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Collecting Customer Feedback is Pointless (Unless You’re Doing it Right)

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Every time you run a crappy customer feedback campaign, a puppy loses its home. Image source.

We’ve all heard that we should be continuously collecting customer feedback to improve our campaigns and businesses as a whole. If we don’t, there are a ton of things that can go unnoticed – major problem areas that are silently killing conversions.

Knowing this, a lot of people run customer feedback campaigns with the help of a widget on their landing page or site… only to quickly dismiss them when they don’t deliver the kind of results they were looking for.

Luckily, in almost all cases, there’s a simple explanation as to why a customer feedback campaign failed to deliver actionable insight – and simple things you can do to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

In this article, I’ll show you how to plan, execute and evaluate your next customer feedback campaign in a way that produces valuable feedback that’ll help improve your conversion rate. You’ll learn:

  • How to determine whether a customer feedback campaign is going to add value to your business.
  • What kind of questions you should (and shouldn’t) ask.
  • How to evaluate the feedback you’ve collected once the campaign is over.

By the end of this article, you’ll have the tools to create customer feedback campaigns that deliver the kind of results you can actually use – not just collate.

Will a customer feedback campaign add value to your business?

So many companies see their competitors doing something and decide to blindly copy it without any real consideration as to whether it’ll work for them. Before you set up your campaign, take a step back and break down why you want to collect customer feedback – and what you hope to achieve.

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It’s important to understand that it’s not always appropriate to include a feedback widget on your site or landing page. Below is a quick guide for identifying whether you should bother. Ask yourself:

  • Will the feedback widget on your page detract from your highest priority page goal (i.e. block users from completing a crucial task)?
  • Is your question relevant to the on-page content? Is the widget only appearing where relevant, and is it a question that people can answer without further context?
  • Does the feedback widget add value to the page? Does it help clarify on-page content or get your users to engage with you directly?

Remember that the end goal of your customer feedback campaigns is to enable a closer connection and understanding of your customers’ needs. If you can do that while adhering to the above items, you’ll be in good shape.

Do you have the resources you need to execute your customer feedback campaign properly?

Many articles make running customer feedback campaigns sound super simple, but not everyone has the in-house expertise to use the strategy to deliver a positive ROI. While implementing a customer feedback widget on your site is technically easy, you need to start by asking yourself a few things:

  • Do I have experience running surveys and analyzing customer feedback data, or should I get some assistance?
  • How many respondents do I need for my data sample to be large enough to act on? To calculate the sort of numbers you’ll require to generate reliable statistical data, use a sample size calculator.

Once you’re confident about the answers to these questions, you can start asking yourself which pages you’d like the widget to appear on, and where on screen you’d like to place it.

Then it’s time to start thinking about how you can frame questions that will produce measurable and actionable data.

How should you frame your question(s)?

Many marketers will argue that there’s nothing wrong with running broad customer feedback campaigns that ask open-ended questions like, “Do you like my landing page?”

But in my experience, asking specific questions designed to produce specific outcomes is a much better way to go.

For example, a client asked us to help improve a questionnaire on their site that wasn’t delivering data they deemed very useful. Their question was open-ended, simply asking:

How can we improve our pricing page?

To help out, we recommended:

  1. Only running the campaign on the client’s pricing page to boost the relevance of the questionnaire.
  2. Changing their questionnaire format to a multiple choice format which would produce data they could measure statistically. This allowed the client to prioritize which items should be improved first.
  3. Asking a much more specific question with specific answers.

These simple recommendations (and the accompanying feedback) produced:

  • A 19% increase in submissions because the questionnaire was targeted to people on the pricing page.
  • An 11% increase in conversions on the client’s pricing page.
  • A higher quality of responses because the respondents were able to provide answers about a page they were engaged with at that time.

We also advised that the client follow up their survey by redirecting to a custom landing page containing an incentivized promotion closely related to the offer they had just been viewing on the pricing page – creating a second opportunity for visitors to convert. #boom #showmethemoney

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To summarize, you should always:

  • Ask questions which are relevant to your customer’s current behavior (i.e. What they’re currently looking at on your site).
  • Ask questions which produce data you can measure (i.e. Data that can be easily broken down into statistics – such as multiple choice or Net Promoter Score data).
Bonus tip:
Ask yourself if your feedback can be repurposed in your marketing. Can you pack those stats into an infographic and share it on social media? Did you learn anything interesting that you could incorporate into a blog post to deliver value to your audience?

Some sample questions to get you started

If you still need help asking the right kinds of questions, below are some easy to implement sample questions you could be asking on your feedback widgets. These questions are great examples because they’re highly specific yet can be reworded to suit your individual needs.

  1. Would you feel more comfortable using a well-known payments merchant such as Payment Merchant X on our site, and if so would it increase the likelihood of you making a purchase with us?
  2. Are there any parts of our checkout process you find difficult to complete?
  3. Of the following items, which do you feel needs the most improvement across our Product pages and why?
  4. Of the following items, what would increase the likelihood of you making a purchase with us?
    • Varied payment options
    • Free shipping
    • Bundled item discounts
    • Members only benefits
    • The ability to donate to a charity
  5. Have you ever left our website/landing page frustrated because you could not complete a task, and if so what was it? What do you recommend to improve our usability?

Whatever you choose to ask, remember that the quality of the answers you get will only be as good as the question you’ve asked.

Bonus tip:
A great way to test whether your campaign is likely to deliver a positive results set is by A/B testing with sample groups of participants. Many of our customers will test up to three feedback campaign variants with sample groups of participants before releasing their campaigns to the public.

By trialling campaign variants with sample groups before you go to market, you can determine which of your campaigns your audience feels will produce the most statistically significant data, saving you a great deal of time and effort.

Evaluating your customer feedback campaign

Evaluating your customer feedback campaigns is something you need to be doing on a regular basis. The “set and forget” type approach rarely works, even if your planning and execution is top notch. By addressing your customer’s concerns in real-time, you can resolve issues quickly.

For the best results, remember to evaluate your feedback both during and after the campaign.

Evaluating feedback during your campaign

Evaluating your customer feedback campaign on an ongoing basis is key to delivering a positive campaign result. As your campaign progresses, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is my feedback campaign continuing to produce meaningful, measurable data?
  • Have I collected enough data to reach a conclusion, or do I need to continue surveying my users? (See Sample Size Calculator above.)
  • Is the engagement with my questionnaire steady, or has it flatlined?

If you can see that your data is of high quality and still producing a solid stream of responses, you may wish to continue running your campaign. However if you’re starting to see that your feedback stream is flatlining or the quality of responses is dropping, we recommend the following:

  • Undertaking a review of your user-interaction. Is the campaign working for or against you? Run a small focus group to determine if your survey widget is distracting or not appearing at crucial times in your customers’ navigation.
  • Ask if your questionnaire quick and easy to respond to and if you could be reducing friction somehow.
  • Talk to your IT department and ensure that your questionnaire is rendering properly across all browsers. Are there technical issues preventing your users from responding?
  • Consider pulling the plug. Have you been running your campaign too long? Is your campaign starting to feel a bit stale? Your best judgement will be required, but ask around to gauge what others feel about this.

Evaluating feedback after your campaign

Because you will have been reviewing your feedback on a regular basis, there shouldn’t be too many surprises when evaluating your feedback. Your post-campaign review should focus on:

  • Reviewing your overall conclusions.
  • Ensuring you didn’t miss any key actionable pieces of feedback or customers who reached out to you for assistance.
  • Making sure you didn’t miss any opportunities for new business (i.e. suggestions on new revenue streams, products you could be offering or partner opportunities).
  • Deciding what to do with your overall conclusions. What changes can be made to improve your conversion rate? How can you repurpose those findings in your business and across social media?

There’s a good chance that you’ll have received an overwhelming array of data, and you’ll need to prioritize each of your findings.

A great way to do this is by simply ranking which items will require the least amount of effort while producing the greatest results for you against the items which require the most amount of effort and will likely produce the least return on your investment.

Wrapping up

Pulling measurable, actionable data from your customer feedback campaigns comes easily once you’ve laid all the proper groundwork.

Start by validating that you have everything you need to do it right, then take your time in selecting questions that will bring you meaningful data. Taking the time to prepare for and evaluate your campaigns can be the difference between really moving forward in your business or treading water for months (if not years to come).

Even the most experienced marketers out there at times have difficulties when it comes to engaging their audience. But if you keep at it and always ask for feedback on everything you’re doing, I’m sure you’ll succeed.

About Paul Dunstone
Paul Dunstone is the founder of Feedback Lite, a SaaS company that specializes in user feedback widgets for websites. For years, Paul has been helping companies across the globe grow their revenue by learning more about their customer’s needs.
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  • Great article. Highly recommend. Thanks!

  • Definitely agree with you here! I think it was the book: The Ultimate Question 2.0 (Net Promoter Score) where it talked about you can’t implement it if you aren’t willing to act upon the feedback gathered. This makes so much sense. If you don’t act upon it, your staff is going to stop giving it.

    Great read!!

    Jullian

  • Awesome writing !
    helpful,Thank you !

  • Excellent. This reminded me of the book I just read: Ask. It’s basically a complete guide on how to ask the right questions and get valuable feedback from your consumers to build proper sales funnels. And of course, we can’t expect people to answer blunt questions. They need to be asked specific questions pertaining to our businesses.

  • I don’t think everything is well informed. I saw some article that doesn’t say the same things. Gotta look for the truth !