As a small business, one of the most frustrating things is simply not getting feedback from your customers.

Not knowing whether what you offer is wanted, desired and appreciated by your customers and not knowing what can be done to make your business and its product/service even more wanted, desired and appreciated.

Whether its constructive feedback to help you adjust and develop your product/service further. Or even feedback in the form of reviews to help showcase to other potential customers just how great your business is and how they should make a purchase with you.

This blog post aims to dip into how you can encourage your customer base to give you feedback, positive and negative, remembering that both are equally as important and valid.

Where Can you get Feedback?

The first place you can get feedback is naturally your customers. You can do this when they make their purchase or after they make their purchase.

If you sell face to face then you can strike up a conversation, thank them for their purchase, and ask them a few very quick and simple questions.

If you sell online then you can include a link to a short survey within the order confirmation email, or even contact them within a reasonable amount of time to see how they feel about their order.

The second place you can get feedback is from those who have shown an interested but not converted.

If you sell face to face, then strike up a conversation if someone is leaving your selling space and ask them if there was anything specific they were looking for, perhaps even invite them to try whatever product it is where possible. No hard sell, people are allowed to browse, just see whether you can gain any further insight from their body language and how they respond.

After all, if you have a physical selling space such as a shop, you will get people who are simply having a look or are short on time so don’t wish to hang around too long. Being too forceful will leave a lasting negative memory.

Most of the time if you explain to people that you have just launched product X and that you are looking for feedback, they love to give you their thoughts, it makes them feel important and valued.

Doing this online is harder as you can’t see who has just visited and you can’t just approach them. This is where functionality such as live chats can come in useful.

If you are an online business and you are looking for feedback, then hit your social media channels. Post a poll about specific areas of your business and follow up on the results by thanking people for their input.

Remember Recommendations

Recommendations by friends and family drive a large majority of our purchases. Customers are much more likely to hand over their hard earned cash if they know that others have been happy with what they have purchased.

Therefore, encourage recommendations. You can put little voucher forms in with the product when a customer makes a purchase – both online and offline – encouraging them to recommend them for X product or a discount.

Positive recommendations can have a big impact on a business and drive in many customers with very little effort on your part. Negative recommendations can destroy a business and leave a lasting impression. This is where strong customer service comes into play.

Online Reviews

Much like personal recommendations, online reviews are considered to be the most trustworthy and credible source of online advertising.

This is particularly important with online businesses as it can encourage more visitors to buy from you, cutting through the rest of the online advertising out there and driving people to your website.

To gain online reviews you can either wait for customers to do it off their own back, or you can ask them to leave a review. Stats from the online marketing industry show that nearly 70% of those who are asked to leave a review are happy and willing to do so.

Hopefully this high return rate will help you be more confident in asking for reviews to be left regarding your business, the service that they received and the product that the customer ended up purchasing from you.

Online reviews can be left in a multitude of places. From Facebook to your Google my Business profile, to specific review websites, and even specific areas within your website (if you have the functionality for reviews to be left – check with your developer).

You can encourage reviews to be left by including a short request on the order confirmation email, by reaching out to customers on social media channels such as Facebook, and even email them within a reasonable timeframe to ask them how they feel about their purchase.

Find what works for you in terms of management, and what works for your customers in terms of making the effort of leaving a review as easy as possible.

One Last Thing

Its important that you make the most of any feedback and reviews left. They can help improve your business and develop it further.

That being said, don’t treat any ‘negative’ feedback and reviews as a negative. With careful management you can turn any negative feedback and reviews into a positive and a learning experience.  Check out our blog post – Handling Online Reviews – to learn more.

Published: 20th Apr 2019

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