything particularly pushy or over-the-top either – a simple “I’ll pop a short survey into your bag along with your receipt – we’d love to know what you thought of your experience today” could be all it takes.

Do remember that not all of your customers are going to be happy and the more you promote your surveys and the more feedback you receive, the more negative comments you’re going to get.  This is the best type of feedback, however, as your unhappy customers are the ones who truly tell you what they’re thinking, meaning you get a great understanding of where you need to improve.

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Make it easy

In the above situation, notice we said ‘short survey’.  All customers have thoughts on the organisations they shop with and the products or services they buy and although a lot won’t pass on these thoughts freely, given a little nudge, many will.

But no matter how much they’re nudged, if the process is lengthy, they’ll simply walk away.

Your surveys – or any other process to getting feedback – need to be short.  They need to be straight-to-the-point and they need to only cover the most basic of information you require. What this information will be will vary from organisation to organisation and industry to industry, but the simple fact is, if you’re starting to question the length of the feedback process, chances are it’s too long.

Show that you’re listening

Getting the ball rolling in terms of having your customers give you feedback can be a bit of a feat, but once it’s moving, the best way to keep the momentum up is to show your customers you’re listening by acting upon what they’re saying.

You obviously won’t be able to make a development or improvement based on every piece of feedback, but you need to remember that everything your customers tell you is invaluable – and it’s the best information you’ll ever receive about your business.

Even if you can’t react to a certain piece of feedback, it’s always good practice to acknowledge it.  We all like to feel as though we’re being engaged and interacted with and a reply to a piece of feedback could do wonders for the customer’s satisfaction levels and view of your brand overall.

Your customers are the people who you are ultimately trying to please and what they say should be treated as gold.  The information they provide can be considerably beneficial and it’s therefore of the utmost importance that you take the time to encourage your customers to give you feedback – all customers have thoughts on your products or services, but they often need a little push to turn those thoughts into feedback and most importantly, pass them onto you so you can develop in the best way possible.

This post was originally featured on October 9, 2012.

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