You can probably recall occasions when you’ve been preoccupied with something only to see, popping up in your email inbox, a message asking you to “rate the product/service you have just received”. It’s easy to respond with irritation, however well-intentioned that message was.
So, when you’re the one who needs feedback from customers, how can you solicit it in a way that makes them receptive to – rather than dismissive of – your request? While there’s never a cast-iron guarantee that any approach you make will prompt the friendly response you want, you could…
Always follow up after interacting with a customer
In other words, have a few survey questions ready when you need to contact a customer for a non-promotional reason – such as to update them on the status of their order – or when they reach out to you, as they could when they need technical support.
After you have fulfilled the purpose for which contact was established between you and the customer, you could – as entrepreneur Joe Procopio explains in a Medium article – “pop out a quick email asking for feedback while your product is still fresh in the customer’s mind.”
Send any unsolicited surveys at theoretically sensible times
It’d be fair to say that unsolicited requests for feedback have quite a bad reputation. Just consider the prevalence of cold calling, a nuisance you have probably been subjected to by telemarketers more times than you care to remember.
However, it’s not strictly a bad thing to ask for customer feedback when the customer isn’t expecting it. This tactic can actually work well if you use it when the customer is at least somewhat likely to be thinking about your product or service – such as in the first few days after you have provided it.
Ask for feedback in a seamless and contextual way
Where possible, you should engineer your feedback requests so that they don’t disrupt or interfere with what the customer is already doing when they receive your request.
For example, as advised in a CMSWire article, you should avoid “using intrusive surveys that pop up as soon as visitors land on your site, and don’t bombard people with questions that have little relevance to what they came to the site to do.”
With some parts of your online offering, you might be able to integrate questions and polls seamlessly – like when using a webinar platform. If you are currently thinking “What is a webinar platform”, take heart that a good provider of one could help your business to get to grips with it.
Show the customer how their feedback will effect change
You shouldn’t be vague about when that change will happen, either. People will naturally be more inclined to respond to your surveys when it’s obvious exactly how doing so would prove beneficial.
So, if someone on your website indicates that they are from a particular demographic, this response could immediately lead the site to display text, images and other content that would be especially relevant to this segment of the market.