What customer feedback techniques are available for business start-ups? This article will look at some of the key points for gathering feedback, including:
- The importance of customer feedback
- Customer feedback techniques for startups
- Method one: Just ask
- Method two: Use social media
- Method three: The all-hands approach
The importance of customer feedback
Feedback from your customers is an opportunity for you to either solve a problem or create better experiences for your customers. Gathering feedback can benefit you in the following ways:
- Customer retention. It costs five times less to retain your existing customers than to find new customers. So it pays to keep your existing customers happy and keep them coming back. By listening to feedback and making the appropriate changes in your business, a customer will feel heard and give you another chance to win their business. By building trust this way it can often turn negative customer experiences into positive ones and reduce customer churn over time.
- Improved sales: Satisfied customers can be your best advocates if they have received excellent customer service as well as a wonderful product or experience. By using feedback to improve your business model, you will increase your chances of reaching new audiences through word of mouth.
- Company image: Reputation and image are very important when it comes to both word of mouth sales and your place in the market. A few bad reviews doesn’t have to be the start of a bad reputation if you use them to find opportunities to improve the way you operate.
Customer feedback techniques for start-ups
In a start-up you may have limited resources or time, and you might be just a one or two-person team. Here are a few ways to gather feedback for an operation of any size or budget.
When starting out your venture, ask your friends and family for feedback on everything from price point to packaging. It might also be worth looking into forums, such as Quora and LinkedIn for B2B businesses, or even Mumsnet if your target audience is active there. This will give you important input straight from the audience you want to sell to.
Once you have an established product and begin trading, remember to talk to your customers regularly and simply ask for their feedback. You can do this by asking ‘how did we do?’ in every customer service enquiry, whether over the phone, email or live chat. This will allow you to monitor overall customer satisfaction and spot opportunities to do things better. For example, if you receive several queries on the same issue, you could invest in fixing it long-term.
A popular way to gather feedback is using a survey after customer interactions. For a small business, an easy and cheap way to do this would be to create a short SurveyMonkey questionnaire that will compile your feedback in one place for you to refer to often. Here are some rules to consider for your survey questions:
- Be brief. Short questions and short answer options will be easier for the customer to take in.
- Stick to a few questions, the longer the list the less likely a customer is to answer them all.
- Make it simple to fill out. Multiple choice or tick boxes will be quick and easy for customers to answer, instead of typing in their own words.
- Don’t limit answers. If you do need to have an open-ended question or text box then don’t put a character limit on as this could be frustrating for the customer if they can’t express their full opinion and may lead to them abandoning the survey.
- Be grateful and thank the customer at each stage of the process.
If you offer an experience or service based business, you could also offer trials in exchange for feedback. For example, a gym owner could offer a month’s free access in exchange for a weekly feedback diary, to find out where they could improve usability and customer experience.
Use social media
As a free tool, social media couldn’t be a better way to directly engage your existing customers in conversation about what they want from you or what you could do better.
A regular post or Tweet can create discussion in the comments, but there are also lots of features that will allow customers to get involved easily, without having to type a comment or put their opinion out there publicly.
On Instagram you can use the story feature to do ‘this or that’ questions where your followers pick their favourites, or create polls and quizzes to ask your followers questions and answer in a quick click.
You can keep track of your mentions on social media (when customers tag your account in a post or comment) or you can also search your business’ name on the platform to see if there has been any customer feedback where you aren’t tagged. You could even set alerts for mentions or hashtags on the platform to keep tabs on any conversations where your business’ name appears, whether positive or negative.
Try the all-hands approach
If you have a small team, it can benefit your business if everyone gets involved in dealing with customer enquiries. If you are a one-person operation you have the added benefit of being able to be flexible to solve problems, so make sure you are involved in all service enquiries so that you can spot issues and solve them quickly.
A good example is travel company Kayak, who also use an all-hands approach to customer service. They have everyone from salespeople to engineers helping with customer queries. This means that if an engineer deals with more than one customer complaining of website errors, they stop to fix the code to prevent it from happening again. Instead of waiting to get around to fixing issues, having everyone involved can speed up that process.
How Countingup can help you run your business
Now that you’ve learnt customer feedback techniques for your business startup, find out how Countingup can help you save time and money on financial admin. The business current account and accounting app provides instant invoicing and automated bookkeeping features. It is saving business owners hours of time-consuming admin, and helping thousands keep on top of their finances. Find out more here.