Whether your audience is made of customers, users, visitors, donors, patients, or students, their satisfaction is paramount to success in a competitive market. Pardon the preach, but customer satisfaction is a priority even if no competitor is eyeing your audience!
To achieve satisfaction, kindness and appreciation are a good start but don’t do the job. Getting there means defining your audience’s desires and then relentlessly honing that definition. There is no such thing as perfect knowledge of customer needs, and even if there were, those needs are always changing.
In addition to an increasing the likelihood of customer satisfaction, understanding your audience can streamline your internal processes and help you navigate competing priorities. For example, your online shop could benefit from adding in-store pickup functionality, but it could also use a live chat system for customer support. Both of those are desired urgently, but with only so many people and hours, which do you tackle first? That’s when you look to your customers to find out!
Stay cool and never forget who’s boss: your audience. If your product happens to be an app or other technical service, then it’s the least tech-savvy user you must strive to satisfy. Asking the right questions and taking the answers to heart—especially if they contradict your expectations—can prevent your hard work and big spend from going to waste or even becoming cause for laughter. Remember Google Glass?
Using online feedback forms to discover your audience
Online feedback forms help you get specific feedback in exchange for the bare minimum of time and effort from the customer or user. A major advantage over traditional surveys is that you can ask fewer questions and do so right at the critical moment. Feedback forms can be placed in an overlay or on a column of the site, giving the user an immediate opportunity to report back on pain points and not have to think back and remember them later.
You can also customize forms according to the customer’s journey, from product listing, to product page, to cart. You can even ask upon exit what stopped them from completing the transaction.
Give feedback forms the kind of consideration you’d give your products
Although your intention is to make things better for your customer, remember that they are helping you and not the other way around. That’s why our friends at Zendesk actually advise against requiring any form fields. The last thing a user needs is to get an error spat back after helpfully volunteering information. Graciously accepting any feedback you can get from more users is better than fewer users’ forced responses any day.
As customers and users ourselves, certain feedback-gathering practices are so commonplace that it might come as a surprise that they are undesirable. Who hasn’t been asked in surveys to identify the product purchased, where, and when? Zendesk would say that company was being a bit lazy. Don’t make people key in what you already know; rather, “you should do the work of connecting that data to their feedback when you do your analysis; don’t put that burden on the user.”
Before you proceed with user research, be sure to unlearn the bad habits rampant in client surveys with Zendesk’s “9 tips for better customer feedback forms.”
Ask the right questions and brace for surprise
Customers are coming to your website with goals you never would have anticipated from the cocoon of your office. Sometimes the search keywords that deliver visitors are your first hint of that. Otherwise, there plenty of direct and referral traffic from people looking for things you’d never expect. Once you find out, you have ideas for new services or new content.
Ease of navigation is an area where there is always room for improvement. Be sure how ask for a rating on how easy or difficult it was to get to the right place. Leave a freeform question to find out what, if anything, confused or annoying your user.
Working with the same product day in and day out, it’s too easy to take for granted what the strongest, weakest, and missed features might be. The simplest function might be highly prized, whereas the pet project you toiled over has been ignored. You might frame such questions as, “What features led you to choose our product?” or “Are there any features you do not find useful?”
By the way, your customer service reps are a treasury of knowledge on the most urgent customer pain points. Why not create special polls just for tech support and customer service? These colleagues can tell you exactly which issues and questions come up every day.
Collect feedback out in the open too
Online review platforms are an important way for new customers to find your company online and make the decision to take the leap of faith to you. Assuming the score is generally positive, having a large number of reviews conveys the message that you are a well-established entity. Even the negative reviews can put you in a positive light through your prompt and caring responses, which are also public. Everybody knows Google and Yelp, but those are generally for local entities. If you’re not tied to a specific location, TrustPilot, G2 Crowd, or TrustRadius may be just what you need.
What are you waiting for?
There’s no need to stare at a blank canvas. 123FormBuilder has over 25 customizable feedback forms and surveys that already follow the best practices mentioned above. These forms are available from any of our plans and ready to plug in to your website. Best of all, these generate report in real time, with crisp graphics that make it easy to see what you’re doing well and where there’s more work to be done.