Auditing your performance is a standard business practice. Regular performance reports let you know what you’re doing right, what you’re doing wrong, and what needs changing. In addition, you can tell how your business is doing by looking at data—like sales, site traffic, brand mentions, reviews, and so on.
However, there’s nothing like asking the customer directly. Getting feedback straight from your customers saves you from speculating. For example, instead of concluding that one of your landing pages isn’t effective, you get to ask customers exactly why it isn’t working.
That said, using customer feedback forms is not without its challenges. You want honest feedback, not just a positive one. In some cases, customers will write down inaccurate and nonsensical responses, which don’t really help paint a picture of their experience with you.
So, how do you get accurate and thoughtful responses in your feedback forms? Here are a few valuable tips to help you create the most effective customer feedback form:
Customers who stand to benefit from changes and improvements in your business model are most likely to give you honest feedback.
People don’t care about writing accurate feedback for shops and brands they don’t usually buy from or recognize. After all, if they don’t come back as often or know much about you, they won’t really care to give their actual feedback.
However, if you are a brand they know, like, or consistently buy from, they will have an incentive to air out what they think of your company, products, and services.
You can reach familiar customers through the following ways:
- Email Drip. Send electronic feedback forms to people subscribed to your email list.
- Loyalty programs. Ask members of your loyalty program (i.e., membership cardholders) to fill out a brief feedback form at check-out.
If you’re a small business, you might be able to recognize your regulars as soon as they step into the store. If so, you can ask them to fill out forms while they’re waiting in line or while they’re dining in.
In any case, choosing return customers who already have a connection with your company is a great way to avoid unwilling participants.
If you have a wide range of products and services, it might be wise to use targeted feedback forms for different customers.
For example, you can give feedback forms to customers based on their recent product purchases. You can ask them about the products they paid for and disregard other categories that weren’t in their transactions.
Though you have multiple versions of your feedback form, each one will be considerably shorter. This also makes it easier to hand out brief feedback forms while the customer is waiting in line or at check-out.
However, this method might require you to get more responses. After all, you want to audit data about your entire business model to know how you’re doing.
As mentioned, customers don’t really have a concrete incentive to write accurate and thoughtful feedback. You are asking for their time, so it’s crucial that it doesn’t cause them any more trouble.
If customers have a terrible time navigating your website, answering your feedback form, or understanding your questions, they might get frustrated and give up on it.
You’ll get more high-quality responses if your survey is easy to find, understand, and fill out. The more high-quality answers you get, the more valuable it is in assessing customer feedback.
Here are a few ways you can make feedback forms as accessible as possible:
- Send direct links to the feedback form instead of asking customers to find it themselves.
- Pay attention to your website’s UX (i.e., loading speeds, navigation, color scheme, etc.) so people aren’t having a hard time navigating to your forms.
- Proofread and edit your questions.
- Choose standard fonts that are easy to read.
Even your most loyal customers have their own personal schedules to attend to. So avoid giving your customers 5-page feedback forms.
Feedback forms that take too long to fill out won’t hold the respondent’s attention, and they’ll end up either abandoning it or start writing rushed responses.
Here are easy ways to make feedback forms short and straightforward:
- Use A Satisfaction Scale. Ask customers to rate each category in 1-5 (i.e., 1 being the worst and 5 being the best). This makes answering forms quicker than letting them write down paragraphs.
- Use A Checklist. Have customers check off categories of products that they like. You can ask for more specific suggestions and feedback at the end.
- Use Character Limits. If you’re letting customers write down their thoughts, you can add character limits on text fields. If they have more pressing concerns, ask them to send you an email instead.
Shorter feedback forms don’t just benefit the respondents. It also makes it easier for you to audit their responses. For example, a Likert scale (5-point scale) can be easily translated to data for auditing. More pressing customer issues should be discussed and resolved through other channels.
Customers willing to think about and write down their thoughts will give you more concrete and helpful feedback. However, you need to remember that customer feedback forms are often filled out at the customer’s discretion. If it takes too much of their time, they’ll be less willing to give you accurate information.
Not listening to customer feedback leaves your business stagnant.
However, without accurate information, you won’t be able to properly assess how customers truly feel about your business. Not only do you need to know about the things you’re already doing right, but you also want to know about what you need to improve on.