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How to Collect Honest Customer Feedback?

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Stagiaire en Marketing | Rédactrice et graphiste. La création, c'est ma passion !

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Are customers really satisfied with your products and services? This is a question that every entrepreneur should ask themselves regularly to ensure the quality of their offer. To this end, according to the study conducted by Harvard Business Review, companies that frequently send satisfaction surveys to their customers have a higher retention rate and a higher turnover. In this sense, obtaining honest customer feedback is a must to distinguish you from your competitors, but also to create an experience that meets the current needs of your customers.

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However, it can be difficult to collect honest customer feedback. This feedback can often be biased by a fear of displeasing the company, or even be very limited by a lack of interest or time. To that end, what strategies can you put in place to find out what customers think? Find out the answer in the rest of this article!

Why is it important to collect honest customer feedback?

It is well known that a company exists to meet the expectations of its customers. To this end, it is important to get feedback from your customers to better adapt your products and services to their specific needs. High-quality service tailored to your customers’ expectations will prove to your customers and prospects that you are a reliable and trustworthy company. In return, you’ll get a better customer loyalty rate and be able to generate more revenue. Interesting, isn’t it?

On the other hand, getting honest customer feedback allows you to maintain better relationships with your customers. For example, if you get a negative review, correct the situation quickly so as not to lose your customers. This represents a golden opportunity to improve your customer experience, but also to avoid losing potential sales. By being available and listening, you will build trusted and lasting customer relationships over time. In addition, your dedication to your customers will soon generate a positive word-of-mouth that will attract new prospects to your business. Definitely, knowing the real opinions of customers is a must for the success of your brand!

How to get honest customer feedback?

Now that you know the importance of hearing from customers, it’s time to put in place concrete strategies to get it. However, some of your customers may forget to give their opinion, or even express some discomfort with such proof of transparency. How can you collect a high number of concrete and authentic customer reviews? To shed some light on the subject, here are 9 tips to follow to get honest customer feedback!

1. Send automated satisfaction surveys at the right time

In order to collect honest customer feedback, it is essential to send satisfaction surveys at the right time for an optimal response rate. Such surveys will allow you to acquire valuable information to improve your continuous customer experience, in addition to notifying you in case of customer dissatisfaction. This is a perfect opportunity to take note of your customers’ feedback to tailor your experience to their needs.

In addition, it is crucial to pay particular attention to the scheduled sending of your surveys. Too soon, your clients may feel harassed by your request for feedback. Too late, customers will have less recollection of the service provided, which will affect the accuracy and reliability of the notice provided. For an optimal response rate, InputKit recommends that you send your satisfaction surveys one to two hours after a lived experience. This way, you can collect feedback while your customers still have it in mind, for concrete and detailed feedback.

Do you want to save time when sending satisfaction surveys? With InputKit’s solution, schedule your surveys to be sent automatically to save valuable management time. With a response rate of 45% by email and 53% by text (SMS), you will certainly get many answers to improve your customer experience continuously. This is definitely an essential asset to collecting honest customer feedback!

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2. Identify your key KPIs for customer satisfaction

To analyze your customer satisfaction, it is important to know how to draw conclusions from your performance indicators (KPIs). Therefore, after each satisfaction survey is sent, take the time to analyze your results according to your key metrics in order to assess the strengths and the various weaknesses in your customer experience.

To help you, here are the three main KPIs:

  • The Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT), evaluates a customer’s overall satisfaction through a lived experience. For example, in a survey, ask “How satisfied are you with our services?” , then offer a five-step numerical scale response. 
  • The Customer Effort Score (CES), assess the degree of effort a customer makes to access information, product or service. For example, ask “On our website, what level of effort was made to purchase the desired product?” , then offer a response in the form of a five-tiered scale.
  • The Net Promoter Score (NPS), in order to know the likelihood that a client recommends you to members of his entourage. For example, in a survey, ask “How likely is it that you would recommend us to a family member or friend?” , then offer a response in the form of a ten-step numerical scale. A score of one to six translates into a detractor; a score of seven to eight, a passive (neutral). Finally, a score of nine to ten translates into a promoter (ambassador) of your brand.

By analyzing the results of these metrics, you’ll know the overall quality of your customer experience, the fluidity of your customer journey, and your referral rate. This data, in turn, will allow you to improve your service delivery based on the scores and feedback received. This is definitely a must in order to analyze the results obtained following honest customer feedback!

3. Provide the ability to respond anonymously for transparency

Imagine: you are a regular customer in a restaurant. All the servers know you and have been offering a completely personalized service for several years. However, for some time now, you have noticed that the quality of the dishes is beginning to decline. In order to help the restaurant regain a good rating, you want to share your comments with them in their next customer satisfaction survey. However, you are terribly uncomfortable with the lack of anonymous response

You hesitate to leave criticisms, worried that they will be taken badly and that the employees will stop serving you with such cordiality. Finally, after a moment of reflection, you decide to simply not answer the survey, for fear that your comments will be worth reprisals within the institution. 

This case is similar for a lot of your clients. No one likes to criticize a company at the risk of reprisals. This fear can discourage some customers from completing your satisfaction surveys, and convince others to give false positive reviews

In order to get honest customer feedback, allow them to answer your surveys anonymously. This way, you will avoid many discomforts and collect more honest and detailed feedback. Accurate and transparent feedback are a great way to continuously improve!

4. Instead of reprimanding those who leave negative opinions on surveys, act and admit your wrongdoing

No business can escape negative customer reviews. Long waits, unexpected delays, poor customer service, a dysfunctional product: anything can happen!

To this end, in case of customer dissatisfaction, it is essential to know how to keep calm. After all, your customers have paid for quality service: it’s important to remember that their satisfaction is your priority. With this in mind, first validate the comments mentioned in the surveys, then take note of the flaws in your customer experience. Afterwards, if the answer is not anonymous, take the opportunity to correct the situation with the customer. 

Here is a short list to help you manage negative customer reviews:

  • Be positive: Show your customers that you listen to their feedback. Invite them to share their opinions and avoid criticizing them. This will make them feel heard and much more willing to provide honest and transparent feedback.
  • Let the customer speak: Avoid confrontation. Listen carefully to better understand the source of dissatisfaction. This will allow you to better meet their expectations and thereby improve your customer experience based on feedback!
  • Choose a good means of communication: Does the situation seem complex? Invite the customer to speak via email or phone to get more details about the experience. In the same vein, you can also suggest that he make an appointment with you to discuss the issues of his dissatisfaction in more depth.
  • Apologize to the customer: Be empathetic. Validate the customer’s emotions and apologize for the quality of service received.
  • Actively seek a solution to rectify the situation: Rephrase the customer’s needs and then propose a solution related to the problem addressed.

5. Monitor the notification platforms as many customers will naturally give their opinion

When it comes to getting honest customer feedback, monitoring your online review platforms is definitely a must. Indeed, beyond your surveys, your customers will not hesitate to publish their honest reviews online in order to encourage or dissuade your prospects from doing business with you. In order to ensure the quality of your services, you will therefore need to regularly analyze the feedback provided by users.

Beyond simply seeing your customers’ comments, it is also important to find out where they are satisfied or dissatisfied. To get there, be sure to respond to feedback left online. This way, in case of dissatisfaction, you can learn more about the flaws in your customer experience and correct the situation. In case of a positive comment, it is also crucial to let the customer know that you appreciate the time invested in the given rating. 

In any case, real human contact will show your customers that you are responsive to their level of satisfaction. This proof of responsiveness will allow you to optimize your customer experience based on honest customer feedback while enhancing your online reputation!

6. Build trust in your business to encourage feedback

Imagine the following scenario: you often go to the same local coffee shop after work. However, for some time now, you have felt a lack of professionalism on the part of employees. You decide to leave a bad opinion to one of their satisfaction surveys in the hope that the company will rectify the situation and regain your trust. However, over the weeks, there are no changes to employee training or customer service. Outraged by such a situation, you decide to simply abandon this coffee shop for a more respectful establishment. After all, why would you continue to give your opinion if the staff themselves are not trying to correct the situation?

This example applies to many clients. When sending customer experience surveys, it is important to build trust between the institution and its customers. Let your customers know that their satisfaction is your priority and that you will be pleased to hear their opinion, both positive and negative. Emphasize that their feedback will serve you in the future to create the best possible experience. So, your customers will not fear reprisals and will be happy to give their honest opinion!

On the other hand, when criticism is made, implement the changes as quickly as possible. Proactive behavior will show your customers that their feedback is read and considered, giving them a sense of trust and validation. It is definitely a must-see to collect honest customer feedback while maximizing your clientele’s loyalty to your company!

7. Don’t give gifts or hold contests for online reviews

If you want to get honest customer feedback, you should avoid giving gifts or promotions in exchange for comments and feedback online.

First, according to Google, it is strictly forbidden to give gifts in exchange for positive reviews. Indeed, such a practice can lead to severe sanctions by the famous platform: 

  • Deletion of reviews purchased or given in exchange for a gift;
  • Bad SEO // Bad local referencing;
  • Bad reputation online;
  • In case of recurrence, deleting a Google My Business profile.

Secondly, if you want to get honest customer feedback, giving something in exchange for feedback is a tactic to avoid. Eager for gifts and promotions, your customers will soon leave you many positive reviews in order to get the promised good. Thus, rather than getting real opinions, you will get opinions biased by the reward coming after the feedback. That’s why it’s important not to promise anything in exchange for an online review!

8. Separate the real from the fake customer reviews

Of course, there are times when competing companies, robots, or ill-intentioned people will post false reviews on online review platforms to damage your reputation. To this end, to collect honest customer feedback, you also need to know which comments are true or false

Here are some questions to ask yourself to detect fake online reviews:

  • Are many negative opinions written under the same name?
  • Is the author anonymous?
  • Is the feedback off topic?
  • Are the criticisms excessive? Did the cameras record the action criticized at the time?
  • Does the user share abusive, defamatory or degrading comments?
  • Does the notice have explicit images or fraudulent links?
  • Is it possible to contact the author of the opinion? Does he respond to your approaches?
  • Do your staff remember the incident that was criticized in the negative opinion?

If the answer to many of these questions is yes, the negative review is probably spam, a competitor, or a malicious person. In this case, you don’t need to take into account the shared criticisms during the review, and can even delete it in order to preserve a good reputation. Keep this tip in mind to collect honest customer feedback!

9. Demonstrate that you have an effective action process in place to encourage dialogue

In order to get honest customer feedback from clients, it is important to let them know your action processes following the feedback received. To achieve this, popularize some concepts that may seem unclear and let the customer know that an approach will be implemented as soon as feedback is shared with the company.

For example, explain how surveys, telephone interviews, meetings with a manager, and other approaches can help your institution learn about your customer experience’s flaws. Afterwards, reassure them by telling them that measures will be put in place based on customer feedback. Improved customer service, new brands, employee training, up-to-date decoration, optimized web platform, reduced waiting times and more: there are many ways to continuously improve your customer experience based on feedback. By showing that you know how to adapt to meet their needs, your customers will be much more likely to share their opinion with you in complete transparency. This is a must to put your clientele in confidence to get honest customer feedback through your company! In summary, define the different steps to take after a customer dissatisfaction, then communicate to your customers what this defined process is

How does InputKit help you get honest customer feedback?

Do you have any difficulty getting honest customer feedback? Are you afraid you won’t have the right answer to your online reviews? If so, InputKit is the solution for you!

With our automated web reputation solution, you can invite your customers to leave you an online review at the best time, without fear of disturbing them. Our solution is exclusively for your promoters. Thus, a satisfied customer who has completed a satisfaction survey will automatically be invited to leave a positive review online on the platform of your choice. This is definitely an asset to optimize your online reputation!

Also, did you know that InputKit has a smart response generator in its online review solution? With our turnkey solution, write your own personalized responses based on our templates, and then respond with a single click to customer feedback based on the appropriate level of satisfaction. This valuable tool, combined with our real-time notifications, is a must to improve your customer relationships by being proactive. No more manual monitoring: with InputKit, you will definitely save several hours of customer management!

Schedule my personalized InputKit demo to get real customer feedback

To get honest customer feedback, be sure to send automated satisfaction surveys at the right time, then analyze your key KPIs based on the results obtained. During surveys, choose anonymous answers to optimize the comfort of your customers. In order to maximize your response rate, put your customers in confidence by explaining your action processes and admitting to your wrongs during a customer dissatisfaction. 

In the same vein, take care to monitor your online review platforms regularly. Separate the real reviews from the fake reviews to get honest customer feedback, and then take the time to respond to every online review. Never offer a gift in exchange for a review, since such a practice is illegal, in addition to biasing the perception of your customers!

Finally, do you need help to optimize your experience based on your clients’ concrete needs? If so, we invite you to schedule a free and personalized InputKit demo at your time of choice. We will be pleased to contribute to the success of your company!

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