DO Start early
Ideally, feedback should be part of your production plan from the very beginning when you're looking to release a new website or feature. It's not only a useful marketing activity to manage your online reputation, but it also may help you find the areas of your business that need improvement. The earlier you ask for feedback, the easier it will be to correct any problems that exist. You can monitor activities manually, or use an all-in-one monitoring service such as Sysomos or Brandwatch.
DO Ask the right questions
Don't just start asking for feedback about this, that, and the other thing from anyone who is within earshot. Before you start collecting feedback, it's important that you clearly define why you're seeking it. Consider what's changed on your site from a visitor's perspective. What do you plan to do with the data you collect? How will you collect enough quality data to draw conclusions and make a difference?
Your approach should be structured. Always be specific and precise in your questions. Don't ask generic questions such as, "Do you like it?" Design in particular is a highly subjective area so it's important to stay objective and factual and ask follow-up questions to get a better understanding of the full picture. For a laugh, check out these 72 posters of ridiculous design feedback for some examples of poor feedback you might receive and need to follow up on...
DO Make it easy for users to provide feedback
It's not easy to collect feedback from frustrated or disappointed customers. Usually people just leave without telling you why. It's a good idea to offer various touch points across your website and have a contact page.
Feedback forms are a another good way to capture feedback about minor annoyances and issues visitors encounter on a web page. These forms can be implemented at the bottom of every page so your users can easily tell you when something isn't working for them. Make sure this form is simple and easy to use - these visitors probably have little motivation to tell us about these usually small problems. Knowing about them early on will prevent future visitors from experiencing the same frustrations.
DO Get the timing right
Knowing when to ask for feedback is crucial in getting better feedback. You wouldn't want to ask your visitors for a review of your site as soon as they arrive on your homepage, would you? Let them look around a little first. Take advantage of website tracking tools like Google Analytics or Heap to filter out users who have visited a certain number of pages or have engaged in specific activities you want their input on.
Exit intents are a good way to grab your website visitors attention right before leaving. Use pop-up display messages to ask visitors for suggestions for improvement when they are about to leave the site. Tools like AddThis and HelloBar are useful if you're looking for fresh insights on your new website or feature. HelloBars are also great for welcoming new visitors and gathering feedback on initial impressions of a new design or content piece.
DO Make your feedback public and respond to customers' concerns
Customer feedback is a powerful tool and should be an essential component of every aspect of your business, not just your website. In today's world, customers have multiple channels available to them where they can voice their frustrations. If you aren't providing a platform where they can easily alert you of their concerns, they'll find one on their own. People vent about issues across various social media channels where you have less control of the outcome. Unless you have a strategy for collecting and responding to customers concerns where they are, you will miss out on the key insight that comes from consistent and complete feedback. If you have an opportunity to understand and learn from your customers, you should take it. This will make your customers happy and ultimately help your business grow.
Another tip is not to take feedback too personally. There will always be negative comments and reviews. You simply can't please everyone. What you can do, however, is turn negative feedback into a positive though by making your customers feel heard and responding publicly to help solve their issues. Instead of deleting a poor review, consider the benefits of making an example of it. Customers actually get very skeptical of products and services with all positive reviews. When you show your negative feedback and have a strategy for responding to and addressing the issues, your customers and prospects will appreciate your proactive and quick approach. In time and with consistency, this will lead to more loyal customers and repeat business.
People often stop doing business with a company as a result of negative customer service experiences. Delight customers by turning their negative experiences into positive ones by showing you care about their concerns, even if you can't completely rectify the situation. Try to send your responses within 24 hours of the original review. Customers don't always want a refund or replacement. Normally, just acknowledging the problem and their frustrations will make all the difference. If you're not sure how to reply to their concerns, try asking for a more detailed description of the issues at hand. Be understanding of each customer or prospect and make improvements to your website or business processes in response.
DO Experiment with different methods of collecting feedback
Here are some other effective ways of collecting feedback:
Sales conversations - Your sales team probably already talks to prospects all day. Look to your team and CRM for further understanding of your prospects needs and goals.
Surveys - Surveys are easy to set up, send out and analyze. Surveys can scale very well, but be careful: Only ask for what you need and keep it short. Ask any open-ended questions you have first, so as not to bias the user or overwhelm them with increasing complexity. Remember, you want to make the process of providing feedback simple.
Reach out directly - If you want to understand someone, have a real conversation with them. You could have similar feedback from several customers but each of these customers could have different reasons for wanting to complete an action. Understanding the WHY is very important to finding the right solution.
Usability tests - User testing offers you the chance to watch and listen to real people in your target market navigate your site. Testers can record their screen and talk out loud as they go through your site, noting the things you are doing well, and what they are having a difficult time with. UserTesting.com is a great tool that offers tests starting at $39 per person. Userbrain is another tool you can use to put yourself in the shoes of your website visitors. With Userbrain, you receive a 5-10 minute long video from a random user exploring your site and speaking out loud his or her thoughts.
Here are some tools that you can take advantage of to further the quality and quantity of your feedback:
Qualaroo is a popular service that you may have seen being used on other sites. With Qualaroo, your visitors will see a dialogue window asking the questions that matter to you. Analytics tell you what people are doing, Qualaroo website surveys can tell you why.
Inspectlet records videos of your visitors as they use your site, allowing you to see every mouse movement, scroll, click and keypress on the site. You'll never wonder how visitors are using your site again!
UserResponse allows you to gather ideas, organize online documentation and provide support with customer feedback software, help desk ticketing system packed in one simple solution
Did we miss any of your favorite ways of gathering customer or prospect feedback on your website or business? Let us know in the comments!
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