Advice for Getting Customer Reviews

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Feedback - woman in a store handing a shirt to a customer Customer feedback is useful for small
businesses and
your personal brand
in many ways. Glowing reviews are effective for? turning prospects into customers when placed
on your website, and less favorable reviews shed light on what needs improving.
Actually getting feedback can be tough though, especially if your data
collection is disorganized or if garnering reviews is not a priority on your
growing list of things to do.

The process does not have to be difficult
or too time-consuming, but it does have to be organized. Follow these tips to
start collecting better data about what your customers think of your business,
goods and services:

Narrow Your Focus

Stay away from broad questions like ?How
did we do?? and other inquiries that don’t deliver useful responses. You’ll get
more specific feedback when you ask more specific questions, such as ?How
satisfied were you with your waiter today?? or ?Did this website feature work
well for you?? Let customers rate their experience on a scale from one to five,
and throw in a text box for further comments, but keep that part optional.
Doing so makes the review process painless for customers, which will increase
their rate of response.

Be Consistent

You may amend your focus as you get further
into the review process, but avoiding changing your questions too often. Repeat
the same questions to get a better gauge of how your business is improving in
key areas over time.

Consider Offering Incentives

Respect the value of your customers’ time
by rewarding their choice to give you feedback. Look at these expenses as part
of your overall budget for surveys. You can’t afford to go without customer
feedback, so look at it as a small investment in your business’s future.

Ask Online

Your website is a great avenue for
gathering customer feedback. Stay away from intrusive survey requests that
float across the pages and instead install a clearly marked ?feedback? button
on every page. You want to gently encourage customers to respond, not annoy
them into submission (or worse, drive them away from your site).

Make Regular Survey Requests

Your website is not the only venue you use
to contact customers, so it should not be the only place where you ask for
feedback. Include survey requests in all interactions to up your response rate.
Carry printed-out forms when you meet customers in person, add a link to your
survey in email messages and don’t forget to mention the survey over the phone.

Consider Your Overall Results

Don’t let one bad review send you into a
tailspin, and don’t think all your problems are solved when you receive one
glowing review. Aim to collect statistically valid results over a longer period
of time, and don’t make any business decisions based solely on a handful of
responses.

Finally, remember that feedback collection
is an ongoing process. You are always striving for more success, so make it
part of your long-term business
plan
.?