6 Simple Tips for Collecting Customer Feedback

Collecting meaningful customer feedback to help your organization improve products and services is no easy task. Getting everyone to agree on what questions to ask and in what format can make collecting the pulse of the customer a project that dies from over-examination.

In June, the Aberdeen Group published a benchmark report on customer feedback management that examined the use and the experiences of 300 enterprise organizations. It revealed a stunning disparity between best-in-class organizations and those that were considered average or below in customer feedback management.

The survey revealed that best-in-class companies are eight times more likely to increase customer satisfaction and 26 times more likely to increase customer retention than average companies because they maintain better customer relationships through customer feedback. Best-in-class organizations are also 19 times more likely to increase customer-focused innovation through their proactive use of feedback data.

Personalized service, better communication, innovation, correcting inefficiencies and strengthening positive customer service differentiators – they’re all vital for customer-focused organizations to stand out from the crowd. Therefore, pinging the Voice of the Customer (VOC) regularly to gauge satisfaction is a necessity. Here are 6 simple tips for managing customer feedback surveys to collect actionable data:

  1. Limit your questions. No one wants to complete a two-page written response survey or fill-in bubbles on rows and rows of almost-identical questions. The average human attention span is about 30 seconds (some sources say it is as little as 8 seconds). Choose five questions and make them count.
  2. Be specific. Be specific in your questions so that your organization can act on the feedback you receive. Broad questions such as “how are we doing?” or “how was your service today?” do not provide actionable data for improvement. Instead ask, “what did you enjoy most about your product or service experience?” what did you find least enjoyable?”, “if we could make one improvement in our product or service, what should it be?” How about “how would you describe our product or service in one word?” Think of the great things marketing could do with the positive responses to this question.
  3. Ask consistent questions across all channels. Ask the same set of questions with the same wording across all channels be it phone, live chat, online, email, etc., unless you’re specifically asking about customer service channel preferences.
  4. Try to capture feedback at the point of interaction. This is when you will receive the most honest and detailed response, when the customer experience is top-of-mind.
  5. Consider providing an incentive to complete a feedback survey. Show your appreciation for your customers’ opinions by offering a discount code or coupon following survey completion. Many customers will never use it, but the gesture is memorable.
  6. Take action on data as soon as possible. Those who have offered their feedback will be waiting to see if your organization actually follows up. Don’t disappoint by gathering customer feedback and then doing nothing with it.


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4 thoughts on “6 Simple Tips for Collecting Customer Feedback

  1. This is a well written post that will educate those just discovering feedback collection and remind those who have been doing it for so long that they may have lost some control of their program.

    I believe that point #6, take action as soon as possible, is critical but often overlooked in our desire “get it right”.

    Thanks for this post.

    • Thanks so much for your comment, Sam. Great insight regarding #6; we all want to do so well on everything, but sometimes we need to pick one or two items to make sure our customers see a timely response. Thanks again!

  2. I’d like to echo Sam’s point above – when you invite user feedback what you’re really inviting is user collaboration. When users take their time to donate useful feedback to your organisation, they deserve to have that responded to as valuable and more often than not are very open to becoming involved in further dialogue. Nothing builds customer loyalty like listening, taking action on feedback and then returning to demonstrate to the customer the valuable results that came about as a consequence of your interactions.