Customer feedback is critical throughout the business journey.

While the numbers of business paint a picture as to what’s going on, customer feedback and indeed staff feedback offers an insight into why.

But where and when should you seek feedback, and what will it allow you to learn?

Why feedback matters

Customer feedback provides a level of detail about your business that goes far beyond what your quarterly numbers and data may reveal.

In many ways it provides the ‘why’ of trends occurring within your business.

Importantly, customer feedback can reveal something is ‘wrong’, or ‘right’ long before that becomes apparent in your sales data and business ledgers. And this allows you to take action early, either doubling down on your efforts, or altering a product or service to better suit your ideal customer.

Meanwhile, seeking feedback from your clientele also helps foster a two-way conversation that indicates you value your customer’s opinion and are prepared to alter your business or offering to meet their needs.

But how and where do you seek feedback?

Where to seek feedback

In reality, client feedback is all around us in business, but one of the best ways to understand how a customer is feeling or what they are experiencing is to ask.

So let’s take a look at the different methods of gaining feedback.

Monitor social media

Comments on social media or ratings on Google provide an insight into how your customer felt about their experience with you or a product they have purchased.

These channels should be consistently monitored, and you should pay attention to the feedback provided.

Social media and reviews offer a critical insight into what your customers believe are the positives and negatives of dealing with your business.

Live chat

If your business has a live chat feature, it’s worth analysing this to see if there are common questions, complaints or issues that arise.

Each of these can offer a clue into what’s working and what may need improvement in terms of service, or perhaps product questions and complaints.

Phone inquiries

Like live chat, the phone inquiries your business receives provides an insight into common issues that your customers may be experiencing.

Consider, what type of themes emerge when it comes to phone calls made to your business? Do people need more information about how to use your product? Were they happy, or unhappy with the level of service?

Customer feedback surveys

If you really want to get to the heart of how your customer feels, a simple customer feedback survey is a great option.

Whether you use an email survey, paper survey or draw on tools like dedicated survey hardware located at your premises, a survey can really drill down into what your customer is experiencing when they deal with your business.

And there is a wealth of options available, from survey software to hardware, email templates, plus more.

Net Promoter scores

Net promoter scores provide an insight into how loyal your customer is likely to be to your brand.

Although not all businesses consistently monitor their NPS, it is a great way to see how your business is travelling and whether the customer experience is likely to see it primed for growth.

In short ascertaining your NPS involves asking how likely someone is to recommend your product, services, business or brand to their network of friends and relatives.

The more people who are likely to recommend you, the better your business is performing.

Quarterly business reviews

Regular reviews of your business performance provide a big-picture perspective of how your operation is tracking. While these numbers can help identify when something is going awry, it’s then about using the above tools to pinpoint the exact problem.

Compiling the data

With the feedback in hand, it’s time to start distilling it so you can take action and there are different ways to do this, depending on the size of your operation.

Some people opt for tools like Google sheets, where they input the information in categories, others draw on their CRM, or other automated analytical tools.

Regardless, the data needs to be compiled and analysed to find common themes and painpoints throughout the customer journey that need to be remedied.

Acting on the feedback

Once you know what the issues are and where they’re located in a business, it’s time to create strategies, policies and procedures to fix any issues or bugs.

That means clearly defining the problem and allocating it to the right department to take the required action.

Closing the loop

The last stage of seeking feedback involves closing the loop. This involves letting customers know you have heard them and have acted upon their feedback.

And again, there are a variety of ways to do this. You can thank customers for the feedback provided, reward them for their time, produce a report with the findings and strategies you have implemented, or let them know on your website/social media channels about your improved offering.

However, most importantly, the customer’s next encounter with your brand should reflect the changes you have made in a bid to improve their experience.

After all, actions speak far louder than words, and nothing indicates how valuable a customer is to you than listening to them and tailoring the experience to their liking.