8 Strategies to Collect Customer Feedback

Reading Time: 9 Minutes

Collecting feedback from customers can be a game-changer for your business. These findings help refine your products and services, thus amplifying customer satisfaction and loyalty. But how can you harvest this feedback and encourage glowing reviews? 

We’ll explore practical techniques for inviting customers to share their thoughts and experiences and discuss tools and techniques that can simplify the feedback collection process. Are you ready to turn customer feedback into growth? Let’s get started.

What Is Customer Feedback?

Customer feedback is the information and opinions from customers about their experiences with some products, services, or brands. 

Types of Customer Feedback

Direct feedback 

Direct feedback is the information and opinions customers give explicitly. 

Examples of direct feedback: 

  • Surveys, 
  • Online reviews,
  • Customer support interactions,
  • Net Promoter Score (NPS).

Direct feedback serves a useful purpose since it helps businesses understand customer satisfaction, spot development zone, and make strategic decisions.

Indirect feedback

Indirect feedback is the information about customer experiences and opinions extracted passively, without customers being explicitly asked for it. This type of feedback is derived from customers’ actions, behaviors, and interactions with a brand. 

Examples of indirect feedback: 

  • Social media comments,
  • Behavioral data,
  • Analytics and metrics,
  • User testing and usability studies,
  • Customer support interactions.

For a B2B online marketing agency, indirect feedback provides a broader view of customer experiences because it retrieves data that may not be revealed through direct feedback methods. Moreover, since this type of feedback is acquired passively, it is less likely to be influenced by the customer’s desire to provide positive or negative responses.

Why Collect Feedback?

Collecting feedback from your customers is more than just a good practice. Nearly all buyers—98%, to be exact—read online reviews before making a purchase decision. Furthermore, 82% of people trust the voice of other customers more than messages from the brand itself.

For businesses, the benefits are tangible. An impressive 85% of small and medium-sized enterprises report that online customer feedback has been beneficial to their operations. 

Moreover, listening to customers is an innate part of innovation. According to SurveyMonkey research, 91% of people believe that companies should break new ground by listening to their customers, not relying solely on internal experts.

Customer feedback helps businesses win trust, make decisions, innovate, and embrace significant economic opportunities.

8 Sources of Customer Feedback

1. Surveys

A survey is a research used to collect data from a predefined group of respondents. It involves asking a series of questions to obtain information about individuals’ opinions, behaviors, and experiences. 

Types of questions in a survey:

  • Closed-ended questions with predefined options for answers (e.g., multiple choice, yes/no);
  • Open-ended questions for respondents to answer in their words;
  • Likert scale questions where respondents rate their level of agreement on a scale (e.g., 1-5).

How to distribute surveys? 

  • Through email, in other words, a survey is sent directly to a customer’s email.

Advantages: high customization, targeted distribution, and the ability to reach customers post-purchase or after a specific interaction.

Best practices: keep questions concise, personalize the email, and incentivize customers to complete it.

  • Through a website when a survey is embedded on a company’s website, often as pop-ups or embedded forms.

Advantages: real-time feedback, the customer is actively engaged with your site.

Best practices: trigger surveys based on user behavior (e.g., time spent on a page), make sure they are unobtrusive, and use clear, concise questions.

  • Through mobile devices, sent via SMS or through mobile apps.

Advantages: high engagement rates, particularly for on-the-go feedback.

Best practices: Keep surveys short and mobile-friendly, use clear call-to-actions, and consider the context of mobile usage.

  • Through a mobile app, prompting users to give feedback while using the app.

Advantages: contextual feedback, higher response rates from engaged users.

Best practices: send surveys at appropriate moments (e.g., after completing a task), keep them short, and make them easy to dismiss if the user is uninterested in them.

Best practices for designing surveys

  • Define what you want to learn from the survey;
  • Provide options for respondents (e.g., multiple choice, rating scales);
  • Suggest open-ended questions. Use these sparingly to avoid survey fatigue;
  • Keep surveys as short as possible. The optimal volume of a survey is 5–10 questions;
  • Use simple, straightforward language. Avoid jargon and ensure questions are easy to understand;
  • Put questions to categorize and arrange them in a logical order.

Before you send a survey to all your customers, conduct a pilot test with a small group to pinpoint any issues with question clarity or survey functionality.

2. Online Reviews

Online reviews are written opinions and ratings from customers shared on review platforms, e-commerce websites, and social media. 

Types of online reviews:

  • Product reviews on e-commerce sites like Amazon, where customers rate and write about their experiences with products;
  • Service reviews on platforms like Yelp or Google Reviews, focusing on the quality of services provided by businesses such as restaurants, hotels, or salons;
  • Platform-specific reviews on particular sectors, such as TripAdvisor for travel and tourism or Glassdoor for employee experiences;
  • Social media reviews on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, etc., where users post about their experiences and tag businesses.

Reviews help upcoming customers assess the quality and reliability of a product or service associated with the experiences of others.

How to collect and manage online reviews?

  1. Prompt customers to leave reviews after a purchase or service experience. Offer incentives like discounts or loyalty points to reassure customers to write reviews.
  2. Use tools like Hootsuite, Brandwatch, or Sprout Social to check mentions across social media and review websites. Tools like Yotpo or Trustpilot help collect and manage reviews from multiple platforms in one place.
  3. Thank customers for positive feedback to show appreciation and reinforce good experiences. Reply to negative reviews as well. Respond to them professionally and constructively, solving raised issues.

Best practices for receiving online reviews

  • Be open and honest in your responses to reviews;
  • Respond to reviews, especially negative ones, to show that you value customer feedback and are committed to solving issues;
  • Stay professional in all interactions, even when dealing with negative reviews;
  • Use feedback from reviews to elevate the quality of your products and services.

With well-implemented online reviews, businesses can add points to their reputation and attract more customers.

3. Social Media

4.95 billion people use social media, with an average user engaged with 6.7 social media platforms. Social media is a vast pool of unfiltered, honest feedback that helps shape products, services, and customer relations strategies.

As of February 2024, the Top 10 social media platforms worldwide include:

* in brackets we state the number of monthly active users in millions

  1. Facebook (3,030), 
  2. YouTube (2,491),
  3. WhatsApp (2,000), 
  4. Instagram (2,000), 
  5. WeChat (1,327),
  6. TikTok (1,218),
  7. FB Messenger (1,036),
  8. Telegram (800),
  9. Snapchat (750), 
  10. Douyin (743).

Social media provide instantaneous feedback, which means businesses can quickly respond to customer inquiries. Plus, customers tend to be more candid on social media and give honest feedback that might not be accessed through formal surveys.

How to collect feedback from social media? 

  • Use social media listening tools:

Hootsuite looks after brand mentions, hashtags, and keywords across multiple social media platforms;

Brandwatch provides in-depth analytics and insights from social media data;

Sprout Social monitors and evaluates social media interactions and trends.

  • Employ analytics platforms:

Google Analytics integrates with social media to observe engagement and feedback metrics;

Buffer Analyze offers data about social media performance and user interactions.

  • Integrate customer relationship management (CRM) systems:

Salesforce Social Studio integrates social media feedback into CRM, helping manage and respond to customer feedback;

HubSpot traces through social media interactions.

Best practices for inspecting social media feedback

  • Consistently supervise social media mentions, comments, and messages to stay updated on customer feedback;
  • Respond to positive and negative feedback in a timely and professional manner. Acknowledge praise and address complaints constructively;
  • Use social media listening and analytics tools to determine trends, common issues, and areas for development;
  • Stimulate customers to share their experiences and feedback on social media through calls to action in posts, campaigns, and customer communications.

After you gain customer feedback, convert it into strategies to lift products, services, and customer experience.

4. Customer Support Interactions

Customer support interactions occur through phone calls, emails, live chats, and social media messages. These interactions promise direct messages about customers’ experiences, issues, and satisfaction levels.

Types of customer support interactions:

  • Phone support: customers call a support hotline to get help with their issues. 

Call recording and analysis tools: CallRail, Talkdesk.

  • Email support: customers send emails to the support team to resolve issues or ask questions. 

Email management systems: Zendesk, Freshdesk.

  • Live chat support: customers exchange messages with support agents on the company’s website or app. 

Live chat software: Intercom, LiveChat, Drift.

  • Social media support: customers reach out for support through social media.

Social media management tools: Hootsuite, Sprout Social, or Brandwatch.

Best practices for gaining customer support feedback

  • Use CRM systems and support software to record and categorize all customer interactions;
  • Train support staff to settle issues plus gather and document customer feedback during interactions;
  • Integrate feedback from support interactions into broader customer feedback systems to create a unified view of customer sentiments and issues;
  • Communicate how customers’ feedback helped advance your workflow.

Regularly review and update support processes to heighten customer service and satisfaction. Establish a feedback loop where customer support data triggers regular reviews and updates of support protocols.

5. Net Promoter Score (NPS) Survey

NPS is a customer loyalty metric by Fred Reichheld, Bain & Company, and Satmetrix. It has only one question: “On a scale of 0 to 10, how likely are you to recommend our company/product/service to a friend or colleague?”

Respondents are classified into three categories:

  • Promoters (9-10): loyal enthusiasts who will keep buying from you and refer others;
  • Passives (7-8): satisfied but unenthusiastic customers, vulnerable to competitive offerings;
  • Detractors (0-6): unhappy customers who can damage your brand and impede growth through negative word of mouth.

This is how NPS is calculated:  

   NPS = % Promoters -% Detractors

‘NPS is easy to implement. It requires just one question. NPS can come with open-ended follow-up questions, for instance, “What is the primary reason for your score?” In this case, business owners gain more grounded answers and understand why a customer rates them like that,’ adds Pavel Buev, Senior SEO Specialist at Digital Marketing Agency Ocean Power. 

Best practices for implementing NPS

  • Send the NPS survey shortly after purchase or interaction to seize immediate feedback;
  • Distribute NPS surveys through email, SMS, in-app prompts, and website pop-ups;
  • Guarantee respondents that their feedback remains anonymous and confidential;
  • Follow up with Detractors to tackle their concerns and find ways to polish their experience;
  • Share NPS results with your team to set up a customer-centric culture.

Over time, sound out how your NPS has changed. Combine NPS with customer feedback metrics like Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) and Customer Effort Score (CES) to get a full view of customer experience.

6. User Testing and Usability Studies

User testing and usability studies help pile feedback on the functionality, design, and overall user experience. 

User testing involves real users performing tasks with a product or prototype to single out usability problems and pick out feedback. It is conducted in a controlled environment where facilitators observe and record user interactions.

Usability studies evaluate the overall user experience, often involving multiple methods such as user testing, surveys, and interviews. These studies focus on understanding how users interact with a product.

Best practices for holding user testing and usability studies

  • Decide what you want to learn from the testing or study;
  • Ensure that test participants accurately represent your target audience;
  • Design tasks that reflect actual user scenarios and challenges;
  • Use screen recording software, cameras, and note-taking to capture user interactions and feedback.

For user testing and usability studies, you can employ:

  • UserTesting for recording and interpreting user interactions with websites and apps;
  • Lookback for live user testing sessions with real-time observation and feedback;
  • Optimal Workshop for tree testing, card sorting, and other usability testing methods;
  • Hotjar for heatmaps, recordings, and feedback tools to understand user behavior on websites.

When holding user testing, support users to share their thoughts and feelings about their experience. To get an all-encompassing result, combine qualitative observations (e.g., user comments, behaviors) with quantitative metrics (e.g., task completion rates, time on task).

7. Behavioral Data and Analytics

Behavioral data is information depicting how users interact with your product or service. This includes actions such as clicks, page views, time spent on a page, navigation paths, and purchase history.

Types of behavioral data:

  • Clickstream data screens the sequence of user clicks or actions on a website or app;
  • Session data records the entire session of a user’s interaction with your digital property, including entry and exit points;
  • Transactional data takes details of purchases: items bought, frequency, and transaction value;
  • Engagement data measures user engagement through metrics like time on site, bounce rate, and interaction with content.

Behavioral data produces objective, quantitative results on user behavior, free from biases that can affect survey responses or interviews. 

Best practices for implementing behavioral data and analytics

  • Establish goals for what you want to achieve with behavioral analytics, such as reforming user engagement, multiplying conversion rates, or establishing friction points;
  • Select appropriate tools for collecting and scrutinizing behavioral data. Popular options: Google Analytics, Mixpanel, Hotjar, and Adobe Analytics;
  • Segment your data to figure out behavior patterns among different user groups, such as new vs. returning users or high-value vs. low-value customers;
  • Utilize data visualization tools (Tableau, Power BI) to create dashboards and reports.

Detailed tracking of user journeys helps diagnose specific pain points in the user experience. Understanding individual user behavior enables businesses to deliver personalized experiences, raising engagement and satisfaction.

8. Customer Advisory Boards (CABs)

A Customer Advisory Board is a group of influential customers convened by a company to provide advice and feedback on the company’s products, services, and business direction. Members are typically high-value customers or industry leaders whose knowledge can help shape the company’s future.

Best practices for implementing CABs

  • Choose members who are knowledgeable, influential, and representative of your broader customer base;
  • Communicate the purpose, format, and expected commitment to potential CAB members. Outline the frequency of meetings, typical agenda items, and how their feedback will be used;
  • Use structured agendas, roundtable discussions, and anonymous feedback mechanisms to confirm all voices are heard;
  • Ensure that CAB members see value in their participation, such as gaining industry secrets, networking opportunities, and influencing product development. Share how their feedback has been implemented and how it has impacted the business;
  • Rotate CAB members periodically to bring fresh perspectives and keep the discussions dynamic. Balance continuity with new ideas by maintaining some long-term members while introducing new ones.

CABs provide strategic-level feedback that can inform long-term business decisions and direction. Feedback from CABs can validate new product ideas, guaranteeing they meet market needs before full-scale development. Involving industry leaders and influential customers in a CAB can level up the company’s credibility and reputation.

Conclusion

Collecting customer feedback is elemental for lifting the workflow of your enterprise. The eight strategies we discussed help reap valuable information:

  • Surveys help estimate customer satisfaction, preferences, and opinions;
  • Online reviews are there to signal the value of your business to future customers;
  • Social media assist in assembling a personalized brand for your audience;
  • Customer support interactions reveal gaps in your business;
  • Net Promoter Score (NPS) allows calculating customer loyalty;
  • User testing and usability studies make it possible to detect usability issues;
  • Behavioral data and analytics provides insights into how customers use your product;
  • Customer Advisory Boards (CABs) advise on strategies and personalization options.

Employing these strategies, you can erect a convenient feedback system that secures diverse perspectives, drives continuous progress, and enhances customer satisfaction. Implementing best practices in each area confirms that feedback is actionable, therefore leading to better products, services, and customer experiences.

I'm Allison Dunn,

Your Business Executive Coach

Join our list for exclusive tips, content and a welcome gift – our ebook on how to engage your team and boost profits.